Experts have discovered a new coronavirus in bats that, according to them, is the closest relative of SARS-CoV-2 which causes the COVID-19 disease. According to Fox News' latest report, a newly published study showed more evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus did indeed originate from bats. The researchers found that the flying mammals also carry a novel coronavirus similar to the one that causes COVID-19.
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Some 227 bats from 20 different species that were collected from Yunnan Province in China between May and October 2019 were found to have the newly discovered coronavirus known as "RmYN02." The results of the study showed that, although the new coronavirus does not appear to have the ability to bind to angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2) inhibitors just SARS-CoV-2, RmYN02 still has some genetic similarities to it.
"Notably, RmYN02 shares 93.3 [percent] nucleotide identity with SARS-CoV-2 at the scale of the complete virus genome and 97.2 [percent] identity in the 1ab gene, in which it is the closest relative of SARS-CoV-2 reported to date," claimed the researchers from different universities and organizations in Australia and China.
New virus found in bats currently the 'closest relative' of SARS-CoV-2; Experts claim that 6 feet is not far enough to avoid coronavirus transmission
The study is further evidence that shows the novel coronavirus was not manipulated or constructed in a lab. The World Health Organization denied this claim in April, reaffirming that COVID-19 originated in bats.
"All available evidence suggests the virus has an animal origin and is not manipulated or constructed virus in a lab or somewhere else," said Fadela Chaib, WHO spokesperson. Six additional coronaviruses were recently found by researchers, stating that there may be thousands of coronaviruses that have not yet been discovered.
Meanwhile, the 6-feet recommendation of WHO for social distancing was proclaimed to be not far enough to stop COVID-19 transmission, according to experts. According to another report of Fox News, three experts claimed that the coronavirus carried by aerosol particles could be easily inhaled deep into the lungs since it can accumulate and remain infectious in indoor air for several hours.
"Increasing evidence for SARS-CoV-2 suggests the 6 ft WHO recommendation is likely not enough under many indoor conditions where aerosols can remain airborne for hours, accumulate over time, and follow air flows over distances further than 6 ft," said the experts.
Dr. Robert Schooley and Kimberly Prather of the University of California, San Diego, as well as Chia Wang of National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, said that airborne transmission of aerosols has caused the large proportion of COVID-19 infections.