A new coronavirus evolution was recently traced by American and Chinese scientists in bats. And according to a new study, COVID-19 can spread undetectably by some animal species. Based on a New York Times' report, all known coronaviruses in bats were analyzed by an international team of scientists, including a prominent researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
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The study used genetic analysis to trace the evolution of the novel coronavirus found in horseshoe bats. The great variety of the coronaviruses in southern and southwestern China were pointed out by the team of scientists, urging close monitoring of the bats found in the area. They also suggested that greater efforts must be made to change human behavior to decrease the chances of future pandemics.
An exhaustive search and analysis of coronaviruses in bats were conducted by American and Chinese researchers to identify potential spillovers of coronaviruses into humans that may result in new disease outbreaks. Horseshoe bats, members of the genus Rhinolophus, were considered as hosts since spillover diseases such as the SARS outbreak in 2003 came from these bats.
However, the study clarified that the viruses found in these bats are not close enough to the novel coronaviruses to suggest that it jumped from bats to humans. The new study suggests that the novel coronavirus may have been present in bats or other animals since the immediate progenitor of COVID-19 has not yet been found.
New coronavirus outbreaks can potentially surface from infected animals; New evolution of coronavirus traced from bats
Meanwhile, another new study suggests that some animal species can undetectably spread the novel coronavirus that can potentially create new outbreaks. According to Nature's latest report, several species including dogs and cats, captive tigers, and lions, as well as farmed minks, can be infected by the coronavirus transmitted by humans.
The new study stated that the infected animals might have the potential to spark new outbreaks as the number of infected people fall and restrictions on safety measures ease. Joanne Santini, a microbiologist at University College London, claimed that some animals can undetectably spread the novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, several researchers and scientists are concerned that COVID-19 could end up passing back and forth between humans and animals.
"We need to take action now to prevent that from happening," said Arjan Stegeman, a veterinary epidemiologist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He also stated that efforts to control the pandemic would be put to waste if his assumption happens.
The study discovered that two dozen minks at four farms located in the province of North Brabant were infected by SARS-CoV-2 and some of them died, developing pneumonia. The infections at Dutch mink farms suggested that some species of animals can infect people. Stegeman and his colleagues studied the genomes from minks and people at two farms. The study showed that the people on the farm may have infected the animals, which spread to the other minks.