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NOVEL CORONAVIRUS CIRCULATED UNNOTICED IN BATS

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology  

Why in news?

  • The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has been circulating unnoticed in bats for decades. Bats have been the “primary reservoirs” for novel coronavirus.
  • The SARS-CoV-2 virus is likely to have diverged from closely related bat viruses called the sarbecovirus, 40-70 years ago, according to a recent study.

Details

  • Researchers had found that SARS-CoV-2 is most closely related to RaTG13 sarbecovirus, which was isolated from a horseshoe bat in Yunnan province in 2013.
  • Based on the nearly 96% genome sequence identity between SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13 it was said an origin in bats is probable for the COVID-19 outbreak.

What the study found?

  • After studying the evolutionary history of SARS-CoV-2 using genomic data on sarbecoviruses – all approaches suggest that RaTG13 and SARS-CoV-2 share a single ancestral lineage and estimate that SARS-CoV-2 genetically diverged from related bat sarbecoviruses in 1948, 1969 and 1982, respectively.
  • So, the study leads to show that “Many species of bat harbour several viruses which can cross over to new hosts. When we disrupt habitats, we will face more such threats.”
  • They also concl0ude that it is plausible that pangolins could have been a conduit for transmission to humans, but there is “no evidence that pangolins facilitated adaptation to humans” by being an intermediate host.

-Source: The Hindu

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October 2022
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