Scientists uncover six unknown coronaviruses in bats. A new survey in bats found six new coronaviruses. The study was conducted in the regions of Myanmar. In this region, humans come into close contact with wildlife as a part of agriculture, deforestation, and other ecological disruption.
Wild bats are beneficial as they pollinate crops, control pest insects, and produce guano which farmers use as fertilizer.
Coronaviruses disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. For now, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. The virus spreads primarily from person to person, from the nose or mouth.
According to the scientists COVID-19, also known as SARS-CoV-2, may have jumped species from bats into humans. A 2017 study reveals that bats responsible to spread more than 3,200 coronaviruses, most of which remain uncovered.
The latest study conducted in Myanmarm which discovered six new coronaviruses in bats was published in the journal PLOS ONE. The study authors stated that the newly uncovered viruses are not closely associated with the coronaviruses that cause COVID-19, SARS, and MERS.
The experts calculate that 60–75% of recently discovered diseases are zoonoses, and more than 70% of these may have come from wildlife species involving bats.
“Many coronaviruses may not pose a risk to people, but when we identify these diseases early on in animals, at the source, we have a valuable opportunity to investigate the potential threat,” director of the Smithsonian’s Global Health Program and a co-author of the study, Suzan Murray said.
“Vigilant surveillance, research, and education are the best tools we have to prevent pandemics before they occur.”
Caroline Kenny is the senior news reporter for News Fior She covers Science. Caroline graduated from the Honors College at the College of Charleston with bachelor’s degrees in communication and political science. She worked for Science Mag. She was a digital producer for Science Mag. She is a native of Long Island, New York.