For the first time, close relatives of the novel coronavirus have been found outside China.
Scientists discovered the two viruses in frozen bats and bat droppings stored in Cambodian and Japanese laboratories, Nature News & Comment reported.
As SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continues to circulate worldwide, scientists have never stopped hunting for the pathogen’s point of origin. Like its cousin SARS-CoV, which caused outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome in the early 2000s, SARS-CoV-2 likely originated in horseshoe bats (genus Rhinolophus); but some evidence suggests that the virus may have passed through another animal before infecting humans.
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