With a World Health Organization investigation into the origins of the coronavirus which causes the Covid-19 disease under way in China, a laboratory in Cambodia has discovered close relatives of the pathogen in samples that have been stored in a freezer for more than a decade.
Two viruses found in the samples, taken from horseshoe bats in northeastern Cambodia in 2010 and identified in research released on Tuesday, have a 92.6 per cent similarity to SARS-CoV-2 behind the Covid-19 pandemic. That makes them the closest relatives uncovered outside China and adds new information to the investigation into where the pathogen came from.
The closest known relative to the virus that causes Covid-19
is a bat virus found in southwest China’s Yunnan province, which has a 96.2 per cent similarity.