- Finding the animal source of the virus has been challenging so far
- Scientists in Wuhan analysed samples taken from seven coronavirus patients
- They found a 96% similarity in the virus DNA to a coronavirus in bats
- 2019-nCoV is also 79.5% similar with SARS, which could help with vaccines
- This makes it the most ‘probable source’ – but this is yet to be confirmed
Bats are likely the cause of coronavirus from China after scientists find the virus is 96 per cent identical to one found in the animals.
The virus, which has killed 362 people so far, was believed to have transferred to humans from an animal, but identifying which one has been challenging.
Now, using samples from seven patients with severe pneumonia caused by the coronavirus, scientists have found striking similarities to coronavirus found in bats.
The DNA is also 79.5 per cent identical with the deadly SARS coronavirus, which suggests vaccines for the now non-existent virus may help with this epidemic.
Global cases have risen above 17,450, higher than the total recorded cases of the SARS virus that killed some 800 people in 2002 and 2003.
Although scientists stress the animal source of the recent outbreak in China is yet to be officially declared, experts have confirmed a wholesale animal market in Wuhan city is to blame.
A menagerie of live animals including koalas, rats and wolf pups were available at the Huanan Seafood Market in central Wuhan – the outbreak’s epicentre.
While most research has pointed towards bats, research at Peking University implicated snakes as the most likely ‘reservoir’ of the rapidly spreading virus.
News source – Daily Mail