A batch of new coronaviruses has been found in bats by Chinese researchers.
The virus may be the second-closest yet, genetically, to the Covid-19 virus, CNN reports.
Another important aspect of the discovery made by the researchers is that it shows how many coronaviruses there are in bats and how many have the potential to spread to people in a small region of Yunnan province, southwestern China.
Between May, 2019 and November, 2020, the test carried out by Weifeng Shi of the University of Shandong and colleagues is a collection of samples from small, forest-dwelling bats.
The research continued with the testing of both their urine, feces, and swabs were also taken from the bats’ mouths.
After the research was carried out, it was published in the journal cell. In the word of the researchers: “In total, we assembled 24 novel coronavirus genomes from different bat species, including four SARS-CoV-2 like coronaviruses,”
They revealed that one was very similar, genetically to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that’s causing the current pandemic, a viral sample called RpYN06 taken from a horseshoe bat species called Rhinolophus pusillus.
They also stated that, “Together with the SARS-CoV-2 related virus collected from Thailand in June 2020, these results clearly demonstrate that viruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2 continue to circulate in bat populations, and in some regions might occur at a relatively high frequency.”