Researchers study bats to track COVID-19 origins
Samples from bats in northern Cambodia can tell us more about COVID-19.
Researchers in Phnom Penh discovered a coronavirus-like virus in horseshoe bat samples collected a decade ago.
Tests done on them last year revealed a close relative of the coronavirus.
Thavry Hoem was part of a team of eight who last month logged bat species, sex, age and other data from the area.
“The reason we chose this site as our study site is because, based on previous studies, they found that the area is particularly rich in bat species, especially the horseshoe bat… We hope the results of this study will help the world may to have a better understanding of COVID-19. "
Host species such as bats usually don't show symptoms of the virus they carry, but it can be devastating if passed on to humans or other animals.
Deadly viruses that come from bats include Ebola and other coronaviruses like SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, but leading virologist Dr. Veasna Duong said man is responsible for COVID-19 which has killed nearly 5 million people worldwide due to disruption and habitat destruction.
He said, “If we try to be around wildlife, the chances that the virus will be transmitted from wildlife are greater than normal. The chances that the virus will transform to infect humans are also greater. "
The project at Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC) aims to investigate how the wildlife trade could play a role in the transmission of deadly viruses.
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