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Research finds closest relatives of COVID-19 virus among bats in Laos

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-10-01 18:18

NEW DELHI -- A newly-conducted research has found three viruses from bats in Laos, which are more similar than any known viruses to COVID-19, India Today reported recently.

The research, published in preprint server Research Square, could forward the theory of origins of the COVID-19 from an animal and then transmitting into humans via zoonosis. However, the new discovery also raises concerns among the scientific community about the presence of more such viruses in nature with the capability to jump to humans.

The team of researchers led by Marc Eloit, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, studied saliva, faeces and urine samples collected from 645 bats in caves in northern Laos and found three viruses that are close relatives of COVID-19.

The paper also stressed upon the need of deciphering the origins of COVID-19.

"To decipher the origins of SARS-CoV-2, it is essential to ascertain the diversity of animal coronaviruses and more specifically of bat coronaviruses," the paper said.

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