A coronavirus related to novel coronavirus has been found in bats in a wildlife reserve in eastern Thailand, but the study was unable to pin down the origin and intermediate host of the virus, a team of researchers said in a paper published in Nature Communications.
Researchers at Duke – the National University of Singapore School of Medicine and other institutions carried out surveillance investigations of the coronavirus.
They found a coronavirus in five bats in an artificial cave in a wildlife reserve in eastern Thailand.
The researchers named the coronavirus RACCS203.
Analysis showed that the genome of this virus was 91.5% similar to that of novel coronavirus, and it was also closely related to the bat coronavirus RMYN02 previously found in China.
The researchers also detected Novel Coronavirus neutralizing antibodies in bats in this part of Thailand and in a pangolin at a wildlife checkpoint in the south of the country.
The researchers note that this provides evidence for the spread of novel coronaviruses in Southeast Asia, but the sample size and sampling area of this study were limited.
They believe that the novel coronavirus related coronavirus is abundant in bats in many countries and regions in Asia. Although the latest discovery cannot pinpoint the origin of the novel coronavirus, it still helps to expand the scope of the detection of the novel coronavirus related virus.