The Covid-19 virus quickly transforms into different variants and continues to spread around the world. In just a matter of months, more and more people are contracting the disease, young and old. A study discovered that the evolution is due to the bat virus in Laos, which resembles the pandemic strain.
Bat Virus as Culprits?
South-East Asia is a cornerstone for occurring zoonotic diseases. Bats are often the hosts for a massive volume of diseases transferred from animals to humans. Reports about Coronaviruses in bat species emerged in the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, and Thailand.
A group of Laotian and French scientists found a striking clue why the bat virus is responsible for the Covid-19 evolution. These Institut Pasteur and the National University of Laos scientists gathered specimens in the Southeast Asian nation, which started in July 2020.
The three coronaviruses discovered in Laos horseshoe bats have the most distinguished similarity to Sars-CoV-2. Otherwise called receptor-binding domain, its genetic structure remains a big question in scientific society. It differs from the bat virus thought to be the nearest known Sars-CoV-2 ancestor. These bats live in limestone caves situated in the northern part of the country. The team captured over 600 bats using specialized nets to trap them as they foraged into the forest for food.
The new viruses, namely; BANAL-52, BANAL-103, and BANAL236, are the nearest Sars-CoV-2 ancestors. They miss another significant feature that helps Sars-CoV-2 in cell infections. However, according to the team, these submicroscopic infectious agents can bind to and penetrate human cells, just like the pandemic virus. The conclusion comes during the hunt for the Covid-19 virus.
“Our results, therefore, support the hypothesis that Sars-CoV-2 could originally result from a recombination of sequences pre-existing in [horseshoe] bats living in the extensive limestone cave systems of Southeast Asia and South China,” the team said.
Bat virus is also the cause of Ebola and caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Is Covid-19 Lab-Created Virus?
Some scientists are still not convinced about the true origin of the Coronavirus. They believe that a lab leak origin is probable, particularly in China.
For almost two years, the source of the virus remained unknown until the first known case of COVID-19 came into existence. It caused concern for most scientists who agreed that the virus had an original creation.
They demonstrated that the international research community has no access to China’s sites, specimens, or basic information. The joint WHO-China research assured that the “Covid-19 lab-created virus” idea was impossible. It also includes the perception of a laboratory leak. Two questions need addressing: Covid-19 evolution and accumulation into humans.
During the press release, WHO-China Chinese joint expert team leader Liang Wannian confirmed that the report mentioned bats. He also cited minks, cats, and pangolins as possible animals that might have carried the SARS-CoV-2 virus to humans.
The researchers request a scientific, impartial, and unbiased evaluation. They stressed the necessity to perform a new and broader investigation into the origin of the Covid-19 virus. It needs the intervention of international experts without discords from different procedures and countries.
Meanwhile, the Philippines also conducted a similar study. The Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC), Phnom Penh team consists of eight members who are obtaining bat samples. They documented the species, age, sex, and other vital details.