Researcher discovered coronavirus According to news reports, it lurks in a Laotian bat that appears to be the closest known relative to the previously discovered virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2.
In a new study, researchers at the Pasteur Institute in France and the University of Laos captured 645 bats from a limestone cave in northern Laos and screened for viruses associated with SARS-CoV-2. They found three viruses (named BANAL-52, BANAL-103, and BANAL-236) that infected horseshoe-shaped bats and shared more than 95% of the entire genome with SARS-CoV-2.
One of the viruses, BANAL-52, was 96.8% identical to SARS-CoV-2. Nature news.. Therefore, BANAL-52 is genetically more similar to SARS-CoV-2 than other known viruses. Previously, the closest known one associated with SARS-CoV-2 was RaTG13. It was discovered in a horseshoe-shaped bat in 2013 and shares 96.1% of its genome with SARS-CoV-2.
In addition, all three newly discovered viruses are more similar to SARS-CoV-2 in important parts of the genome (called the receptor binding domain (RBD)) than other known viruses. virus.. RBD is part of the virus and allows it to bind to host cells. With SARS-CoV-2, RBD binds to a receptor known as ACE2 on human cells, and the virus uses this receptor as a gateway to the cell.
Importantly, a new study found that BANAL-52, BANAL-103, and BANAL-236 bind to ACE2 and can be used to invade human cells. So far, other candidates proposed as ancestors of SARS-CoV-2 found in bats, including RaTG13, have failed to do this, the researchers said. They said the three viruses could bind to ACE2 as well as the early strains of SARS-CoV-2 found in Wuhan.
The results “show that sequences very close to the sequences of the early strains of SARS-CoV-2 exist in nature,” the researchers wrote in the treatise, but have not yet been peer-reviewed. ..
“The receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 looked abnormal when it was first discovered because there were so few viruses to compare,” said an evolutionary biologist at the University of Sydney, who was not involved in the study. Edward Holmes said. , Said Bloomberg.. “Now we’re sampling more from nature, so we’re starting to find these closely related bits of the sequence,” Holmes said.
The authors state that their findings support the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 resulted from the recombination of viral sequences present in horseshoe-shaped bats.
Nevertheless, the newly discovered virus is closely related to SARS-CoV-2, but all three viruses are found in SARS-CoV-2 and are known as “wind chimes cutting sites” that help the virus invade. Lacking the array to be. According to Nature News, to cells. This means that further research is needed to show when and how the furin site was introduced in order to better understand the origin of SARS-CoV-2.
Bloomberg reported that the findings are currently being considered for publication in the Nature Journal.
Originally published in Live Science.
The virus found in Lao bats is the closest known relative to SARS-CoV-2.
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