Updated: Dec 15, 2021
A single strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus cost the world millions of lives and caused major economic losses throughout the last 19 months. While many continue to focus attention on the origin of SARS-CoV-2, an alarming report shows the presence of at least three very closely related viruses in bats in Laos with a higher degree of similarity to SARS-CoV-2 than any other known viruses. Suggesting a high likelihood of the presence and spilling over numerous coronaviruses in southeast Asia, these viruses have the potential to infect a vast amount of people in the days ahead.
When first sequenced, the SARS-CoV-2 genome didn’t match with anything previously known, causing panic to the scientific community about the possible origin and means to tackle it. Now, this report, if reproduced by other investigators and bolstered by additional studies to fill some missing links, strengthens the ongoing claim that the virus originated from nature.
Although this is a fascinating discovery, it is also very concerning, warranting increased cooperation and collaboration among scientists around the world to increase sampling from possible sources to uncover the origins of the pandemic and prepare for the potential worst in the future.
Learn more about these findings here.