Jump to content

Scientists discover six new coronaviruses in bats in Myanmar


Recommended Posts

Researchers with the Smithsonian’s Global Health Program have discovered six new coronaviruses in bats in Myanmar. Future studies will evaluate the potential for transmission across species to better understand the risks to human health.


Scientists discover six new coronaviruses in bats in Myanmar

The Greater Asiatic yellow house bat (Scotophilus heathii), where PREDICT-CoV-90 was found.

University of Haripur. Year: 2017./ iftikhar Hussain (CC BY-SA 3.0)


In the study, published in PLOS ONE on April 9, the authors say the newly discovered coronaviruses are not closely related to coronaviruses Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS

CoV-1), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or COVID-19.


The researchers discovered the new coronaviruses while surveying bats in Myanmar as part of a government-funded program called PREDICT to identify infectious diseases that have the potential to hop from animals to humans. Zoonosis is the term used for any disease or infection that is naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans.


“Viral pandemics remind us how closely human health is connected to the health of wildlife and the environment,” said Marc Valitutto, a former wildlife veterinarian with the Smithsonian’s Global Health Program and lead author of the study.“Worldwide, humans are interacting with wildlife with increasing frequency, so the more we understand about these viruses in animals—what allows them to mutate and how they spread to other species––the better we can reduce their pandemic potential.


”The survey work was done between 2016 and 2018 and involved taking rectal and oral swabs, as well as guano samples from 464 bats from at least 11 different species. The samples were taken in three locations in Myanmar where humans come into close contact with wildlife due to land-use changes and recreational and cultural activities.


"Two of these sites also featured popular cave systems where people were routinely exposed to bats through guano harvesting, religious practices, and ecotourism," the researchers wrote in their study, according to Live Science.Basically, the researchers analyzed genetic sequences from the collected samples and compared them to the genomes of known coronaviruses.



Six new viruses were found in three bat species, as well as an additional coronavirus that had been found elsewhere in Southeast Asia but never before in Myanmar.



The authors point out that despite the disease risks, bats play an important role in the ecosystem, providing important services such as seed dispersal, pollination, control of insect populations and fertilization via guano. However, because of human encroachment into the natural habitats of bats, there is a greater risk of disease from zoonotic pathogens.


“Many coronaviruses may not pose a risk to people, but when we identify these diseases early on in animals, at the source, we have a valuable opportunity to investigate the potential threat,” said Suzan Murray, director of the Smithsonian’s Global Health Program and co-author of the study.


“Vigilant surveillance, research and education are the best tools we have to prevent pandemics before they occur.”



  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

this is a good thing, finding the source of new viruses. But, there has been no known (as far as i know) no direct connection of bats to humans transmission. There however has been known of an intermediary species. So that means source virus mutates, then infects an intermediary species (mutates again); then goes on to humans. 


So much like a computer there has to be a layered defense to detect, mitigate and protect

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/11/2020 at 3:32 AM, dufus said:

to infinity and beyond !

My friend, @dufus  there is no beyond the infinity.  😉


Your informative posts are much appreciated. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...