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article imageSARS virus linked to bats

By Tim Sandle     Nov 1, 2013 in Science
Chinese horseshoe bats carry two newly-identified viruses that are closely related to the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in people.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Initial symptoms are flu-like and may include fever, myalgia, lethargy symptoms, cough, sore throat, and other nonspecific symptoms. The only symptom common to all patients appears to be a fever above 38 °C (100 °F).
The cause and main reservoir for spread of the disease has is unknown; however, mounting evidence indicates that the cause could be bats.
This comes from a study published in the journal Nature. The study records research led by led by Xing-Yi Ge of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. For the new research, scientists analyzed the genomes of the newly identified bat coronaviruses. The results show that these viruses are more closely related to the SARS coronavirus than to other SARS-like microbes previously identified in bats.
These two novel SARS-like coronaviruses found in Chinese horseshoe bats, are closely related to the pathogen that infects humans. Importantly, the viruses infect human cells in the same way, binding to a receptor called ACE2. This suggests coronaviruses, like SARS, could transfer directly from bats to humans
The link between SARS and bats follows news that Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), one of the latest problem viruses to have emerged this decade, is also likely to be linked to bats (as Digital Journal has reported).
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