A study conducted between 2016 and 2017 in China found that nine bat species carried 58 bat coronaviruses
Scientists in China have discovered a new wild coronavirus with the same mutation as animals that are believed to have spread COVID-19, proving that Sars-CoV-2 was not created in a lab, Daily Mail reported.
The new bat coronavirus possesses a furin cleavage site — a crucial element in COVID-19’s effectiveness — which has been a topic of debate, with some experts claiming it could only have been acquired through lab experiments.
The newly discovered TyRo-CoV-162275 virus, which is up to 98% identical to coronaviruses found in pangolins, — the animal long suspected of passing COVID-19 to humans — has been criticised for supporting the “lab leak theory”
The theory suggests that COVID-19-like viruses emerge in the wild and pass between species, despite studies showing that wild coronaviruses can acquire the structure naturally.
Dr Kristian Andersen, a top Danish infectious disease expert, shared the new study on X, formerly known as Twitter, where he wrote: “The science on this will only get stronger with time.”
Dr Andersen, despite admitting a high likelihood of a lab leak, publicly condemned the theory and was summoned before Congress in July, Daily Mail reported.
There are two camps regarding the origin and spread of COVID-19: some scientists, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Energy believe it escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Meanwhile, others including former White House doctor Anthony Fauci, believe it originated in bats, passed to pangolins, and then to humans.
A study conducted between 2016 and 2017 in China found that nine bat species carried 58 bat coronaviruses.
The researchers collected samples from 20 bat species in the Yunnan and Guangdong provinces, 994 and 620 miles away from the COVID-19 pandemic epicentre of Wuhan.
They found two of the viruses, TyRo-CoV-162275 and TyRo-CoV-162269, in a greater bamboo bat.
The first one is related to the bat MERS-like coronaviruses that circulate in pangolins, the rare animal thought to be the intermediary in passing COVID-19 from bats to humans.
The second one was closely related to another type of bat coronavirus.
Scientists are calling for transparency from China regarding the mysterious illness that shares similarities with the early COVID-19 outbreak, as published in the journal Virologica Sinica, run by Shi Zhengli, also known as the ‘Bat Lady’ or ‘Bat Woman’.
Scientists are demanding answers as there already have been numerous conspiracy theories created around the spread of COVID-19.