Here we describe the identification of SARS-CoV-2 related coronaviruses in two Rhinolophus shameli bats sampled in Cambodia in 2010. Metagenomic sequencing identified nearly identical viruses sharing 92.6% nucleotide identity with SARS-CoV-2. Most genomic regions are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, with the exception of a small region corresponding to the spike N terminal domain. The discovery of these viruses in a bat species not found in China indicates that SARS-CoV-2 related viruses have a much wider geographic distribution than previously understood, and suggests that Southeast Asia represents a key area to consider in the ongoing search for the origins of SARS-CoV-2, and in future surveillance for coronaviruses.
By Marie Jullion – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3377471
There have now been more than 60,000,000 confirmed coronavirus infections globally and the infection rate is still increasing.
Coronaviruses closely related to the pandemic coronavirus discovered in Japan and Cambodia
The viruses, both found in bats stored in laboratory freezers, are the first SARS-CoV-2 relatives to be found outside China.
A coronavirus related to SARS-CoV-2 has been found in Shamel’s horseshoe bats captured in Cambodia in 2010. Meanwhile, a team in Japan has reported the discovery of another closely related coronavirus — also found in frozen bat droppings.