The coronavirus discovered in Wuhan may share the same bat-related ancestor as Sars, according to the latest study by Chinese scientists, which said the strain was weaker than the devastating 2002-03 Sars outbreak but was still “highly infectious”.
The new virus shares a common ancestor with severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), in HKU9-1, a virus found in fruit bats, they found.
The connection with wild animals was confirmed on Wednesday by Gao Fu, director general of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to Gao, the coronavirus, which has sickened more than 400 people across the country and led to nine deaths, originated from wild animals sold at a seafood market in Wuhan. Gao warned that a major challenge was that the new strain was adapting and mutating.
Credit: South China Morning Post