It has been months since the COVID19 pandemic has hit the world. Scientists are still trying to find out the actual source of the coronavirus since animal to human transmission of the virus has happened in the city of Wuhan in China. A study has revealed that scientists might be able to find the answers to many questions surrounding the origin of coronavirus. A team of experts from the US, China, and Europe has created an evolution history of SARS-CoV-2 while comparing the mutation pattern of the virus to other pathogens. For the first time, experts have found out a lineage of the virus, which has caused a massive COVID19 pandemic. This study has been published in the journal of Nature Microbiology.
The collective observation of the experts indicates to bats being the primary host of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while it might be possible that pangolins and other hitherto unexplored species might have acted as a transitional host causing the transmission to humans. The study has found evidence, which is consistent with the virus being evolved in bats. It has led to the growth of bat sarbecoviruses, which can replicate in the respiratory tract of humans and pangolins. The study has claimed that coronavirus has evolved from other bat viruses around 40 to 70 years ago. Experts have said that the lineage of the virus has been giving a lead to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has been flowing unobserved in bats for decades.
Experts have said that coronavirus is around 96 percent similar to the RaTG13 coronavirus which has been found in a sample of the Rhinolophus affinis horseshoe bats in 2013 in China. However, it diverged from RaTG13 in 1969. Scientists have been able to reveal the estimated divergence period of the virus after recombination histories. They have said that with the divergence period of the virus, they might be able to find the origins of many viral pathogens. Experts have informed that coronavirus has some similarities with the old members of its lineage as well. Most of the viruses belonging to the same lineage have the same receptor binding domain (RBD) attached to its spike protein. This allows the virus to bind with the human receptor cells, said the authors. Authors have said that RBD seems to be an ancestral trait among all bat viruses, which has not been acquired by recombination. The authors have said that it means other viruses are still circulating in horseshoe bats in China, which can infect humans.