U.S., Chinese Scientists Release Genetic Analysis Of Bat Coronaviruses; NIH Canceled Funding For Study Earlier This Year

New York Times: U.S. and Chinese Scientists Trace Evolution of Coronaviruses in Bats
“An international team of scientists, including a prominent researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has analyzed all known coronaviruses in Chinese bats and used genetic analysis to trace the likely origin of the novel coronavirus to horseshoe bats. In their report, posted online Sunday, they also point to the great variety of these viruses in southern and southwestern China and urge closer monitoring of bat viruses in the area and greater efforts to change human behavior as ways of decreasing the chances of future pandemics…” (Gorman, 6/1).

Science: NIH-halted study unveils its massive analysis of bat coronaviruses
“…Although the analysis cannot pinpoint the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, it does single out one genus, Rhinolophus, also known as Chinese horseshoe bats, as crucial to the evolution of coronaviruses. ‘It seems that by sheer phylogeographic, historical, evolutionary bad luck, Rhinolophus ends up being the major reservoir for SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome]-related coronaviruses,’ says study co-author Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit that last month saw its multimillion-dollar grant to study bat coronaviruses with colleagues in China cut by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). On 21 May, 77 Nobel laureates urged NIH to reconsider its decision to end the funding…” (Cohen/Kupferschmidt, 6/1).

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