Cambodia bat researchers on mission to track origin of COVID-19 By Reuters


© Reuters. A researcher from the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge takes an oral swab from a bat that was captured at Chhngauk Hill, Thala Borivat District, Steung Treng Province, Cambodia, August 30, 2021. REUTERS/Cindy Liu


By Cindy Liu and Prak Chan Thul

STUNG TRENG, Cambodia (Reuters) – Researchers are gathering samples from bats in northern Cambodia in a bid to grasp the coronavirus pandemic, returning to a area the place a really related virus was discovered within the animals a decade in the past.

Two samples from horseshoe bats have been collected in 2010 in Stung Treng province close to Laos and saved in freezers on the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC) in Phnom Penh.

Assessments completed on them final 12 months revealed an in depth relative to the coronavirus that has killed greater than 4.6 million folks worldwide.

An eight-member IPC analysis workforce has been gathering samples from bats and logging their species, intercourse, age and different particulars for per week. Related analysis is occurring within the Philippines.

“We hope that the outcome from this examine can assist the world to have a greater understanding about COVID-19,” subject coordinator Thavry Hoem instructed Reuters, as she held a web to catch bats.

Host species reminiscent of bats usually show no signs of pathogens, however these might be devastating if transmitted to people or different animals.

Dr. Veasna Duong, Head of Virology on the IPC, stated his institute had made 4 such journeys up to now two years, hoping for clues concerning the origin and evolution of the bat-borne virus.

“We wish to discover out whether or not the virus remains to be there and … to know the way the virus has developed,” he instructed Reuters.

Lethal viruses originating from bats embrace Ebola and different coronaviruses reminiscent of Extreme Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Center East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

However Veasna Duong stated people have been chargeable for the devastation attributable to COVID-19, as a consequence of interference and destruction of pure habitats.

“If we attempt to be close to wildlife, the possibilities of getting the virus carried by wildlife are greater than regular. The possibilities of the virus remodeling to contaminate people are additionally extra,” he stated.

The French-funded undertaking additionally goals to have a look at how the wildlife commerce might be enjoying a component, stated Julia Guillebaud, a analysis engineer on the IPC’s virology unit.

“(The undertaking) goals to offer new information on wild meat commerce chains in Cambodia, doc the variety of betacoronaviruses circulating via these chains, and develop a versatile and built-in early-detection system of viral spill-over occasions,” Gillebaud stated.

(Reportin by Cindy Liu in Stung Treng and Prak Chan Thul in Phnom Penh; Modifying by Martin Petty and Andrew Heavens)

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