Chinese researchers said Thursday they had found a batch of new coronaviruses in bats including one that may be the second-closest yet, genetically, to the Covid-19 virus.
According to the researchers, their discoveries in a single, small region of Yunnan province, southwestern China show just how many coronaviruses there are in bats and how many have the potential to spread to people.
Weifeng Shi of the University of Shandong and colleagues collected samples from small, forest-dwelling bats between May, 2019 and November, 2020. They tested urine and feces as well as taking swabs from the bats' mouths.
"In total, we assembled 24 novel coronavirus genomes from different bat species, including four SARS-CoV-2 like coronaviruses," the researchers wrote in a report published in the journal Cell.
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