Edward Holmes is the virologist who, on January 10, 2020, informed the world that the mysterious pneumonia was spreading to the city of Wuhan it was caused by an unknown coronavirus. Thanks to that data, it immediately started the international race to get a vaccine.
Now the Australian scientist and his Chinese colleagues have found four other types of Coronavirus related to bats in southwestern China. SARS-CoV-2 and three others related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus. This virus concentration was found in just 400 bat samples in a tiny area of China’s Yunnan province, 1,800 kilometers from Wuhan.
Edward Holmes con Yong-Zhen Zhang
(Chinese Centre for Disease Control) nel 2013
“Wild animal species have large numbers of viruses and it is possible for one of them to emerge and cause an epidemic or pandemic in humans. These are not things that only happen once every 100 years, “Holmes said.
“These pandemic diseases are caused by human activities, not by bats and other animals. When man invades natural ecosystems. In Yunnan, for example, limestone mining hunts bats from their shelters and forces them to change territory, often in denser groups and with greater transmission of pathogens. In this situation it is easier for new viruses to emerge, ”he added.
One of the Coronaviruses discovered, RpYN06, is the second closest relative of the Covid virus. The genomic sequences coincide for 94.5%.
Already at the end of April 2012, six miners were hit one severe pneumonia after entering a Mojiang County copper mine to clean them of bat feces. Three of the affected people died. Chinese health authorities even then suspected an unknown virus and organized scientific sampling campaigns at the mine. Those researchers, from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, found bats in the Mojiang mine nine types of Coronavirus of the same genus as the Covid virus.
(Continued: Viruses similar to another Coronavirus identified in pangolins …)