The Origin of SARS Virus Began with Bats

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As the world continues to battle with the Ebola virus, scientists have been able to solve a decade-long mystery. SARS was a pandemic in the year 2002-2003 originating in China which saw more than 8000 cases were infected worldwide and claimed more than 750 lives. Until now, the source of this dreadful virus was not yet confirmed. Scientists have come to the conclusion that bats were the ones responsible for the origin of the deadly SARS virus.     

Scientists have isolated a very close relative of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) from horseshoe bats in China, confirming them as the origin of the virus responsible for the 2002- 2003 SARS pandemic. During the original SARS outbreak in the wet markets of Guangdong province, it was thought that bat viruses first infected civets — small mammals native to tropical Asia and Africa — and then evolved to infect people through this intermediate host. The new study, published in Nature, suggests that SARS may have originated directly from one of these bat viruses instead.

We have been searching for this missing link for ten years, and we’ve finally found it..

horseshoe-bat-picture
Picture of a Horseshoe Bat

The results are based on genetic analyses of live samples taken from members of a horseshoe bat colony in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. At least seven different strains of SARS- like corona-viruses were found to be circulating within the bat colony. “We have been searching for this missing link for ten years, and we’ve finally found it,” said study leader Prof. Shi Zhengli from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

In the case of Ebola… the scientists have not yet been able to identify the source of the virus.

In the case of Ebola, the same scenario has again emerged as the scientists have not yet been able to identify the source of the virus. We just hope that the source is identified soon and we also wish that a permanent cure for this dreadful disease will also be found. But will it be easy? Even after a decade, there is no cure of vaccine yet for SARS, so one can really imagine the challenges in front of us.

But this is not the end of the road, such challenges will continue to haunt the human species as countless viruses are yet to be discovered. Only time will tell if we shall prevail in combating such life-threatening diseases. But to begin with, we must take all the precautionary measures to keep any sort of diseases at bay. Always remember: ’Prevention is better than cure’.

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