2022 RT Banner.gif

China Daily

Asia Pacific> Asia News> Content
Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 14:56
Study: SARS-related coronaviruses infect 66k in SE Asia yearly
By Reuters
Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 14:56 By Reuters

This undated transmission electron microscope handout image obtained June 28, 2021 courtesy of the National Institue of Allergy and Diseases shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The image was captured and colorized at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana. (HO/ NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE / AFP)

SHANGHAI - About 66,000 people in Southeast Asia are infected each year with SARS-related coronaviruses, and nearly 500 million people live near habitats where bat hosts of those viruses are found, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The research, published by Nature Communications, said viral transmission from bats to humans may have been "substantially underestimated", adding that its mapping of bat species in the region could aid efforts to determine the origins of COVID-19.

The research, published by Nature Communications, said viral transmission from bats to humans may have been "substantially underestimated", adding that its mapping of bat species in the region could aid efforts to determine the origins of COVID-19

The researchers focused on 26 species of bat known to host SARS-like coronaviruses in a region of 5.1 million square kilometers (2 million square miles). They then incorporated data on antibody levels among people who have reported bat contact.

ALSO READ: Survey of bat population fails to find virus close to COVID-19

Northeastern Myanmar, Laos and northern Vietnam were among those identified as regions with the highest diversity of bat species that host SARS-like coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs).

"Our estimate that a median of 66,000 people are infected with SARSr-CoVs each year in Southeast Asia suggests that bat-to-human SARSr-CoV spillover is common in the region, and is undetected by surveillance programs and clinical studies in the majority of cases," they said.

"These data on the geography and scale of spillover can be used to target surveillance and prevention programs for potential future bat-CoV emergence," the paper reads.

READ MORE: WHO reiterates novel coronavirus is 'natural in origin'


Share this story