Pangolins can harbor
coronaviruses related to the new coronavirus, a study finds.
viruses in pangolins (Manis
captured in anti-smuggling activities in southern China. The identified
coronaviruses, however, are different enough from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that
causes COVID-19, to hint that pangolins were not directly responsible for
transmitting the virus to people, which had been suggested.
One of the pangolin viruses does have a structure that closely resembles the new coronavirus’ spike protein, which allows the pathogen to get into cells, infectious disease researcher Tommy Tsan-Yuk Lam of the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong and colleagues report March 26 in Nature.
The closest relative of SARS-CoV-2 is still from a bat, the only other known mammal found to be infected with similar coronaviruses.
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