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SARS-related coronavirus infects about 66,000 people annually in Southeast Asia: study

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An undated transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient.
Undated transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, also known as the novel coronavirus. Causes COVID-19 isolated from patients. Photo by NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) /Source via REUTERS

Shanghai — approx. 66,000 people Asia is infected with SARS-related coronaviruses each year, and nearly 500 million people live near habitats where bat hosts for these viruses are found, according to a study released Wednesday. increase.

According to a study published in Nature Communications, viral transmission from bats to humans may be "significantly underestimated," and mapping of bat species in the region has been difficult. , adding that it could be helpful in efforts to identify. Origin of COVID-19.

Researchers focused on 26 bat species known to host SARS-like coronaviruses in an area of ​​5.1 million square kilometers that stretches from China to Southeast and South Asia. We then incorporated data on antibody levels in people who reported contact with bats.

Southern China, northeastern Myanmar, Laos, and northern Vietnam were identified as regions with the highest diversity of bat species that host the SARS-like coronavirus (SARSr-CoV).

"Our estimate of a median of 66,000 SARSr-CoV infections each year in Southeast Asia suggests that transmission of SARSr-CoV from bats to humans is common in the region, Surveillance and surveillance programs suggest that it is not detected in clinical studies in the majority of cases," they said.

"These data on the geography and magnitude of spillovers can be used to target surveillance and prevention programs against potential future bat CoV emergencies." the paper said.

COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strain.

The study's authors include Peter Daszak, a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of COVID-19, when the pandemic first began early last year. I visited Wuhan, where the outbreak occurred.

The WHO said in June that the lack of data from China made it difficult to determine when and how the coronavirus first entered the human population. Stated.

A study published in the journal Science at the end of July found that the live wildlife trade remains the best explanation for the origin of the pandemic, resulting in two separate spillovers in the South China seafood market. It is likely that many of the early cases were clustered.

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