One more step in discovering the origins of Covid-19?

Researchers from the Institut Pasteur claim to have found coronaviruses close to Covid-19 in bats living in Laos.

Two years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the origins of the virus remain unclear. A study by the Institut Pasteur published in the scientific journal Nature revives the trail of transmission from animals to humans. French researchers have spotted viruses very similar to that of Covid-19 in bats in Laos.

More specifically, “three viruses have genomic similarities with Sars-Cov-2”, specify the authors of the study. In particular, they demonstrated the ability of these three coronaviruses to enter human cells, through the link between their Spike protein and the ACE2 receptor, and to multiply there.

Outstanding questions

However, scientists have noted a major difference: the absence of furin cleavage, which allows Covid-19 to enter human respiratory cells and which causes the virus to be highly contagious. According to virologist Marc Eloit who led the study, other “close” viruses could also represent “a risk to human health”.

However, this thesis does not explain how Covid-19 could have appeared in Wuhan in China when the bats studied come from southern China, northern Laos and Vietnam. “This raises the question of how he was transported”, points out Marc Eloit in the columns of The Express.

According to the hypotheses put forward, the Covid-19 could have circulated silently in humans before mutating and acquiring the ability to contaminate or it would be the first known coronavirus to have acquired this characteristic. This would have allowed him to move more easily from animal to human. Further research is underway to determine the origin of Covid-19. If the institute has taken a big step, the debate on the origins of the pandemic is not yet closed.

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