While the World Health Organization (WHO) continues its mission to Wuhan investigating the origin and early transmission of SARS-CoV-2, a new study led by scientists from Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, and Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, shows that SARS-CoV-2-related coronaviruses (SC2r-CoVs) are circulating in animals as far away as Thailand. The study, published in Nature Communications today, reported that high levels of neutralising antibodies against the virus were present in both bats and pangolins found in the Southeast Asian country. The study further indicates that more SC2r-CoVs are likely to be discovered in the region. Southeast Asia with its large and diverse bat populations may be a more likely hotspot for such viruses.
In the study, the team examined Rhinolophus bats in a Thai cave. SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies were detected in bats of the same colony and in a pangolin at a wildlife checkpoint in Southern Thailand.