The virus, which is currently spreading in China, is called 2019-nCoV, and its a coronavirus. The virus broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the South China Seafood Wholesale Market. Researchers were quick to understand that the virus came from animals and then was being transferred 'human-to-human'. What they didn't know until now was what animal it came from.
In a new study published in the Journal of Medical Virology, researchers conducted a detailed genetic analysis of the virus and compared it to other known viruses, their origins, and their host species. What was concluded is that 2019-nCoV is a combination of coronavirus found in bats and another coronavirus of unknown origin. The researchers also found that the virus was most likely found in snakes before it made contact with humans.
The report says, "Results derived from our evolutionary analysis suggest for the first time that snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV. New information obtained from our evolutionary analysis is highly significant for effective control of the outbreak caused by the 2019-nCoV-induced pneumonia."
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