New Evidence On Bats As An Evolutionary Source Of The Coronavirus Epidemics

The Coronavirus epidemics are a family of viruses that were discovered in the 1960s but whose origin is still unknown. Its different types cause different diseases, from a cold to a severe respiratory syndrome (a severe form of pneumonia).

Cross-virus transmission between species from wild animals that act as reservoirs pose a major threat to human and animal health. Bats have been recognized as one of the most important carriers of emerging viruses and the transmission of a coronavirus that originated in bats to humans through intermediate hosts was responsible for the high-impact zoonosis; the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS ).

Much of the coronaviruses are not dangerous and can be treated effectively. In fact, most people get a coronavirus at some time in their life, usually during their childhood. Although they are more frequent in autumn or winter, they can be contacted at any time of the year.

In early 2013, a study discovered a coronavirus that was almost 87 percent identical to the MERS-CoV and that shared 91 percent of its sequences with a South African bat coronavirus known as NeoCoV.

The coronavirus owes its name to the appearance it presents since it is very similar to a crown or a halo. It is a type of virus present in both humans and animals.

The Coronavirus Epidemics Outbreaks

In recent years, three major epidemic outbreaks caused by coronaviruses have been described:

SARS-CoV: Acute and severe respiratory syndrome (SARS):

This began in November 2002 in China, affected more than 8,000 people in 37 countries and caused more than 700 deaths. The mortality of SARS-Cov has been estimated at approximately 10%.

MERS-CoV: The coronavirus epidemics that causes the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS):

This was first detected in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. More than 2,400 cases of infection were reported in different countries, with more than 800 deaths. Lethality is therefore estimated to be 35%.


At the end of December 2019, the first cases of a new coronavirus were reported in the city of Wuhan (China). Since then the drip of the new infection by the coronavirus 2019nCoV has been continuous and in recent weeks its transmission from person to person has accelerated.

Declared cases of Wuhan’s pneumonia already exceed those of the SARS epidemic, but the mortality rate is low.

Other Information on the Coronavirus Epidemics

Although there are already infected people in various countries, experts ask for caution and believe it is unlikely to cause epidemic outbreaks.

The 2019nCoV (coronavirus spreading in China) and the SARS outbreak of 2003 both started in wet markets.

At such markets, outdoor stalls are squeezed together to form narrow lanes, where locals and visitors shop for cuts of meats. A stall selling hundreds of caged chickens may be neighbor to a butcher counter, where uncooked meat is chopped. It is common to see nearby dogs watching hungrily, while vendors hock skinned hares, and seafood stalls display glistening fish and shrimp.

Wet markets put people and live and dead animals dogs, chickens, pigs, snakes, etc… in constant, close contact. That makes it easy for a virus to spread from animal to human.


  • Patient survival will depend on the type of coronavirus contracted:
  • Cold coronaviruses have very high recovery rates and virtually all those affected manage to defeat the virus within a few days.
  • SARS coronaviruses are also overcome in most cases, although between nine and 12 percent of cases result in the death of the patient. Young patients have more life expectancy, as they tend to have milder symptoms.
  • The MERS survival rate is less high, reaching around 36 percent in mortality, as specified by the World Health Organization.
  • It is still early to determine the mortality rate of the Wuhan coronavirus (2019nCoV), but it seems lower than the previous ones.

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