London: Researchers have found coronaviruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, in bats stored in laboratory freezers in Cambodia and Japan, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
The virus in Cambodia was discovered in two Shamel’s horseshoe bats stored in a freezer, which were captured in the north of the country in 2010.
Meanwhile, a team in Japan found another closely related coronavirus in frozen bat droppings, the study showed.
“The viruses are the first known relatives of SARS-CoV-2 to be found outside China,” said the study, noting that the new findings support the World Health Organisation’s search across Asia to investigate the animal origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But whether the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 passed directly from bats to people or through an intermediate host still remains unknown, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Both discoveries are exciting because they confirm that viruses closely related to…