Chinese scientists say they have discovered a number of new coronaviruses in bats, one of which is likely to be genetically very close to SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19, CNN writes.
From May 2019 to November 2020, scientists at Shandong University, Weifei Shim, and colleagues collected samples of small forest bats in Yunnan province.
"In total, we collected 24 new coronavirus genomes from different bat species, including four SARS-CoV-2-like coronaviruses," the publication said.
According to scientists, one of the new coronaviruses, called RpYN06, found in one of the species of bats, Rhinolophus cornutus, is genetically very similar to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
This suggests that viruses closely related to the current pandemic continue to circulate in bat populations.