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Scientists study bats in Cambodia to find clues about Covid

Jack Arthur

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PHOTO: Jennifer Krauel/Flickr

Scientists are collecting samples from bats in Cambodia to better understand the Covid pandemic. The researchers chose the region as a similar virus was found there in bats years ago.

2 samples were taken from horseshoe bats back in 2010 in the Stung Treng province, which is close to Laos. The samples were placed in freezers at the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge in Phnom Penh. Then, last year, tests were conducted on the samples that determined a near relative to the coronavirus previously killed 4.6 million people across the globe. Reuters says similar research is being done in the Philippines.

“We hope that the result from this study can help the world to have a better understanding of COVID-19,” says field coordinator Thavry Hoem.

Bats, which can play host to viruses, usually don’t show symptoms of pathogens, but they can still be transmitted to humans or other animals, which can prove fatal. Dr Veasna Duong, the Head of Virology from the institute, says 4 trips have been made over the last 2 years to perform similar research as scientists continue to search for clues to the origin and evolution of the coronavirus.

“We want to find out whether the virus is still there and … to know how the virus has evolved”, says Dr Veasna.

The scientist went on to blame humans for the devastation from Covid as humans interfered and destroyed the natural habitats of animals.

“If we try to be near wildlife, the chances of getting the virus carried by wildlife are more than normal. The chances of the virus transforming to infect humans are also more”.

Thai researchers previously denied the suggestion that horseshoe bats could be responsible for the coronavirus.

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.

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