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SARS virus may trace back to bats.

Chinese horseshoe bats carry two viruses that are closely related to the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in people. The discovery, reported October 30 in Nature, provides the strongest evidence yet that SARS originated in bats. The spread of SARS in 2002-2003 caused a pandemic that sickened more than 8,000 people and killed 774. Scientists have identified several SARS-like coronaviruses in bats in China, Europe and Africa and have proposed that the animals may have spread the virus to humans. But there's been no convincing data to support the idea. In the new study, Xing-Yi Ge of the Wuhan institute of Virology in China and colleagues analyzed the genomes of the newly identified bat coronaviruses. The results show that these viruses are more closely related to the SARS virus than to other SARS-like viruses previously identified in bats. The new viruses can also invade cells using the same human cell receptor protein that SARS uses.

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Title Annotation:GENES & CELLS; severe acute respiratory syndrome
Author:Yeager, Ashley
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 30, 2013
Words:171
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