Researchers from the Institut Pasteur in Paris and the National University of Laos have announced new evidence of the natural origin of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Scientists have been observing 46 species of bats in Southeast Asia for several months. As a result, three viruses were found in animals living in the limestone caves of Laos, the receptor-binding domain (RBD, part of the “spike” protein necessary for binding to human cells) of which is similar to the domain of the “Wuhan” type of pathogen.
According to experts, these viruses-BANAL-52, BANAL-103, and BANAL-236, are “the closest ancestors of SARS-CoV-2 known today.” It is quite possible that they contributed to its occurrence. But, unlike SARS-CoV-2, none of the identified pathogens has a so-called furin cleavage site in the S-protein, which easily enters the body.
Experts of the World Health Organization (WHO) visited the Chinese city of Wuhan at the beginning of the year to establish the source of the coronavirus infection and considered the version according to which COVID has a laboratory origin unlikely.
U.S. intelligence agencies are also trying to understand the nature of COVID. Last Wednesday, it became known that intelligence on behalf of President Joe Biden conducted a study on the origin of the coronavirus but did not come to a consensus. Representatives of the special services have not been able to establish whether COVID-19 was transmitted from an animal or a leak from the laboratory.