Scientists have discovered a new type of virus, similar to the strain that causes Covid-19, in the dung of cave-dwelling bats in Japan. This was reported by Japanese television, which published data from a group of researchers from the University of Tokyo.
The group investigated in detail the gene of a virus contained in the droppings of little horseshoe bats collected in a cave in Japan seven years ago and found that the gene is 81.5% consistent with the coronavirus Covid-19. It means that the coronavirus similar to Covid-19 was found.
The scientists say the new virus doesn’t infect humans, although further investigation is needed.
So far, it was found that coronavirus Covid-19 is the virus that matches over 95% of genes of Chinese bats, but according to the group of researchers, it is the most similar type among those discovered in Japan.
"It is thought that only a small number of coronaviruses are dangerous, but we cannot deny the possibility that Japan there are types that are infectious to humans," Associate Professor Shin Murakami explained. "We need to research the wild animals and promptly grasp the actual situation."
As we reported earlier, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has asked world leaders to prepare for the next pandemic.
"We must prepare for the next pandemic now," WHO stated in a news release.
"We've seen this past year that countries with robust health emergency preparedness infrastructure have been able to act quickly to contain and control the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus."