These Never-Before-Seen Viruses Discovered In China Could Turn Into Future Pandemics

New Delhi: Chinese scientists have discovered eight never-before-seen viruses in rodents, on Hainan, a tropical island off the southern coast of China. Experts have warned that they have a “high probability” of infecting humans if they ever cross the species barrier.

The discovery was made by researchers tasked with preparing the world for future pandemics. They took almost 700 samples from rodents on Hainan and found eight novel viruses. One of the viruses belongs to the same family as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 NDTV reported.

The findings were published in the journal Virologica Sinica, which is edited by Dr Shi Zhengli, known as “Bat Woman” for her work on bat coronaviruses. Scientists have called for further experiments on the viruses to determine exactly what their effects on humans could be.

According to The Metro News, the journal Virologica Sinica is the publishing arm of the Chinese Society for Microbiology (CSM). CSM is linked to the state-affiliated China Association of Science and Technology, which ‘accepts administrative supervision’ from the Chinese Government’s ‘Ministry of Civil Affairs’.

The new study analysed 682 anal and throat swabs collected from various rodents captured on Hainan between 2017 and 2021. These samples, which were categorised by specific rodent species and location on the island, were then sent to labs to be examined.

Analysis revealed a host of new ‘novel’ viruses, including one new coronavirus that the experts dubbed CoV-HMU-1.


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