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Tracking the next pandemic: Avian Flu Talk

SARS-1/SARS-2 recombination in bats

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Dutch Josh View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 24 2022 at 12:58pm

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A new preprint out today has been looking at viruses in Chinese bats and has turned up some surprises – it looks like a recombinant variant of SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 has been found!

Yunnan Province at the southern tip of China is a hotspot for bats and bat viruses. Closest relatives of SARS-CoV as well as SARS-CoV-2 are found here and different bat species are living in caves together.

Perhaps most concerning: two SARS like viruses were found! Bat SARS-like virus BtSY1 and BtSY2 (“Betsy” is too cute a name for them I think) one is closer related to SARS-CoV, the other closer to SARS-CoV-2 when analyzing spike and N gene.

However, when looking at the RdRp gene, things are different. Then both Betsys” cluster with SARS1. So some regions of BtSY2 are SARS1 like, others SARS2 like. Or in other words: the virus is a recombinant between SARS-CoV1 and 2!

The receptor binding domain of BtSY2 is (94% identity) so close to SARS-CoV2 “Wuhan”, that it must be expected this spike can bind the human ACE2 receptor. But at least no furin cleavage site is present, very good! The NTD is even more similar.

Preprint: Individual bat viromes reveal the co-infection, spillover and emergence risk of potential zoonotic viruses

Ulrich Elling on Twitter may show up in other species then bats...

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
~Albert Einstein
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