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Coronavirus

20 Sept 2021

Bat Researchers in Cambodia Investigating the Origin of Covid-19

The Index Today

Researchers in Cambodia are on a mission to track the origin of the Covid-19. They have returned to the northern region of the country to collect samples from bats which may provide a clue on how the pandemic started. According to reports, proof of a similar virus to the Covid-19 was found in animals in that region over a decade ago.
In 2010, samples from horseshoe bats in the Stung Treng province were collected and successfully stored at the Institut Pasteur du Cambodia in Phnom Penh IPC for further studies. Tests conducted on the sample revealed that the virus was closely similar to the coronavirus which has a notoriously high death rate.
A research team comprising of eight members from the IPC have dedicated their time and efforts to collect and analyze samples from bats which include details such as species, age, sex etc. Field coordinator Thavry Hoem stated, “We hope that the result this study can help the world to have a better understanding about the COVID-19.”
Ebola, MERS and SARS are among the few other deadly viruses which have originated from bats. The research aims to find clues about the virus and understand if it has evolved. Dr. Veasna Duong, Head of Virology at the IPC, said that deadly viruses originating from bats are mainly caused by interference or destruction of their natural habitats. He further said, “If we try to be near wildlife, the chances of getting the virus carried by wildlife are more than normal. The chances of the virus transforming to infect humans are also more.”
The project is funded by France and will provide more information regarding meat trade in Cambodia. It will also shed light on how the wildlife trade plays a role in the transferring of such deadly viruses.


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