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Pangolins are not the immediate source of the SARS-COV-2, but harbor closely related viruses: Nature

2020-03-31

(image courtesy of pixabay.com and TheDigitalArtist)

A report in the March 26 issue of Nature argues that pangolin viruses are not the immediate predecessors of the novel coronavirus currently sweeping the world.  Pangolins confiscated as part of a sweep of illegal smuggling in southern China were found to harbor several closely related viruses, but not the one we are facing now.  Particularly closely related forms of the spike protein that the virus uses to attach to and enter human respiratory epithelial cells (those lining the surface in the nose, throat, and bronchi) were found, but none that are an exact match.  Bats remain the animals with the most closely related viruses to SARS-COV-2.

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