Coronavirus study clarifies origin of SARS, points to new threats

Two new coronaviruses that are highly similar to SARS have been identified in bats in China, and the findings suggest the pathogens are equipped for direct transmission to humans. Experts cite the new findings as evidence that bats were the reservoir for SARS, which infected 8,000 people globally, killing about 750. It was last seen in 2004. "Of the 40 or so new infections in humans discovered in the last 40 years, most have come from animals," said professor Sanjaya Senanayake. "Now that animals, including bats, and humans live closer together as our population expands globally, the opportunity for direct transmission of these dangerous viruses becomes more and more of an issue."

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