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Study reveals further insights into animal origin of COVID-19
Several high-impact variants in bats and pangolins identified by the study could aid further vaccine design and treatments.

Researchers identify coronaviruses in pangolins and bats that are genetically similar to SARS-CoV-2.

New clues about the potential animal origin of COVID-19 have been unveiled in a new study led by researchers at the Roslin Institute and Aberystwyth University.

Writing in the journal MDPI Viruses, scientists suggest that an ancestor of the virus was once present in both pangolins and bats before reaching people. 

While the results add to previous support for this idea, more work is needed to identify the animal coronavirus that first infected humans, researchers said.
Several high-impact coronavirus variants in pangolins and bats identified by the study could also aid further vaccine design and treatments. 

Dr Barbara Shih from the Roslin Institute explains: “After examining all publicly available coronavirus genomes for bats and pangolins, we noted a handful of bat coronaviruses and all seven pangolin coronaviruses to be very similar to SARS-CoV-2. 

“Our study emphasises the need for further analyses of coronaviruses from suspected animal species. Bridging this knowledge gap may help us better understand the process that enables the virus to infect humans.”

In the study, scientists used a novel hybrid computational approach to compare coronaviruses affecting bats and pangolins to the virus causing COVID-19 in humans (SARS-CoV-2).  Their work highlights genes that are specific to coronaviruses affecting each species, as well as parts of genes that are commonly seen in coronaviruses affecting bats and pangolins. 

Lead author Nicholas Dimonaco, a PhD student at Aberystwyth University, said: “This work has shown that there are types of coronaviruses found in both pangolins and bats which are genetically more similar to the human SARS-CoV-2 virus than to other viruses from the same hosts.”New clues about the potential animal origin of COVID-19 have been unveiled in a new study led by researchers at the Roslin Institute and Aberystwyth University.

Writing in the journal MDPI Viruses, scientists suggest that an ancestor of the virus was once present in both pangolins and bats before reaching people. 

While the discovery adds to the previous support for this theory, more work is needed to identify the animal coronavirus that first infected humans, researchers said. 

Several high-impact coronavirus variants in pangolins and bats identified by the study could also aid further vaccine design and treatment. 

Dr Barbara Shih from the Roslin Institute explains: “After examining all publicly available coronavirus genomes for bats and pangolins, we noted a handful of bat coronaviruses and all seven pangolin coronaviruses to be very similar to SARS-CoV-2. 

“Our study emphasises the need for further analyses of coronaviruses from suspected animal species. Bridging this knowledge gap may help us better understand the process that enables the virus to infect humans.”

In the study, scientists used a novel hybrid computational approach to compare coronaviruses affecting bats and pangolins to the virus causing COVID-19 in humans (SARS-CoV-2).  Their work highlights genes that are specific to coronaviruses affecting each species, as well as parts of genes that are commonly seen in coronaviruses affecting bats and pangolins. 

Lead author Nicholas Dimonaco, a PhD student at Aberystwyth University, said: “This work has shown that there are types of coronaviruses found in both pangolins and bats which are genetically more similar to the human SARS-CoV-2 virus than to other viruses from the same hosts.”

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Laura Muir wins gold at Commonwealth Games

News Story 1
 Veterinary surgeon and Olympic silver-medalist Laura Muir scooped the gold medal in the 1500m final Commonwealth Games on Sunday.

Winning Scotland's 12th title of the games, Muir finished in four minutes 2.75 seconds, collecting her second medal in 24 hours.

Dr Muir commented on her win: "I just thought my strength is in my kick and I just tried to trust it and hope nobody would catch me. I ran as hard as I could to the line.

"It is so nice to come here and not just get one medal but two and in such a competitive field. Those girls are fast. It means a lot." 

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Views sought on NOAH Compendium

Users of the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) Compendium app and website are being asked to share their views on how it can be improved.

In a new survey, users are asked about some suggested future developments, such as notifications for new and updated datasheets, sharing links to datasheets, and enhanced search functionality.

It comes after NOAH ceased publication of the NOAH Compendium book as part of its sustainability and environmental commitments. The website and the app will now be the main routes to access datasheets and view any changes.