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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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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.