Caister Academic Press

Bats and Coronaviruses

Susanna K.P. Lau, Antonio C.P. Wong, Hayes K.H. Luk and Patrick C.Y. Woo
from: Bats and Viruses: Current Research and Future Trends (Edited by: Eugenia Corrales-Aguilar and Martin Schwemmle). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2020) Pages: 45-58.


Before the SARS epidemic, bats were not known to harbour any coronaviruses (CoVs). After the discovery of SARSr-CoV in horseshoe bats in 2005, more than 35 Alphacoronaviruses and Betacoronaviruses have been discovered and analysed from various bat species in both suborders Yinpterochiroptera and Yangochiroptera globally in the last 13 years. These discoveries have led to a revision of the classification of CoVs and marked improvement of our understanding of the phylogeny and evolution of CoVs. A number of bat CoVs, such as Tylonyteris bat coronavirus HKU4 and Pipistrellus bat coronavirus HKU5, were found to be closely related to MERS-CoV. Interspecies jumping events have been observed between bats and other mammals, such as Rhinolophus bat coronavirus HKU2 between Chinese horseshoe bat and pigs, resulting in outbreaks. New CoV discoveries provide a solid foundation and evolutionary model to study this family of viruses, which has been associated with two major outbreaks, SARS and MERS, in the first two decades of this millennium. In the next decade, with the help of ever-changing robust technologies, we will be able to further understand the mechanistic pathways of pathogenesis and develop antiviral agents and vaccines for CoV infections read more ...
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