closest to SARS-CoV-2 is the strain of coronavirus RatG13. He was taken from the bat, captured during a special expedition in Yunnan province in 2013. As reported by Chinese researcher Shi Jinli, this sample has since been kept in the laboratory of the Institute of Virology of Wuhan, and now has discovered that he is genetically almost the twin of SARS-CoV-2.
“Izvestia” has asked Russian scientists and specialists who, as evidenced by this finding, why Shi Jinli decided to publish this data right now, and could RatG13 become a “source” of the current coronavirus.
Expert on coronaviruses, head of the laboratory of ecology of microorganisms of the University Mikhail shchelkanov explained that this publication is a logical step.
In his opinion, in a situation where the US government and satellite countries preparing to penalize China due pandemic, this behavior is understandable. Scientists from China show that they did not create, and was actively engaged in the monitoring of coronaviruses in the territory of their country.
As told the head of the laboratory of genome analysis, Institute of General genetics him. N. I. Vavilov of the RAS Svetlana Borinskaya, after the SARS epidemic in 2002, Shi Jinli were in search of coronavirus in the wild. Then she came across RаtG13. As it was genetically very distant from the first SARS, the researcher put a virus “on the shelf” by analyzing only a very small part of its genome.
Now, when the pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, and there are active searches of a source of the coronavirus, the researcher turned once again to his collection, which turned out to be related with pathogen genetic similarity at 96.2%.
experts of the world health organization confirmed “Izvestia” that all the currently available evidence suggests that the virus has a natural animal origin and is not designed.