‘Deep evolutionary history’ binds bats and coronaviruses

This fruit bat from northern Madagascar is from the species Rousettus madagascariensis, which carries a form of coronavirus. ©Olivà S. Noroalintseheno Lalarivoniaina

Bats and coronaviruses have been evolving together for millions of years, researchers have found, resulting different strains in different groups of bats around the world. “We found that there’s a deep evolutionary history between bats and coronaviruses,” says Steve Goodman, MacArthur Field Biologist at Chicago’s Field Museum and an author of a recent paper in Scientific Reports.

The study examined the genetic relationships between different strains of coronaviruses and the bats they live in. Researchers took samples from over 1,000 bats from 36 species in Africa and built a giant coronavirus family true. They found virus transmission between different bat species was rare.

Read more here from Science Daily, or read the study here.