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Metagenomic identification of a new sarbecovirus from horseshoe bats in Europe

Crook, JM; Murphy, I; Carter, DP; Pullan, ST; Carroll, M; Vipond, R; Cunningham, AA; (2021) Metagenomic identification of a new sarbecovirus from horseshoe bats in Europe. Scientific Reports , 11 , Article 14723. 10.1038/s41598-021-94011-z. Green open access

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Abstract

The source of the COVID-19 pandemic is unknown, but the natural host of the progenitor sarbecovirus is thought to be Asian horseshoe (rhinolophid) bats. We identified and sequenced a novel sarbecovirus (RhGB01) from a British horseshoe bat, at the western extreme of the rhinolophid range. Our results extend both the geographic and species ranges of sarbecoviruses and suggest their presence throughout the horseshoe bat distribution. Within the spike protein receptor binding domain, but excluding the receptor binding motif, RhGB01 has a 77% (SARS-CoV-2) and 81% (SARS-CoV) amino acid homology. While apparently lacking hACE2 binding ability, and hence unlikely to be zoonotic without mutation, RhGB01 presents opportunity for SARS-CoV-2 and other sarbecovirus homologous recombination. Our findings highlight that the natural distribution of sarbecoviruses and opportunities for recombination through intermediate host co-infection are underestimated. Preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to bats is critical with the current global mass vaccination campaign against this virus.

Type: Article
Title: Metagenomic identification of a new sarbecovirus from horseshoe bats in Europe
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-94011-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-94011-z
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Betacoronavirus, Chiroptera, Europe, Genome, Viral, Metagenomics, Phylogeny, SARS Virus, SARS-CoV-2, Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10135962
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