Researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill say that they have identified a SARS-like virus that can jump from bats to humans and there's no treatment if infected!
In 2003, jumping from various animal life forms to humans, SARS-CoV caused flu-like symptoms in 8,000 patients and nearly killed 800 victims. Since 2004, no new cases of SARS have been detected.
But now, a new form of the deadly pathogen, SHC014-CoV, has been discovered and treatments developed against the original form of the virus and those used to treat Ebola have proven ineffective.
This new form of the virus was found in Chinese horseshoe bats. In studies, researchers showed that the virus latches onto and uses the same receptors in humans and bats for entry into the host body. The virus also replicates in human lung cells, the ideal target for infection.
"Studies have predicted the existence of nearly 5,000 coronaviruses in bat populations, and some of these have the potential to emerge as human pathogens," Dr. Ralph Baric, a professor of epidemiology at UNC, said.
"So this is not a situation of 'if' there will be an outbreak of one of these coronaviruses but rather when - and how prepared we'll be to address it."