Zhang Zhigang’ team at Yunnan’s National Key Laboratory for the Conservation and Utilization of Biological Resources reported that Malay pangolins may be potential natural hosts of viruses similar to the new coronavirus. On February 2 this year, a team led by Researcher Zhang Zhigang reassembled and conducted a comprehensive analysis of viral data from a successful pangolin lung sample on March 24, 2019 and found that it carried a coronavirus similar to the new coronavirus, named Pangolin-CoV.
The genomic similarity of this virus to the bat coronavirus reported by the new coronavirus and the team of Shi Zhengli of Wuhan virus is 91.02% and 90.55%, respectively. The study found that the kinship between pangolin coronavirus and the new coronavirus is second only to bat coronavirus, but the pangolin coronavirus is highly consistent with the S1 functional sequence of the new coronavirus, involving the five key amino acid residues of human ACE2 receptors, and the bat coronavirus has four mutations, indicating that pangolin coronavirus has similar host cell recognition ability to the new coronavirus. The study also found that at s1/S2 enzyme cut sites, the new coronavirus contained a Similar Furin protein identification sequence for MERS coronaviruses, while pangolin coronaviruses, bat coronaviruses, and SARS coronaviruses all missed the function’s base sequence, indicating that the new coronavirus has a similar host cell intrusion mechanism to MERS coronaviruses.