On January 23, 2020, Shi Zhengli’s team from the Wuhan Virus Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences published an article on the bioRxiv preplate platform, reporting that Wuhan’s new coronary virus nCoV-2019 may have originated from bats like SARS. In 2003, after the SARS outbreak, many acute respiratory syndrome-related coronaviruses were found in bats, their natural hosts. Previous studies have shown that some of these SARSr-CoVs have the potential to infect people.
In the article, Shi Zhengli’s team reported on the newly discovered coronavirus nCoV-2019 in Wuhan, which caused the outbreak of the epidemic. At the beginning, the whole genome of the virus was obtained from five patients, of which the genomes were essentially the same, and the sequence consistency of SARS-CoV was 79.5%. Importantly, nCoV-2019 has a sequence consistency of up to 96% with a coronavirus in a bat. By comparing its seven conservative non-structural proteins, it was found that nCoV-2019 belonged to SARSr-CoV, and that the receptors entering the cells of nCoV-2019 were ACE2, as were SARS-CoV.
Shi Zhengli research team for the new infectious disease prevention and control of the major needs, after many years of continuous research, with China’s bats carrying SARS-like coronavirus and other important viruses as the research object, comprehensive and systematic research on the molecular epidemiology, new virus detection and identification, cross-species transmission mechanism, etc. And made a major breakthrough, access to a number of original results. The most important contributions include the confirmation that bats are the natural host of SARS coronaviruses,
Provides several important evidence strains for SARS animal traceability, the first detection of strong virus Nipper virus and Ebola virus antibodies in bats in our country, the discovery of adenovirus, ring virus and other genetically diverse new bat virus, among which the representative research results on SARS virus traceability are published in Nature, Science and other top academic journals. The research pioneered the domestic systematic study of bat virus, which played a positive role in the development of research directions such as animal-derived new viral pathogens and new virus discovery, and the research team also became one of the most influential laboratories in the field of bat virus research in the world.