Published time: 29 January 2020
Authors: Xiaoman Weia, Xiang Lia, Jie Cuia
Keywords: Coronavirus, Covid-19, Pneumonia cases
Coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), are highly transmissible pathogens, and they can be lethal in humans. Bats are believed to be the original sources of these lethal pathogens. In December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia cases was reported in Wuhan and a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been linked to the causative agent. Early studies indicated that the new virus was genetically similar to a bat betacoronavirus, providing evidence for bat origin of the third human-infecting coronavirus in less than 20 years. We here highlight the potential for viral spillover from animals to humans and discuss evolutionary mechanisms leading to the outbreaks.
Evolutionary Perspectives on Novel Coronaviruses Identified in Pneumonia Cases in China