AP photos: Thai scientists catch rods to find out the origin of the virus
By SAKCHAI LALIT
KANCHANABURI, Thailand (AP) – Researchers in Thailand have been running though rural to catch sticks in their caves in an attempt to find the dark origin of the coronavirus.
Initial research has already shown bats as the source of the virus that has affected more than 20.5 million people and caused the deaths of over 748,000 people worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The closest match to the coronavirus has been found in the horse rod in Yunnan, southern China.
Thailand has 19 species of horseshoe bats, but researchers said they have not yet been tested for the new coronavirus.
Thai researchers climbed a hill in Sai Yok National Park in the western province of Kanchanaburi to set nets to block about 200 bats from three different caves.
The team from the developing Thai Red Cross Infectious Diseases Science Center took samples of saliva, blood and feces from bats before releasing them. They worked overnight and the next day, taking samples not only from horse bats, but also from other species of bats they caught in order to better understand animal-borne pathogens.
The team was led by Supaporn Wacharapluesadee, deputy head of the center, who has been studying bats and related diseases for more than 20 years. He was part of the group that helped Thailand confirm the first COVID-19 case outside China in January.
She believes they are likely to find the same virus that causes COVID-19 in Thai bats.
“The pandemic is limitless,” she said. “The disease can travel naked. “It can go anywhere.”