Bats became carriers of novel coronavirus COVID-19, an outbreak of which occurred in Wuhan, China. However, scientists believe that there was an intermediate carrier.
Chinese scientists have discovered a coronavirus similar to COVID-19 in mammalian pangolins. The animals were smuggled into China and could spread the virus to humans.
Researchers believe that bats may have spread the virus in the city. However, it is in the body of pangolins that the virus has developed to the form that is now spreading around the world.
Placental mammalian pangolins serve as a delicacy, and their carapace is used in medicine. Chinese authorities have identified 18 illegally imported pangolin carcasses. Most of them were found to have a coronavirus that is 85.5–92.4% similar to a human one.
An outbreak of a new infection occurred in late December 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Then dozens of people became infected with an unknown form of pneumonia. It was later found that the cause of the sharp incidence was a new type of coronavirus 2019-nCoV. As of March 29, the number of infected people in the world has reached 668 thousand, more than 31 thousand people have died.
Earlier, scientists at the University of Hong Kong found that at room temperature, the coronavirus can live for seven days. An infectious virus cannot withstand high temperatures, meaning that if it is treated at 56°C for 30 minutes or at 70°C for 5 minutes, the coronavirus dies.