Coronaviruses have been identified in bats in China. However, there is no confirmation on the source of the COVID-19 outbreak.
World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that COVID-19 is a zoonotic virus, and bats appear to be the reservoir of the COVID-19. But, the intermediate host(s) of the virus has not yet been identified.
The handbook published by the Guangzhou government for prevention and treatment of pneumonia caused by the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) reveals that most of the patients infected by the coronavirus have reported that they had exposure to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, where wild animals were sold for consumption. The handbooks also state that SARS coronavirus, which infected people earlier in China, originated in bats. Since the coronavirus can transmit from animal to person, it is believed that the initial source of spreading might be either exposure to or consuming wild animals sold in the market that carried the virus (Refer Q.16). However, the exact source of this virus is still not known.
The new study by the University of California, Berkeley, published in the Nature Food newspaper on 31 May 2021, shows that human–livestock–wildlife interactions in China may form hotspots with the potential to expand SARS-related coronavirus transmission from animals to humans. Horseshoe bats are known to carry a range of coronaviruses, including genetically related strains to those that cause COVID-19 and SARS, the study added.
An article published by the medical journal 'The Lancet' on January 24, 2020, revealed uncertainty regarding the source of the 2019 coronavirus infection as no epidemiological evidence was found between the first patient and later cases (Refer Page No.4). It also added that scientists have observed that bats were the source of infection for SARS and MERS coronaviruses in 2013 (Refer Page No.8).
Although, further research is needed to determine the specific origin of SARS-associated coronavirus.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.