Identification of a Novel Coronavirus in Bats
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Exotic wildlife can act as reservoirs of diseases that are endemic in the area or can be the source of new emerging diseases through interspecies transmission. The recent emergence of severe acute respiratory syn- drome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) highlights the importance of virus surveillance in wild animals. Here, we report the identification of a novel bat coronavirus through surveillance of coronaviruses in wildlife. Analyses of the RNA sequence from the ORF1b and S-gene regions indicated that the virus is a group 1 coronavirus. The virus was detected in fecal and respiratory samples from three bat species (Miniopterus spp.). In particular, 63% (12 of 19) of fecal samples from Miniopterus pusillus were positive for the virus. These findings suggest that this virus might be commonly circulating in M. pusillus in Hong Kong.