• Question: Is the coronavirus disease zoonotic?

    Asked by kevandjatang to Roisin on 22 Apr 2020.
    • Photo: Roisin Jones

      Roisin Jones answered on 22 Apr 2020:

      Hi kevandjatan, thanks for the question! While we don’t yet know exactly where the SARS-CoV-2 virus from, the most likely answer is that it is a zoonotic virus. Related coronaviruses that we already know about have come from animals, for example the ones which caused SARS (2002) and MERS (2012) were caused by transmission from civet cats and dromedary camels respectively. SARS-CoV-2 hasn’t specifically been identified in any animal yet, but belongs to a group of related coronaviruses like SARS-CoV (which causes SARS) that are found in bats, so it’s most likely that bats were the original source of SARS-CoV-2 and that it was passed on to humans through a second, unknown animal. The World Health Organisation has said that while the source of the Covid-19 outbreak isn’t known for certain yet, all the available evidence suggests that it originated naturally in animals and was not deliberately constructed in a lab.