Where Did SARS-CoV-2 Come From?Mol Biol Evol. 2020 09 01; 37(9):2463-2464.MB
Identifying the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the etiological agent of the current COVID-19 pandemic, may help us to avoid future epidemics of coronavirus and other zoonoses. Several theories about the zoonotic origin of SARS-CoV-2 have recently been proposed. Although Betacoronavirus found in Rhinolophus bats from China have been broadly implicated, their genetic dissimilarity to SARS-CoV-2 is so high that they are highly unlikely to be its direct ancestors. Thus, an intermediary host is suspected to link bat to human coronaviruses. Based on genomic CpG dinucleotide patterns in different coronaviruses from different hosts, it was suggested that SARS-CoV-2 might have evolved in a canid gastrointestinal tract prior to transmission to humans. However, similar CpG patterns are now reported in coronaviruses from other hosts, including bats themselves and pangolins. Therefore, reduced genomic CpG alone is not a highly predictive biomarker, suggesting a need for additional biomarkers to reveal intermediate hosts or tissues. The hunt for the zoonotic origin of SARS-CoV-2 continues.