31 Oct 2013

Source of SARS found

5:04 pm on 31 October 2013

An international team of scientists have confirmed the SARS virus which killed 774 people in 2002 and 2003, originated in horseshoe bats from China.

SARS killed nearly 10% of the people it infected during the pandemic, mainly in China and Hong Kong.

Spokesperson for the team Gary Cameri, says bats are an ancient animal, that diverged from other mammals 80 million years ago and that could explain why they carry a high number of pathogens, that they themselves are unaffected by.

However, when a virus carried by the bat moves to other mammals, like humans, the results can be devastating.

Mr Crameri said the focus had been on finding the virus's origin and other similar viruses, rather than a vaccine.