Flying Fox: The Animal Origin of SARS-CoV

David Cyranoski (1 December, 2017)1 reported in Nature (news) that ”Bat cave solves mystery of deadly SARS virus — and suggests new outbreak could occur”, based on a paper (30 November, 2017)2 of some Chinese scientists in PLoS Pathogens. However, I don’t agree with their conclusion that Yunnan bat is the culprit of SARS-CoV duo to their many doubtful points, logic errors and disregarding some existing evidences.

The animal origin of SARS-CoV is a cosmopolitan difficult question. Its solution must meet all suspicion, evidences and logic simultaneously. A wrong scientific conclusion can lead to terrible behavior, for example, leading the masked palm civets (Paguma larvata) to be massacred during 2002-2003 in China, as the culprit of SARS.

For this reason, I make important comments and clarifications on their above conclusions and provide an alternative way of thinking for the academic community to discuss.

Here I show: (1) the animal origin of SARS-CoV might be a flying fox, whose crucial genes of SARS virus - for a protein that allows the virus to latch onto and infect cells — had been activated by an underground uranium mine in the Panxi Rift 1,000 km away from Guangdong; (2) unless so complex process above is repeated, another SARS-CoV event will not erupt again within Guangdong; (3) SARS was a much extremely accidental event. Finally, I restore the entire process of SARSCoV event, using all the evidence chain and whole logic, from the point of view of system theory, based on the correlation between biology and geology. That might provide an impetus to similar investigation elsewhere.


Tianxi Sun

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