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Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 Sep;15(9):1377-84. doi: 10.3201/eid1509.090224.

Distant relatives of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and close relatives of human coronavirus 229E in bats, Ghana.

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Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany.


We tested 12 bat species in Ghana for coronavirus (CoV) RNA. The virus prevalence in insectivorous bats (n = 123) was 9.76%. CoV was not detected in 212 fecal samples from Eidolon helvum fruit bats. Leaf-nosed bats pertaining to Hipposideros ruber by morphology had group 1 and group 2 CoVs. Virus concentrations were < or =45,000 copies/100 mg of bat feces. The diversified group 1 CoV shared a common ancestor with the human common cold virus hCoV-229E but not with hCoV-NL63, disputing hypotheses of common human descent. The most recent common ancestor of hCoV-229E and GhanaBt-CoVGrp1 existed in approximately 1686-1800 ad. The GhanaBt-CoVGrp2 shared an old ancestor (approximately 2,400 years) with the severe acute respiratory syndrome-like group of CoV.

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