A Chinese team of scientists discovered eight viruses on a tropical island, and they are concerned that they could transmit to people.
The researchers collected 700 samples from rats on the Chinese island of Hainan as part of their research to prepare the globe for another pandemic.
During their investigation, they discovered eight new viruses, one of which belonged to the same viral family as the coronavirus.
The pathogens have a “high probability” of infecting people should they ever cross the species barrier, according to the experts, who have called for further experiments to learn how they could affect humanity.
Virologica Sinica, the journal in which the findings were published, is linked to the state-affiliated China Association of Science and Technology.
This organisation is supervised by Beijing’s Ministry of Civil Affairs. The journal’s editor, Dr Shi Zhengli, is an influential scientist who works at the suspected epicentre of the coronovirus, the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The MailOnline claims that the study collected 682 swabs from the anus and throat of a variety of rodents trapped on the island over a four-year period between 2017 and 2021.
The samples were then transferred to labs for analysis, which revealed a slew of hitherto unseen viruses. One of these is a brand-new coronavirus known as CoV-HMU-1.
However, the coronavirus was not the sole source of concern. Other diseases discovered were two novel pestiviruses related to yellow fever and dengue.
There was one astovirus, which causes diseases like stomach bugs, two parvoviruses, which cause flu, and two papillomaviruses, which cause genital warts and cancer.
The researchers hypothesised that there are likely many more undiscovered viruses lurking in less-traveled regions of the earth.