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Many bat species are not potential hosts of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2: Evidence from ACE2 receptor usage

By Huan Yan, Hengwu Jiao, Qianyun Liu, Zhen Zhang, Xin Wang, Ming Guo, Bing-Jun Wang, Ke Lan, Yu Chen, Huabin Zhao

Posted 08 Sep 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.09.08.284737

Bats are the suggested natural hosts for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and SARS-CoV-2, the latter of which caused the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The interaction of viral Spike proteins with their host receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a critical determinant of potential hosts and cross-species transmission. Here we use virus-host receptor binding and infection assays to show that ACE2 orthologs from 24, 21, and 16 of 46 phylogenetically diverse bat species – including those in close and distant contact with humans – do not support entry of SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2, and both of these coronaviruses, respectively. Furthermore, we used genetic and functional analyses to identify genetic changes in bat ACE2 receptors associated with viral entry restrictions. Our study demonstrates that many – if not most – bat species are not potential hosts of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, and provides important insights into pandemic control and wildlife conservation. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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