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Animal Link to SARS Explored
Research teams in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China have also
reported that wild animals taken from a local market in southern China tested
positive for several coronaviruses that are genetically very similar to the
previously unknown coronavirus that causes SARS.
One of the animals also tested positive for antibodies to the
SARS virus. These exotic animals are considered delicacies in the region and
are sold for human consumption.
The WHO says this study is the first evidence that the SARS
virus may exist outside humans, but it does not prove that the virus was
transmitted from animals to humans. Officials say much more study is needed to
determine if animals may play a role in SARS transmission.