News Archive

What Is the Origin of the Coronavirus?

April 16, 2020

This video was produced by science communicator Brian Malow (@sciencecomedian) in partnership with Sigma Xi.  

In an interview with virologist Barbara Sherry on April 8, 2020, Malow asked about the origin of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, as well as the previous related coronaviruses, SARS and MERS. All three viruses seem to have originated in bats, then transferred to humans, but via an intermediate animal in the cases of SARS (a civet cat) and MERS (a camel). For the new SARS-CoV-2 virus, it is not yet known whether there was an intermediate host.

Barbara Sherry is a professor of virology and the head of the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

This video is part of a series intended to present up-to-date, research-based information and answers to questions we all have about the current COVID-19 outbreak.