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Coronaviruses are well known to undergo genetic recombination (375), which may lead to new genotypes and outbreaks.
The presence of a large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China, is a time bomb.
The possibility of the reemergence of SARS and other novel viruses from animals or laboratories and therefore the need for preparedness should not be ignored.
Undisclosed quantities of the virus are being held in a high-security government laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia, after a nine-year effort to rebuild the agent that swept the globe in record time and claimed the lives of an estimated 50 million people.
The genetic sequence is also being made available to scientists online, a move which some fear adds a further risk of the virus being created in other labs.