Photo gallery: Researchers in Cambodia probe COVID-19’s origins

Researchers from the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge in Phnom Penh have been working in northern Cambodia to collect samples from bats that a decade ago were found to have a virus similar to the one that causes COVID-19. An eight-member team has been capturing bats and logging their species, sex, age and other details to better understand the coronavirus and how it has evolved.
2021.09.24
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A researcher from the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC) takes an oral swab from a bat captured at Chhngauk Hill, Thala Borivat District, Steung Treng Province, Cambodia, in August 2021. (Reuters)
A researcher from the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC) takes an oral swab from a bat captured at Chhngauk Hill, Thala Borivat District, Steung Treng Province, Cambodia, in August 2021. (Reuters)

Researchers set up a mist net to capture bats near Chhngauk Hill. "We want to find out whether the virus is still there and ... to know how the virus has evolved," Dr. Veasna Duong, IPC’s head of virology, told Reuters. (Reuters)
Researchers set up a mist net to capture bats near Chhngauk Hill. "We want to find out whether the virus is still there and ... to know how the virus has evolved," Dr. Veasna Duong, IPC’s head of virology, told Reuters. (Reuters)

The entrance to a cave - and the home of the bats - at Chhngauk Hill. (Reuters)
The entrance to a cave - and the home of the bats - at Chhngauk Hill. (Reuters)

A researcher removes a bat trapped in a mist net. Host species, such as bats, can transmit viruses to humans while not being sick themselves. (Reuters)
A researcher removes a bat trapped in a mist net. Host species, such as bats, can transmit viruses to humans while not being sick themselves. (Reuters)

Captured bats in cloth bags are brought in for sampling. (Reuters)
Captured bats in cloth bags are brought in for sampling. (Reuters)

Researchers collect bat feces, which can hold clues to the coronavirus. (Reuters)
Researchers collect bat feces, which can hold clues to the coronavirus. (Reuters)

A blood sample is drawn from a captured bat. (Reuters)
A blood sample is drawn from a captured bat. (Reuters)

Researchers prepare to collect samples from the bats. (Reuters)
Researchers prepare to collect samples from the bats. (Reuters)

Thavry Hoem, a field study coordinator at the IPC, puts on personal protective equipment before collecting bats. "We hope that the result from this study can help the world to have a better understanding about COVID-19," she told Reuters. (Reuters)
Thavry Hoem, a field study coordinator at the IPC, puts on personal protective equipment before collecting bats. "We hope that the result from this study can help the world to have a better understanding about COVID-19," she told Reuters. (Reuters)

The Chhngauk Hill bat project also “aims to provide new knowledge on wild meat trade chains in Cambodia, document the diversity of betacoronaviruses circulating through these chains, and develop a flexible and integrated early-detection system," Julia Guillebaud, a research engineer at the IPC's virology unit, told Reuters. (Reuters)
The Chhngauk Hill bat project also “aims to provide new knowledge on wild meat trade chains in Cambodia, document the diversity of betacoronaviruses circulating through these chains, and develop a flexible and integrated early-detection system," Julia Guillebaud, a research engineer at the IPC's virology unit, told Reuters. (Reuters)

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