The novel coronavirus belongs to a group of viruses that begin in bats, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) official.
Peter Ben Embarek, a WHO expert in animal diseases that jump to humans, said the virus probably arrived in humans through contact with animals while raising food, though it’s unclear which specie.
It’s still unclear what animal may have transmitted it to humans.
Cats and ferrets are susceptible to the virus, and dogs to a lesser extent, and it’s important to find which animals can get it to avoid creating a “reservoir” in another species, said Ben Embarek.
The first human cases were detected in and around Wuhan, China and most people had contact with the animal market, though not all.
Scientists who have studied the issue maintain that the virus originated in an animal, and probably entered the human population in November.