Many human coronaviruses have ancestral host origins in species of bat. However, all instances I am aware of identified other animals as intermediary vectors:

  • SARS-CoV: Human ← Palm Civet / Raccoon ← Bat
  • MERS-CoV: Human ← Dromedary Camel ← Bat
  • HCoV-229E: Human ← Alpaca ← Bat

Are there any known cases of direct bat to human transmission of coronavirus?

Source: Bats and Coronaviruses, Viruses (2019)

  • $\begingroup$ Have you ever thought of "identified other animals as intermediary vector" as a kind of necessity? An intermediary vector is a necessary, searched for missing link for the very fact that bat virus strains just do not infect human cells (recent research in Cambodia found bat virus strains with even better affinity to target receptor ACE2 - it is not at all clear if those species were able to infect a human cell. "I guess not!") $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 18:49

1 Answer 1


It is possible, but unconfirmed, that the first incidents of SARS-CoV were directly infected by bats, and that palm civits were infected parallelly:

The new study demonstrates that Chinese horseshoe bats harbor a pair of SARS like viruses that are very closely related to the strain that caused the 2003-2004 pandemic and that these strains have the capacity to directly infect human cells and civet cat cells as well as bat cells. These findings suggest that bats may have directly infected humans and that civet cats may have been incidentally infected.


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