Scientists from China Agricultural University said Thursday there has been no evidence to indicate the civet cats are sources of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus.
The university's president Chen Zhangliang said researchers of the university collected 732 specimens of 65 kinds of animals from across China for the research, including civet cats, monkeys, bats and pigs.
Using the internationally-accepted gene detection method, called RT-PCR technology, they did not find SARS virus on any of the 732 specimens, said Chen.
However, they found three new coronaviruses on civet cats, hares and some other wild animals, which proved coronaviruses do exist on wild animals and they are capable of mutation, said Chen.
In May, scientists in south China's Guangdong Province said they have traced the origin of SARS virus to civet cats.
(Xinhua News Agency June 20, 2003)