Animals suspected in spread of new virus

Oct 01, 2012, 1:24 PM EDT

LONDON (AP) — Britain's Health Protection Agency says an early genetic sequence of the new respiratory virus related to SARS shows it is most closely related to bat viruses.

Global health officials say they haven't found evidence the virus can spread between people and suspect the two victims from the Middle East may have caught it from animals.

So far, there are no signs the virus will be as deadly as SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which killed hundreds of people, mostly in Asia, in a 2003 global outbreak

Experts say camels, sheep or goats — animals commonly found in the region — may be implicated too. Bats also harbor other deadly viruses, like Ebola and SARS, which usually infect other animals including monkeys and civet cats before jumping to humans.