An ongoing Cambridge study suggests that the new COVID-19 might have started somewhere else than in Wuhan. On top of that, the study claims that it might have begun months earlier.
A team of researchers led by a Cambridge University geneticist mapped a “network” of coronavirus genomes. They determined that the first COVID-19 infection could have come as early as September. They noted that humans could have carried the pathogen well before it became lethal.
The novel virus may have first passed to humans somewhere in Southern China. This is rumoured to have happened before the great outbreak in the city of Wuhan.
This discovery contradicts the previous theories tied to the outbreak.
The virus may have mutated into its final ‘human-efficient’ form months ago, but stayed inside a bat or other animal or even human for several months without infecting other individuals,” geneticist Peter Forster told the South China Morning Post.
Even if theories say that bats transmitted the virus to other animals, a good candidate is the pangolin, this new study may overturn the prevailing ideas. However, the researchers can’t make any more conclusions until they analyse more bats and potential host animals. They will also take in tissue sample from early patients.
There are a lot of theories concerning the origins of the pandemic. From people eating bats to a maximum-security virology lab in Wuhan that leaked the virus in early December, people began speculating. However, President Donald Trump did not yet endorse the latter, he said that the White House is currently looking into the idea. He also blamed Beijing for the global health crisis.
The President accused the country of China of a cover-up. Trump also insisted that the World Health Organisation helped Chinese officials with concealing information.
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The study will continue to gather information until an exact origin is found. For now, the fact that the COVID-19 virus might have started earlier than December is a good starting point.