Medical experts have previously speculated that the novel coronavirus had its origin in a seafood market in Wuhan. However, a new study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge has suggested that everything we knew about this deadly pandemic could be wrong.
Did coronavirus originate in Wuhan?
The new research report casts doubt on previous beliefs regarding the origin and timeline of COVID-19. As per the study report, the origin of coronavirus might not be in Wuhan, but it could have come from somewhere from further south, and this pathogen actually began spreading among humans as early as September 2019.
The study report which is yet to be peer-reviewed is now published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. During the research, experts analyzed strains of the virus using a phylogenetic network, an algorithm that is capable of mapping the global movement of this pathogen by looking into the mutation of genes.
Researchers who tried to locate the initial origin of coronavirus found that the first human case of coronavirus might have originated somewhere in southern China, and not in Wuhan where the first recorded case of COVID-19 happened.
"If I am pressed for an answer, I would say the original spread started more likely in southern China than in Wuhan. But proof can only come from analyzing more bats, possibly other potential host animals, and preserved tissue samples in Chinese hospitals stored between September and December. This kind of research project would help us understand how the transmission happened, and help us prevent similar instances in the future," said Peter Forster, a geneticist at the University of Cambridge, The Sun reports.
Coronavirus: Latest updates
The coronavirus has already killed more than 147,000 people worldwide, and the total number of infected patients has risen to 2.1 million.
The United States is one of the worst affected countries due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and as per the latest updates, more than 35,300 deaths have happened in the US. In the United States alone, there are now more than 677,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.