Refuting the claims of Wuhan being the ground for the COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese scientists have now pointed fingers towards India and Bangladesh as being the cradle of the pandemic. The disputed claims have been made in the research paper titled 'The Early Cryptic Transmission and Evolution of Sars-Cov-2 in Human Hosts.'

The first case of coronavirus was reported from Wuhan in December last year. Since then, the virus has infected over 61 million people worldwide and killed more than 1.4 million people.

SARS-CoV-2
Novel Coronavirus (Representational Picture) Pixabay

Research Based on Study of Strains of Virus From 17 Countries

In a paper published by the scientists at the Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences it was claimed that virus existed on the Indian subcontinent before the Wuhan outbreak in December last year.

The paper, published on SSRN, includes data of research conducted into strains of the virus provided by 17 different countries.

According to The Sun, the research, led by Dr Shen Libing, has claimed that the traditional approach to tracing the origin of coronavirus strains did not work as it used a bat virus discovered in Yunnan, southwest China several years ago. 'Scientists use this as an ancestral reference to examine the evolutionary history of the bug but the bat virus is not the human virus' ancestor, the paper stated.

SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Occurred in India Months Before Wuhan Outbreak

Claiming that the strains with the most mutations have been around for a longer time, the paper said that least mutated strain of the virus was found in eight countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Greece, the US, Russia, Italy and the Czech Republic.

The outlet reported that while citing India and Bangladesh as the possible sites of the first outbreak, the scientists observed that India's young population, extreme weather and drought created the necessary conditions for the virus to jump to humans.

"Our result shows that Wuhan is not the place where human-to-human SARS-CoV-2 transmission first happened, the researchers said adding, "Both the least mutated strain's geographic information and the strain diversity suggest that the Indian subcontinent might be the place where the earliest human-to-human SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurred, which was three or four months prior to the Wuhan outbreak."