In what seems to be an absolutely brand-new theory, Chinese researchers are now claiming that COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel Coronavirus, may not have emanated from a wet market in the city of Wuhan selling live animals.
The official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, People's Daily said on Wednesday that newly found evidence suggests "multiple origins of the transmission of the virus." As per the Chinese scientists, they dismissed the reports which claim that the SARS-CoV-2 originated in the Wuhan seafood market before paralyzing the whole world.
New Theory by Chinese Researchers
As per the newspaper, the Chinese scientists have found a novel Coronavirus clade which is different from that shared among infected people connected to the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan. The Shanghai-based study claims that this new finding provides fresh evidence that the market may not be the origin of the COVID-19 that caused the pandemic and killed 355,900.
The scientists noted that they have collected viral genome samples from 326 patients in Shanghai between January 20 and February 25. After analyzing all these samples, they identified two major clades, both of which included cases diagnosed in early December 2019.
They found that genomes of six Coronavirus patients with contact history related to the Huanan market fell into one kind of clade, while those of three other patients diagnosed in the same period, but they had no history of exposure to the market clustered into the other clade. As per the scientists, this suggested multiple origins of transmission in Shanghai.
Global Times reported that there has been no direct evidence that the cross-species novel Coronavirus transmission originally occurred in the Huanan market, even though it was a probable place for human-to-human transmission of the deadly virus due to its relatively high crowd density, said a researcher of the team.
The scientist added that "It still needs scientists' continuous effort in determining the intermediate host of coronavirus, and carrying out comprehensive and detailed virus-tracing studies." The new study included researchers from Shanghai''s scientific research and medical institutions including the Ruijin Hospital affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre, and the Shanghai Institute of Haematology.
Origin of Novel Coronavirus
Earlier, Chinese study into the origin of the COVID-19 had suggested that the virus had its origin in the famous Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, while the US, especially its President Donald Trump, was not convinced by the claims of China.
Along with the U.S., several European countries asked for a thorough probe to ascertain the origin of the virus. Several scientists, including Nobel-winning French professor Luc Montagnier and well-known Russian Professor Peter Chumakov, speculated that the virus could be leaked from a Chinese bio-lab.
Trump Demanded Investigation
Besides Trump, who demanded an investigation into the origin of the virus and whether it escaped from the controversial Wuhan Institute of Virology, Britain, Australia, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also called for more transparency from Beijing on COVID-19 origins.
The seafood market was previously claimed to be the origin of the SARS-CoV-2, but now, scientists indicate that it may not be the case. Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and member of the National Committee of the 13th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference told media on Monday, May 25 that the controversial market is more of a victim rather than the origin of the novel Coronavirus. He also mentioned that he went to Wuhan to collect samples for the virus research in January 2020. But as per him, no viruses were found in the animal samples.