The Wuhan Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market has largely been accepted as ground zero for the Covid 19 pandemic. Photo / AP
A team of Chinese scientists claim to have proof the Covid-19 pandemic didn’t originate in China; instead, researchers have pointed the blame at another country.
Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences released a research paper claiming the first coronavirus cases actually appeared in India before then travelling to Wuhan.
The paper claims the source of the virus could have been from humans and wild animals sharing the same water source because of a large heatwave across India and Pakistan in 2019.
“The water shortage made wild animals such as monkeys engage in the deadly fight over water among each other and would have surely increased the chance of human-wild animal interactions.”
However, other experts have thrown doubt on these claims, calling the paper “biased” and “very flawed”.
The group used phylogenetic analysis in an attempt to trace down the origin of the virus through different mutations, arguing that the strain with the fewest mutations would be the original.
With this in mind, the researchers argued the first cases couldn’t have possibly occurred in Wuhan, instead pointing the finger at India and Bangladesh because virus strains with low mutations were recorded in those areas.
The scientists went on to claim the source of the virus could have been from humans and wild animals sharing the same water source.
“From May to June 2019, the second-longest recorded heat wave had rampaged in northern-central India and Pakistan, which created a serious water crisis in this region,” the paper reads.
“The water shortage made wild animals such as monkeys engage in the deadly fight over water among each other and would have surely increased the chance of human-wild animal interactions.
“We speculated that the [animal to human] transmission of Sars-CoV-2 might be associated with this unusual heat wave.”
This isn’t the first time Chinese officials have tried to deflect the blame of where the virus began, previously pointing at the US and Italy as having the first Covid-19 cases.
Not everyone is convinced by the new research paper.
Professor David Robertson, head of viral genomics and bioinformatics at the University of Glasgow, called the paper “very flawed”.
“The author’s approach of identifying the “least mutated” virus sequences is inherently biased,” he told the Daily Mail.
“The authors have also ignored the extensive epidemiological data available that shows clear emergence in China and that the virus spread from there.
“This paper adds nothing to our understanding of Sars-CoV-2.”