Vastavam web: Chinese researchers have claimed that coronavirus originated in India, in the latest attempt by academics to pin blame for the pandemic outside their borders. A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences argues the virus likely originated in India in summer 2019 – jumping from animals to humans via contaminated water – before travelling unnoticed to Wuhan, where it was first detected. It is not the first time that Chinese authorities have pointed the finger of blame elsewhere – suggesting, largely without evidence, that both Italy and the US could be the site of the original infection.
The WHO is currently looking for the source of coronavirus in China, while the body of scientific evidence suggests the disease originated there. In their paper, the Chinese team use phylogenetic analysis a study of how a virus mutates to attempt to trace the origins of Covid-19. The scientists argue that it should therefore be possible to track down the original version of the virus by finding the sample with the fewest mutations. Researchers go on to argue that because India and Bangladesh both recorded samples with low mutations and are geographic neighbours, it is likely that the first transmission occurred there.
By estimating the amount of time it takes for the virus to mutate once, and comparing that to the samples taken there, they also theorise that the virus first emerged there in July or August 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.