China couldn’t blame the coronavirus on Europe – so it changed its story to these 2 countries - SolidRumor.com

China couldn’t blame the coronavirus on Europe – so it changed its story to these 2 countries

 China couldn’t blame the coronavirus on Europe – so it changed its story to these 2 countries

Chinese researchers have published a new coronavirus study that shifts the blame for COVID-19 from Wuhan to India or Bangladesh.
Earlier this year, China attempted to blame the US and Europe for the emergence of the virus.
China has not been transparent about the Wuhan epidemic’s origins and has stalled a WHO investigation that could explain how the virus first jumped to humans.

The novel coronavirus has been infecting humans for at least a year, but its origin story is still a mystery. China has been anything but transparent since the start of the pandemic, choosing to censor the people reporting on a “new pneumonia” in late 2019. It then delayed action that could have reduced the severity of the original Wuhan outbreak. The country saw criticism for the delay in confirming the virus’s human-to-human transmission, which might have further hindered the international response. While it’s true that China then acted swiftly to cordon off the Wuhan region, the virus still escaped to other regions and the world was soon engulfed in the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu. By the time the virus reached Europe and the US, the SARS-CoV-2 had already mutated into the current strain that dominates the world. According to recent reports, this mutation fueled the pandemic as the European and American outbreaks in March and April did not resemble China’s strain from Wuhan — China’s infection and death figures for Wuhan were also disputed at the time.

China has not released any conclusions about the origin of COVID-19 but has come to terms with the World Health Organization (WHO) on an international investigation. There’s hope that the investigation will yield results and allow scientists to track down the animal or animals in which the virus evolved. But according to the deal’s terms, China won’t allow the international team to conduct any fieldwork in Wuhan.

Beyond that, China has now published a paper that points to different countries as the novel coronavirus’s potential origins. That’s not a new approach for China, which recently tried to shift blame to the US and Europe.

BGR’s Hottest Deal of the Day

Cyber Monday deal: Save on FDA-authorized Powecom KN95 masks proven by NIOSH to work better than 3M N95 masks List Price:$23.50 Price:$22.31 You Save:$1.19 (5%) Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now

As President Trump was blaming China for being the source of the pandemic earlier this year — going as far as to repeat unsubstantiated claims that the virus might have been developed in a lab — China responded in kind, suggesting that Americans actually first brought the illness to China.

Later, it used studies that indicated the virus might have appeared in early 2019 in Spain in sewage water to suggest the virus came from Europe. A few weeks ago, Italian scientists said they discovered coronavirus antibodies in blood samples taken in October 2019. Some scientists questioned the study, but China picked that report up and linked it with its own research that showed the novel coronavirus could survive on frozen food packaging imported from other countries.

Such a theory would make sense, but fomite transmission doesn’t play as big a role as droplets and aerosols. If that were the case, the country of origin would have always developed its massive outbreak long before Wuhan. Also, there’s genetic evidence that shows the Wuhan strain mutated in China into the D614G version of the virus that swept Europe and America in March and April. Even if the coronavirus would have been imported from a different country — something that’s yet to be proven — China’s actions after the Wuhan outbreak stopped the virus from spawning more outbreaks in mainland China but allowed it to escape the country.

The newest coronavirus origin source story comes in the form of a paper published in pre-print form on SSRN.com, the preprint platform of The Lancet. Titled, The Early Cryptic Transmission and Evolution of Sars-Cov-2 in Human Hosts, the unreviewed paper also analyzes genetic evidence to suggest that the coronavirus might have reached Wuhan from one of China’s neighboring countries.

The preprint paper has since been pulled and can no longer be found online.

These scientists claim that the traditional approach to tracing coronavirus strains’ origin did not work, as it used a bat virus from Yunnan, China, discovered a few years ago. Scientists used this sample to compare it to the human virus but found that the bat virus was not the ancestor. The researchers used a new method that involves counting the number of mutations in each viral strain. The more mutations a virus has, the longer it has been around. The fewer the mutations, the closer it is to the original ancestor.

They concluded that coronavirus’s least mutated strain was found in eight countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Greece, the US, Russia, Italy, and the Czech Republic. Out of those, India and Bangladesh seem to be the likeliest candidates that brought the virus to China.

“Our result shows that Wuhan is not the place where human-to-human SARS-CoV-2 transmission first happened,” the researchers said. “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.”

They have a theory that the extended drought last summer combined with the “less efficient” healthcare system allowed the virus to infect humans. “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 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.”

BGR’s Hottest Deal of the Day

Cyber Monday deal: Save on FDA-authorized Powecom KN95 masks proven by NIOSH to work better than 3M N95 masks List Price:$23.50 Price:$22.31 You Save:$1.19 (5%) Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now

Indian scientists have already challenged the study, per The Financial Express, with Mukesh Thakur saying the conclusions were a “misrepresentation.” China and India have been engaged in a cold war of sorts against the backdrop of the pandemic.

UCLA professor in human genetics and biostatistics Marc Suchard said that the “arbitrary collection” of viral strains used was “unlikely to yield the progenitor.” He said the method “holds great promise” but “comes with considerable uncertainty.”

The paper has not been reviewed, and the China-WHO investigation hasn’t even begun. But China’s official position is that the virus could have emerged from elsewhere.

“So we believe the origin process is a complex scientific issue which requires joint efforts on COVID-19 cooperation from the scientific community worldwide,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters. “Only by doing so, we can guard against future risks because origin tracing is an evolving and sustained process that involves many countries and regions.” Per First Post, he said that China was the first to report coronavirus infections, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the virus originated from China.

Regardless of where the virus may have emerged from and how many animals it might have infected before gaining the ability to infect humans, China can’t change the fact that its initial response to SARS-CoV-2 seems to have originated from the same playbook, albeit it used an improved play. The first SARS patient was diagnosed on 16 November 2002 in China. The country informed the WHO of the illness only in February 2003.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he’s not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.