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China’s claims that the pandemic emerged from a wildlife market in Wuhan last December have been disputed by a historic scientific study.
The Mail on Sunday revealed that analysis of the coronavirus by specialist biologists suggests that all the available data show that it was put on the market by a person already suffering from the disease.
They say they were “surprised” to find that the virus was “already pre-adapted to human transmission”, comparing it to another coronavirus that evolved rapidly as it spread around the planet during a previous epidemic.
These claims come as Beijing thwarts global efforts to establish the source of the virus. The news will fuel concerns over the cover-up of the communist regime since the disease first appeared in central China last year.
The new research is clear in its conclusion. “Genetic data available to the public does not indicate cross-species transmission of the virus in the market,” said Alina Chan, molecular biologist, and Shing Zhan, evolutionary biologist.
Their article insists that all “zoonotic” pathways (from animals to humans) – in this case bats – must be examined. He said, “The possibility that a non-genetically modified precursor may have adapted to humans while being studied in the laboratory should be considered. “
The revelations add to the growing demand for an international investigation into the epidemic.
“We need to get to the bottom of a lot about Covid-19,” said Conservative MP Bob Seely, a member of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. “We need to know where this virus started, why we were told at some point that there was no human transmission and what the role of the Chinese Communist Party was. “
The virus supply is essential for understanding the disease, developing vaccines and stopping new outbreaks. But the problem became difficult after US President Donald Trump claimed that he came from a Wuhan laboratory working on bat-borne diseases and that China responded by accusing American soldiers during a sports competition.
Health officials in Beijing have insisted that the virus is almost certainly from an animal in the Huanan market in Wuhan.
They said it was “only a matter of time” before identifying the crossbreed species behind the transmission of bats to humans. The World Health Organization quickly backed up to his claims. “The evidence strongly suggests that the epidemic is associated with exposures at a seafood market in Wuhan,” he said.
Authorities closed the market the day after notification to WHO and dispatched teams of strong disinfectants. Animal samples were taken, but four months later the results were not shared with foreign scientists. The actions led to the assertion that they deliberately erased crucial traces.
“The crime scene was completely gone,” said Guan Yi, an expert from the University of Hong Kong. “How can we resolve a case without evidence? “
New study on Sars-CoV-2 – the coronavirus strain that causes the disease – examines genetic samples from patients as well as those taken during the outbreak of Sars 2002-04, a coronavirus transmitted from bats to humans by handling and consuming civet cats. The article is written by Chan and Ben Deverman, scientists from the Broad Institute, a research unit affiliated with Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Zhan, from the University of British Columbia.
He says they were surprised to find that the new coronavirus has remained so stable rather than adapting quickly to humans. It resembles the earlier virus, they say, in the later stages of the epidemic after it “has developed several adaptations that are beneficial for human transmission.” This was evident from a sample taken from a patient in Wuhan last December.
They point out “multiple branches of evolution in humans and animals in the 2002-04 epidemic”, adding: “In contrast, Sars-CoV-2 appeared unrivaled in late 2019, suggesting that it there had only been one introduction of the human-adapted form of the virus into the human population. ”
The team says there is no evidence if this means the virus has adapted well to humans in bats, exists in other animal populations, has spread undetected in humans. man for months during the transfer or could have fled from a laboratory. But they warn that the failure to detect any “evolutionary branch from a form less suited to humans” of this virus was “a source of major concern”.
Significantly, the study indicates that the genetic examination of four samples containing the seafood market virus to those taken from the Wuhan patient is “99.9%” identical. This suggests that it came from infected visitors or vendors, indicating that “Sars-CoV-2 had been imported into the market by humans”. The authors confirmed to the Mail on Sunday that they had found no evidence of “cross-species transmission” on the market.
They cite an article by Chinese scientists published this month in the journal Zoological Research which, after examining samples from infected patients, also deduced that the virus had been placed on the market.
The new studies are consistent with another work by Chinese scientists published in the Lancet, which found that only 27 of the first 41 confirmed cases were “exposed” to the market – and only one of the first four cases in the first two weeks of December.
Chan and Zhan said that although the stability of the virus is “good news” for vaccine and treatment developers, it was alarming not to know the source and the precursors, in case there were pools in the pool. nature from which similar diseases could emerge again. .
“The evidence suggests a single introduction of the human-adapted form of the virus into humans,” they said, adding that the strange lack of earlier forms or related viruses contrasted with the Sars epidemic. They refused to speculate on how the disease adapted to humans, although they share the scientific consensus that there was no “human interference” in its creation.
Their study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, will increase concern over the hiding of Beijing after it silenced doctors, delayed admission to human transmission and prevented outside teams from experts to investigate.
This month, it emerged that a Frenchman was a confirmed case four days before China notified WHO of a new “pneumonia-like” disease.
China has always denied an accidental leak from one of Wuhan’s two laboratories working with bats. Last week, however, officials ordered to tighten security in all laboratories working with viruses. The Mail on Sunday revealed two weeks ago that the head of the biosecurity team at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had warned of insufficient security.
China Center for Disease Control and Prevention still says on its website, “The virus was successfully isolated from positive environmental samples, suggesting that the virus came from wild animals sold in the fruit market sea of southern China. “
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