AFTER continually denying US allegations that the coronavirus originated in a bio-lab in its first epicentre Wuhan, Chinese researchers have debunked the widely reported view that the deadly virus emanated from a wet market in the city selling live animals.
A leading Chinese virologist, whose mysterious disappearance sparked speculation about the novel coronavirus emanating from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), was for the first time interviewed on Tuesday on China’s state television where she warned that such viruses are just the “tip of the iceberg” and expressed regret over science being “politicised.”
Shi Zhengli, known as the ‘Bat Woman’ for her passionate research about bats and the viruses associated with them, had early this month refuted ‘rumours’ of her defection to the West on her Chinese social media WeChat account. She also posted nine photos of her recent life.
Instead, the live animal market may have been the site of a superspreader event, where one person spread the virus to many other people, one US-based expert told Live Science.
Since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, reports have suggested that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) jumped from animals to humans in Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Now, experts at the WIV have said publicly that the theory was wrong, and that the virus must have originated elsewhere instead.
“I haven’t seen anything that makes me feel, as a researcher who studies zoonotic disease, that this market is a likely option,” said Colin Carlson, a professor at Georgetown University who studies the spread of such zoonotic viruses, which transmit between animals and humans. Carlson does NOT work for the WIV…
Authorities in Wuhan, the central China city where the coronavirus was first detected at the end of last year, have reaffirmed the central government’s ban on the consumption and trade of wild animals.