• search
For Quick Alerts
ALLOW NOTIFICATIONS  
For Daily Alerts

Chinese scientists believe pangolins may have spread coronavirus

By PTI
|

Beijing, Feb 07: After snakes and bats, Chinese scientists now suspect pangolins may be an intermediate host of the novel coronavirus which is wreaking havoc all over China and the world.

As of Thursday, 636 people have died mostly in Hubei province and its provincial capital Wuhan due to the virus with the total number of confirmed cases jumping to 3,143, Chinese officials announced on Friday.

Chinese scientists believe pangolins may have spread coronavirus

The genome sequence of the novel coronavirus strain separated from pangolins was 99 per cent identical to that from infected people, indicating pangolins may be an intermediate host of the virus, according to a new study led by the South China Agricultural University.

Chinese doctor who first warned about coronavirus outbreak dies

According to Liu Yahong, president of the university, the research team analysed more than 1,000 metagenome samples of wild animals and found pangolins as the most likely intermediate host, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Friday. Molecular biological detection revealed that the positive rate of Betacoronavirus in pangolins was 70 per cent.

Researchers further isolated the virus and observed its structure with an electron microscope. They found that the genome sequence of the coronavirus strain was 99 per cent identical to those in infected people, the study said.

Results showed that pangolins are a potential intermediate host of the novel coronavirus, Liu said, adding that the study will support the prevention and control of the epidemic, as well as offer scientific reference for policies on wild animals.

After the coronavirus, China has temporarily banned trading exotic animals. Birds and animals are in the centre of the debate about how the virus originated. In the beginning, snakes were blamed for the virus.

Chinese health experts later contended that the virus originated from bats, but whether there are more intermediate carriers between bats and humans requires further investigation. The virus was believed to have been spread from Wuhan's Hunan seafood wholesale market.

Shen Yongyi, a professor with the university and a member of the research team, said previous research had found the new coronavirus originated in bats, but as the spread of the virus happened in winter, it was unlikely that people had been directly infected by bats which were hibernating.

Gargle salt water, use herbal eyedrops: False news on how to cure coronavirus goes viral on internet

"So our task is to find the intermediate host that 'bridges' bats and people," he said, adding that there are usually multiple intermediate hosts, and pangolins may be just one of them.

"On the one hand, we hope this result will warn people to stay away from wild animals. On the other, we would like to share it with research fellows in the hope of making efforts together to find other possible intermediate hosts to promote the epidemic prevention and control," he said.

For Daily Alerts
Get Instant News Updates
Enable
x
Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Done
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more