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Explained: Why it is wrong to blame snakes for spreading the new China virus


Beijing, Jan 25: As China battles deadly Coronavirus that has killed 41 people in the country, several Chinese scientists opined virus has passed from bats to snakes then humans.

According to the researchers, including Wei Ji from Peking University Health Science Centre in China, patients who became infected with the coronavirus -- named 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization (WHO) -- were exposed to wildlife animals at a wholesale market, where seafood, poultry, snake, bats, and farm animals were sold.

Explained: Why it is wrong to blame snakes for spreading the new China virus

However, contradictory to the statements, other scientists say there is no proof that viruses such as those behind the outbreak can infect species other than mammals and birds.

"Nothing supports snakes being involved," David Robertson, a virologist at the University of Glasgow, UK. Was quoted saying by Nature.com.

"They have no evidence snakes can be infected by this new coronavirus and serve as a host for it," says Paulo Eduardo Brandão, a virologist at the University of São Paulo said adding that "there's no consistent evidence of coronaviruses in hosts other than mammals and Aves (birds)."

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    Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has decided not to declare the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a global emergency, despite the spread of the dangerous respiratory infection from China to at least five other countries.

    Some experts believe the virus is not as dangerous as previous coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

    Eleven people, who returned from China have been kept under observation in India. They showed mild symptoms of the new coronavirus that has killed 41 people in the country, infected nearly 1,300 there and has spread across Asia as well as the US and Europe.

    Seven people in Kerala, two in Mumbai and one each in Bengaluru and Hyderabad have been kept in isolation.

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