Pangolins have now been linked to the cause of the outbreak of the virus.
The first assumption that some scientists are now questioning bats to human transmission.
The illegal trafficking of pangolins may have something to do with this global pandemic.
The South China Agricultural University said that if ever this is confirmed, according to their website, “discovery will be of great significance for the prevention and control of the origin (of the new virus).”
The official news agency of China, Xinhua, reported that the coronavirus strain of the genome sequence of the pangolins and the novel coronavirus was 99% similar to the ones from those infected.
It said that the pangolins are the most likely intermediate host.
One veterinary medicine expert from the University of Cambridge said that the research may not be detailed yet, “The evidence for the potential involvement of pangolins in the outbreak has not been published, other than by a university press release. This is not scientific evidence.”
He added, “Simply reporting detection of viral RNA with sequence similarity of more than 99% is not sufficient. Could contamination from a highly infected environment have caused these results?”
It has been known that the most trafficked mammals in Asia are the pangolins. Their meat is considered a delicacy in certain countries like China, whereas the scales are used for traditional medicine like in Vietnam.
This outbreak was said to have started in the market of Wuhan, where love animals such as pangolins are sold. Other experts believe that the virus may have come from the bats and then was passed on to humans through other species.
Another professor expert, Jonathan Ball, of molecular virology of the University of Nottingham, said that it might be quite interesting though unclear, but this could also lead to something.
He said, “We would need to see all of the genetic data to get a feel for how related the human and pangolin viruses are, and also gain an understanding of how prevalent this virus is in pangolins and whether or not these were being sold in the Wuhan wet markets.”
The professor of veterinary medicine of the City University of Hongkong said that it might be a vast connection between pangolins and the new coronavirus in humans, “You can only draw more definitive conclusions if you compare prevalence (of the coronavirus) between different species based on representative samples, which these almost certainly are not.”
Dr. Ian Lipkins, an infectious disease expert, said that as long as wet markets sell different animal species, these kinds of viruses will pop up every several years.
If he would decide, he wants the wild animal markets to be closed.
This may bring a positive impact on diseases. However, it is not enough to ban the illegal wildlife trade.
The World Wildlife Fund made a statement regarding this outbreak: This health crisis must serve as a wake-up call for the need to end unsustainable use of endangered animals and their parts, as exotic pets, for food consumption, and their perceived medicinal value.
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