COVID-19 likely came from humans, Chinese scientist claims

China was castigated for not allowing international investigators seeking probes to trace the origins of COVID-19

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Cells of the COVID-19 virus can be seen in this representational image. — Poixabay/File
Cells of the COVID-19 virus can be seen in this representational image. — Poixabay/File

A Chinese scientist has claimed that humans may have been a source of COVID-19 virus origination, CNN reported.

Tong Yigang of the Beijing University of Chemical Technology said that the genetic sequences of viral samples taken from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan – thought to be the ground zero site of the pandemic – were "almost identical" to those of patients infected with the coronavirus, suggesting that COVID-19 may have originated from humans.

While speaking at the press conference Tong, said more than 1,300 environmental and frozen animal samples had been taken at the market between January 2020 and March 2020, and researchers had isolated three strains of virus from the environmental samples.

He was of the view that "there was not yet sufficient evidence to back up recent studies that had suggested racoon dogs were the origin of the COVID-19 virus."

The presser was held by the Chinese State Council regarding the research on the origins of COVID-19.

Zhou Lei who is a researcher at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged the world to collaborate in the scientific study to trace the origins of the virus, saying "The site where COVID-19 was first discovered was not necessarily where it originated."

China was castigated for not allowing international investigators seeking probes to trace the origins of COVID-19.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week said that "it still did not have key data from China about the beginnings of the outbreak, a lack of disclosure the head of its program on emerging diseases said was simply inexcusable."

On the contrary, China rejects all the claims and reiterated that it has been transparent and cooperative with the WHO and the other investigators.

The topic concerning the origins of COVID-19 took centre stage when an assessment last month by the US Department of Energy stated that the virus was most likely the result of an accident in a laboratory and spread all across the globe.

However, the US agency also marked it as a "low confidence" determination.

Rejecting the theory of the lab leak, Zhou, on Saturday said it is "extremely unlikely" that the virus originated from a Chinese lab as a result of an accident.