Chinese scientists claim coronavirus originated in India in summer 2019 amid heatwave

Published: November 29,2020 09:39 AM

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November 29, 2020: Amidst World Health Organisation (WHO) team all geared up to investigate the origin of the Covid-19 virus, Chinese researchers have claimed that coronavirus originated in India,

November 29, 2020: Amidst World Health Organisation (WHO) team all geared up to investigate the origin of the Covid-19 virus, Chinese researchers have claimed that coronavirus originated in India, in the latest attempt by academics to pin blame for the pandemic outside their borders.

A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences argues the virus likely originated in India in summer 2019 - jumping from animals to humans via contaminated water - before travelling unnoticed to Wuhan, where it was first detected.

In an official statement, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian told a media briefing that, even though China was the first to report coronavirus, doesn’t necessarily mean China is where the virus originated.

He added, 'So we believe the origin process is a complex scientific issue which requires joint efforts on COVID-19 cooperation from the scientific community worldwide.'

The new development has come at a time when China is battling global adversity over the coronavirus and bracing for a WHO inquiry over its origin. However the question is not whether it 'appeared' in Wuhan, but whether it 'originated' in Wuhan.

But David Robertson, and expert from Glasgow University, called the paper 'very flawed' and concluded 'it adds nothing to our understanding of coronavirus'.

It is not the first time that Chinese authorities have pointed the finger of blame elsewhere - suggesting, largely without evidence, that both Italy and the US could be the site of the original infection.

And it comes against a backdrop of increased political tensions between India and China, with troops attacking each-other along a disputed border.

The WHO team, which had its first meeting on October 30, is tasked with answering that question using 10 international specialists from the United States, Japan and other countries, working with counterparts in China.

The host for the virus is widely believed to be an animal from which the pathogen hopped to a human; finding the animal source could help science understand how it got into humans and prevent a repeat.

The theory that it emanated from a wet market in the Wuhan city from bats or pangolins before infecting humans, need to be scientifically proved.

On the other hand, US have been alleging that the virus emerged from a secretive bio-lab in Wuhan. The US President Donald Trump launched a tirade against China over Covid-19 terming it as 'China virus'.

Donald Trump denounced the WHO alleging that it is virtually controlled by China and has halted its funding. It has also formally notified the UN that US would withdraw itself from the global health body.

However, for China its a relief that President Donald Trump is on his way out. US President-elect Joe Biden has promised to rejoin it.