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Wuhan market may not be the origin of COVID-19: Chinese scientists

Beijing: In an apparent about-turn, Chinese scientists have claimed that the Wuhan seafood market may not be the origin of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

The scientists said they have discovered a novel coronavirus clade that is different from that shared among patients connected to the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, reported.

On the new theory of the virus origin, the paper says, “Scientists collected viral genome samples from 326 patients in Shanghai between January 20 and February 25. They identified two major clades, both of which included cases diagnosed in early December 2019. The scientists noticed that genomes of six patients with contact history related to the Huanan seafood market fell into one kind of clade while those of three other patients diagnosed in the same period but without exposure to the market clustered into the other clade, suggesting multiple origins of transmission in Shanghai.”

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases around the world had reached nearly 5.5 million as of May 26.

The US and several European countries have been asking for a thorough probe to find the origin of the virus, which has devastated the world. Several scientists speculated that the virus could be leaked from a Chinese bio-lab.

The Huanan seafood market was previously deemed to be the origin of the novel coronavirus, but now research indicates that the speculation may not be right.

Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said he had gone to Wuhan to collect samples for Covid-19 researchers in early January, but no viruses were detected in the animal samples.

Viruses were only found in environmental samples, including sewage, wrote the People’s Daily.

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