May 17, 2020 | 8:51am | Updated May 17, 2020 | 10:05am
Wuhan residents receive nucleic acid tests
A study found the coronavirus was taken to an animal market in Wuhan, China, by a person already infected with the disease, according to a report.
“The publicly available genetic data does not point to cross-species transmission of the virus at the market,” said Alina Chan, a molecular biologist, and Shing Zhan, an evolutionary biologist, the Mail on Sunday reported.
In their paper, the two said they were “surprised” to discover the coronavirus was “already pre-adapted to human transmission.”
But they said all routes for animal to human transmission – including from bats – must be examined.
“The possibility that a non-genetically engineered precursor could have adapted to humans while being studied in a laboratory should be considered,” the paper said.
It was written by Chan and Ben Deverman, scientists at the Broad Institute, a research facility affiliated with Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Zhan, from the University of British Columbia.
The development adds to the growing criticism that the Chinese ruling Communist Party downplayed the severity of the outbreak and failed to report accurate numbers of the virus in the country.
“We need to get to the bottom of many things in relation to COVID-19,” said Bob Seely, a member of the British Parliament. “We need to know where this virus began, why we were told at one time there was no human transmission, and what was the role of the Chinese Communist Party.”
President Trump, who has blasted Beijing for a lack of transparency in its response to the pandemic, has claimed the coronavirus began in a Wuhan lab.
The US intelligence community, which has concluded that the virus was not “man made or genetically modified,” is investigating where the outbreak first occurred.