Chinese researchers investigating the animal’s origin of the deadly corona virus in China said on Friday that the endangered pangolin could be the “missing link” between bats and humans, but other scientists said the research could not end .
The SARS outbreak in 2002–2003, involving a different strain of the Coronavirus, was transmitted to humans by Civet, a small mammal that was revered in China because of its body.
Does Coronavirus is transmitted by Pangolin?
Many animals are able to transmit the virus to other species, and almost all coronavirus strains are infectious to humans emerging in wildlife.
Bats are the carrier of the latest strain of the disease, which has infected at least 31,000 people and killed more than 630 worldwide, most of them in China where the outbreak originated.
A recent genetic analysis showed that the strain of virus currently circulating in humans was similar to that of 96 percent in bats.
But according to Arnaud Fontanet of the Pasteur Institute in France, the risk of being infected by bats was not directly related to humans.
“We believe that there is another animal in the middle,” he told AFP.
Numerous studies have shown that bat-borne viruses lack the equipment to bind to human cell receptors. But it is still unclear which animal is the missing link.
Fontanet believes that the medium “may have been a breast”, possibly from the Bjork family.
After testing more than 1,000 samples of wildlife, scientists at the Southern China Agricultural University found the genome sequence of the virus in Pangolin similar to 99% of coronavirus patients, according to Xinhua.
But other experts have urged caution.
“This is not scientific evidence,” said James Wood, head of the Veterinary Department at Cambridge University. “The investigation of animal tanks is very important, but then the results must be published for the international investigation.”
He said: “It is not enough to report viral RNA with a 99% sequence similarity.
To determine the culprit, researchers will need to test all species that were on sale on the market – which is almost impossible since it is now permanently closed.
Martin Peters, a virologist at the Research and Development Institute (IRD) in France, recently worked on the team that identified the host animal for Ebola during the epidemic.
He discovered that it was in fact the bats that passed the virus to humans, and Peters admits that this time will likely happen.
What are Pangolins?
Although many of them think of them as reptiles, pangolins are actually mammals. They are the only mammals that are completely covered with scales and use those scales to protect themselves from predators in the wild. If threatened, the pangolin will swing straight into a tight ball and use its sharp tail to defend itself.
Pangolin eats ants, termites, and larvae and is often referred to as “restless ants.” Since she has no teeth, pangolin picks up food with its sticky tongues, which can sometimes reach longer lengths of the animal’s body.
It is definitely one of the most circulating mammals in Asia and the fastest in Africa. The demand for pangolin is increasing in countries like China and Vietnam. Their body is fragile, and gasoline scales are used in traditional medicine and folk remedies. All eight types of bengolin are protected by national and international laws. However, illegal international trade in China is still increasing.
How did Pangolin Spread Coronavirus In China?
Researchers in the Chinese city of Guangzhou suggest that pangolin – a long-edged mammal commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine – is a potential animal source for the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 30,000 people And has caused chaos around the world.
Pangolin is a protected animal, but illegal trade is widespread, and some species are highly threatened. Sold controversially for meat and scales, it is used in traditional Chinese medicine, where animal organs are used to treat diseases such as dermatitis, menstrual disorders and arthritis. . Chinese law states that people selling pangolins can face 10 years or more in prison.
The Coronavirus appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, and is believed to have jumped into the seafood and wildlife market for humans, where many of the previously infected people work. Pangolins were not included in the list of items sold in the market – although the illegality of commercial pangolins may explain this exemption.
Last month, scientists in Beijing claimed that snakes were the source of nCoV-2019, but this theory was rejected by other researchers.