The novel coronavirus has already killed more than 1,53,000 people worldwide, and the total number of infected people has climbed to 2.2 million. Earlier, experts have speculated that this deadly virus had originated in a Wuhan seafood market. But now, a new study has suggested that scientists have gone completely wrong in tracking the origin of COVID-19.
Where did coronavirus originate?
This new study, carried out by experts at the University of Cambridge revealed that coronavirus could have been originated in northern China, and not in Wuhan. Experts also suggested that coronavirus actually began spreading among humans as early as September 2019.
In order to track the origin of coronavirus, scientists analyzed the strains of the virus using a phylogenetic network. It should be noted that this phylogenetic network is basically an algorithm that studies the mutation of genes, which will in turn help to map the global movement of this pathogen.
Researchers found that the first human case of coronavirus might have originated somewhere in southern China. Experts also ruled out the possibility that the initial infection happened in the Wuhan seafood market.
"If I am pressed for an answer, I would say the original spread started more likely in southern China than in Wuhan. But proof can only come from analyzing more bats, possibly other potential host animals, and preserved tissue samples in Chinese hospitals stored between September and December. This kind of research project would help us understand how the transmission happened, and help us prevent similar instances in the future," said Peter Forster, a geneticist at the University of Cambridge, The Sun reports.
New breakthrough in coronavirus research
A few days back, another research report had revealed that COVID-19 patients may be contagious with the pathogen three days before they start showing symptoms. The study report also revealed that the new finding could have major implications while formulating treatment protocol to curb the spread of coronavirus.