South China Agricultural University has recently identified the potential link between humans and the novel coronavirus which has infected tens of thousands and has killed hundreds that originated in a live animal market in Wuhan, China.
According to the researchers, the Pangolin, a scaly mammal, may be the possible intermediate host that links the virus to humans. Although the deadly virus was believed to have been originated in bats, the researches suggested that there may be an intermediate host before it transferred to humans.
In a report by Xinhua news, after doing tests from 1,000 samples taken from wild animals, the University's scientists found genome sequences of the virus that are 99% identical between coronavirus patients and pangolins.
Considered as the most trafficked mammal on the planet, there have more that one million pangolins that have been snatched from the forests of Africa and Asia in the past ten years s reported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
These mammals are then shipped to China and Vietnam where their scales are being used for traditional medicine, and their meat is brought to the black market despite having no medical benefits at all.
However, scientists from SCAU have not released additional information on the claims. Thus according to James Wood, veterinary professor of the University of Cambridge, the reports saying that there is a similarity between the genome sequences are insufficient.
Furthermore,Wood added that the results could have been contaminated by the environment; thus, more data on the research is needed.
In addition, a professor of molecular biology from the University of Nottingham, Jonathan Bell added that in order to prove how related the pangolin and human viruses are, all genetic data done on the research are needed to be released.
While the epidemic is still not under control, China has put a temporary ban on its wildlife trade. In 2003, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak had also been traced back to wild animals and reached human via civets, although it was believed to have originated in bats as well.
On the other hand, a false news about China's Supreme People's Court being expected to approve mass killings of more than 20,000 victims in order to eradicate the virus fully, has been circulating on the internet.
The hoax news website claiming to be City News reported that the state has filed to the court that the country is already on the verge of losing health workers to coronavirus due to daily contact of at least 20 health workers to infected patients. Moreover, they added that keeping the patients in the hospitals are only delaying their deaths and may still infect other patients and health professionals.
Amid the deadly spread of the dreaded virus, the people are also advised to make sure that the spread of unrealistic and fake news regarding the 2019-nCoV should be avoided as such news cause misunderstanding and conflict. Thus, people are advised to make sure to check the integrity of the news before sharing to prevent panic and distress.