Wuhan virologist claimed more bat coronaviruses have potential of crossing over

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on December 06, 2020

According to a renowned Chinese researcher, bats present in the south and south-west China have other coronaviruses that have the potential to cross over to humans, The Guardian reported.

Dr Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology said these viruses, including Sars-CoV-2’s family, were likely to be circulating in nature outside China as well. “We should not only search for them in China but also in South Asian countries,” said Shi, who is also known as “Bat Woman” for her research on bat coronaviruses.

The virologist believes that instead of politicising the epidemics, world leaders should focus on how to counter them. Shi aggressively denied that the Covid-19 was originated from her lab in Wuhan. Shi made the comments while addressing a webinar organized by the French medical and veterinary academies.

The virologist further added that all countries, including China, should be scrutinized to trace back Covid-19’s origin.

She further said if pangolins were the intermediate host, as claimed by some, then it’s possible the virus jumped from bats to pangolins outside China – since all pangolins that reach China are smuggled in from other Asian nations, including India. “We think these viruses have a high risk of interspecies transmission to humans,” Shi said.

Shi called for greater examination of two points in the chain whereby a disease of non-human animal origin becomes a human one.

Published on December 06, 2020

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