New Delhi: China has been trying for long to shift the blame for the outbreak of novel coronavirus. First it was Europe, and now Chinese researchers have claimed that the deadly virus originated in India, WION reported.
A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have argued that the virus likely originated in India in the summer of 2019, jumping from animals to humans via contaminated water. They added that it then travelled unnoticed to Wuhan, where it was first detected.
Chinese authorities have earlier blamed Italy, the US and Europe though largely without evidence.
This new blame comes against a backdrop of increased political tensions between India and China.
In their paper, the Chinese team used phylogenetic analysis to trace the origins of COVID-19.
Viruses, like all cells, mutate as they reproduce, meaning tiny changes occur in their DNA each time they replicate themselves.
The scientists argued that their method of investigation rules out the virus found in Wuhan as the “original” virus, and instead points to eight other countries: Bangladesh, the USA, Greece, Australia, India, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia or Serbia.
The researchers go on to argue that because India and Bangladesh both recorded samples with low mutations and are geographic neighbours, it is likely that the first transmission occurred there.
Their unproven theory stated, “The water shortage made wild animals such as monkeys engage in the deadly fight over water among each other and would have surely increased the chance of human-wild animal interactions. We speculated that the (animal to human) transmission of SARS-CoV-2 might be associated with this unusual heat wave.
“India’s poor healthcare system and young population allowed the virus to spread undetected for several months,” it added.
Despite the bizarre claims, coronavirus is believed to have first emerged in China in December 2019.