Analysis of all available data by specialist biologists show clearly that the deadly virus was taken into the market by someone who was already infected with COVID-19. The researchers also expressed surprise that Sars-Cov-2, the virus responsible for the current crisis, was “already pre-adapted to human transmission”, a highly unusual feature. The new findings will only fuel suspicions that Beijing is desperately trying to cover-up the true source of the coronavirus outbreak, that has left 100,000s of people dead and led to a severe global economic crisis.
The study was carried out by Alina Chan and Ben Deverman from the Broad Institute, a research unit affiliated to Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as Shing Zhan, from the University of British Columbia.
The scientists are clear in their conclusions that the virus originated outside the Wuhan market.
They wrote: “The publicly available genetic data does not point to cross-species transmission of the virus at the market.”
The research team insisted that all routes for animal to human transmission should be examined, including suggestions that the virus originated from a laboratory.
They said: “The possibility that a non-genetically engineered precursor could have adapted to humans while being studied in a laboratory should be considered.”
The revelations will increase international pressure on China to come clean about the source of the outbreak.
Identifying where the virus originated from is vital to understanding the disease, developing vaccines and preventing fresh outbreaks.
Tory MP Bob Seely, who sits on the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Select Committee, told the Mail on Sunday: “We need to know where this virus began, why we were told at one time there was no human transmission, and what was the role of the Chinese Communist Party.”
This has led some observers to suggest that the clean-up teams were sent in to destroy incriminating evidence.
Guan Yi, a University of Hong Kong expert, said: “The crime scene was completely gone.
“How can we solve a case without evidence?”
The study’s authors said that they were surprised that the new coronavirus has remained stable, rather than mutating rapidly to adapt to humans.
They compared the behaviour of Sars-Cov-2 with the coronavirus that caused the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak.
The virus responsible for the 2002 epidemic underwent “‘multiple branches of evolution in both humans and animals”.
The researchers said: “In contrast, Sars-CoV-2 appeared without peer in late 2019, suggesting there was a single introduction of the human-adapted form of the virus into the human population.”
They stated that this anomaly was a “major cause for concern.”
The new study backs up claims made in a paper by Chinese scientists, published this month in Zoological Research journal, that inferred the virus was brought in to the market after examining samples from infected patients.