Scientific Evidence Hints at Pangolins being the Intermediate Host of the Wuhan Virus

According to a report by Yang Zhang, Chengxin Zang, and Wei Zheng at The Conversation, pangolins may be the missing connection for the transmission of the Wuhan virus from bats to humans.

It was conventionally believed that snakes were the missing link.

Since the outbreak of the Wuhan Virus at Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China back in late 2019, it has gone on to infect more than one million people across the planet.

To better comprehend and control the spread of the Wuhan Virus, scientists are frantically studying the strain of the Wuhan Virus causing the disease — SARS-CoV-2. This strain was previously named 2019-nCoV.

SARS-CoV-2 is zoonotic. In other words, the virus originated in animals and spread to humans. One of the challenges has been to determine which animal was responsible for transmitting the virus to humans.

According to the researchers who penned the article they “.believe that pangolins, as opposed to snakes, may have served as the hosts that transmitted the coronavirus to people and caused the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pangolin, also known as a scaly anteater, is the only known mammal with scales and is found in Asia and Africa.”

Their lab research has brought them to the aforementioned conclusion.

Since January 2020, the current consensus present in the scientific community is that SARS-CoV-2 originally came from horseshoe bats. However, the writers noted that it is “unlikely that bats directly gave the virus to humans based on what’s known about transmission of earlier zoonotic coronaviruses.”

Instead, scientists then changed their assumption of the bat coronavirus infecting another animal, an “intermediate host”, which then transmitted the virus to humans.

The scientists noted the contrast between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2:

For example, SARS-CoV, which is the coronavirus that caused the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) pandemic in 2003, is a close relative of SARS-CoV-2. It was also found to have been transmitted from bats to an intermediate host – the masked palm civet – which subsequently infected humans.

They also mentioned how MERS-CoV, the coronavirus responsible for causing Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012, went from bats to another intermediate host, the dromedary camel, before humans were infected.

In this case, the scientist conducted a follow-up study that proved a connection of SARS-CoV-2 to pangolins:

Our follow-up study also found that the genetic sequence of a coronavirus, discovered in lung samples of Malayan pangolins, was highly similar to SARS-CoV-2. The two viruses shared 91 percent of their genetic sequence.

The bat coronavirus, which was the ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, has 19 amino acids on the spike protein that are different from SARS-CoV-2; the pangolin coronavirus only has five amino acids that are different from SARS-CoV-2.

Meanwhile, several other research groups have found further experimental evidence of pangolins being infected by coronaviruses highly similar to SARS-CoV-2.

Although pangolins are suspected to be the intermediate hosts for this virus, the scientists did argue that “other potential intermediate hosts should still be considered.”

They noted other animals that could possibly be intermediate hosts:

A coronavirus can use more than one kind of animal to infect humans: for example, while civets are best known for transmitting SARS, other animals such as raccoon dogs and ferret badgers are also able to carry SARS.

Similarly, cats and ferrets can also be infected by SARS-CoV-2; it is still unknown whether humans can get infected by the coronavirus residing within these animals.

Objective science on the Wuhan virus is desperately needed in a time when hysteria so high.

The quicker the scientific process is depoliticized, the easier it will be for us to get to the bottom of what caused this virus and how it spread so quickly.

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