Stock footage of pangolins – a scaly mammal that looks like an anteater – have made it on to news bulletins, suggesting this animal was the staging post for the virus before it spread to humans. On the hypothesis that the virus emerged at the Wuhan live animal market from an interaction between an animal and a human, Turner says: “I don’t think it’s conclusive by any means.” “Part of the problem is that the information is only as good as the surveillance,” he says, adding that viruses of this type are circulating all the time in the animal kingdom.Another study claimed to have ruled out pangolins as an intermediary altogether, because samples of similar viruses taken from pangolins lacked a chain of amino acids seen in the virus now circulating in humans. “Once acquired, these adaptations would enable the pandemic to take off and produce a sufficiently large cluster of cases to trigger the surveillance system that detected it,” the study said. So-called wet markets – where live animals are traded – have been implicated in previous outbreaks of coronaviruses, in particular Sars.
Share / Partager