Massive lockdowns have taken place, the economy of the world is suffering, companies are falling, lives are being lost, and the whole world knows from where the leak occurred. But as the saying goes, “One who steals never admits”.
In the recent comeback, amid covid-19 pandemic and India-China border tensions, China has accused India of an early corona outbreak.
A new study from Chinese Researchers is claiming that the COVID-19 virus originated in the summer of 2019 in “north-central India and Pakistan” instead of the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first case of COVID-19 was reported in December last year.
What did the Chinese Paper speculate?
The paper speculated that India’s poor healthcare infrastructure and the young population didn’t suffer severe symptoms that led to the undetected spread of the virus for months and were spread through other countries in Europe before it came to China. “In this regard, the COVID-19 pandemic is inevitable and the Wuhan epidemic is only a part of it,” it concluded.
India and China have been at loggerheads since a violent border clash broke out in June killing 20 Indian troops and an unconfirmed number on the Chinese side. Since then, the security forces have been deployed eye to eye at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences argues the virus likely originated in India in the summer of 2019 — jumping from animals to humans via contaminated water.
In their paper, the Chinese team use 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 argue their method of the 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.
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. (Unproven, also much of the scientific data being used to buttress it are faulty, perhaps even fabricated).
Experts aren’t impressed with the paper authored by Libing Shen from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) – Institute of Neuroscience, Funan He from Fudan University – School of Life Sciences and Zhao Zhang from the University of Texas at Houston – Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
David Robertson, and an expert from Glasgow University, told Daily Mail that the paper was “very flawed” and that “it adds nothing to our understanding of coronavirus.”
“The author’s approach of identifying the “least mutated” virus sequences is inherently biased. The authors have also ignored the extensive epidemiological data available that shows clear emergence in China and that the virus spread from there. This paper adds nothing to our understanding of SARS-CoV-2,” Robertson added.
This isn’t the first time China has tried to pin the blame on other countries. Earlier, China released genome sequencing data from samples taken in Beijing, which officials there said identified a European strain based on preliminary studies, reported Reuters.
China had received a global backlash for its mishandling of the Covid-19 which has now lead to a global pandemic. When Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison proposed an independent survey on the source of the new coronavirus, many countries including India supported the proposal which was accepted by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Last month, senior Chinese diplomat Chen Wen told the BBC that demands for an investigation into the source of the outbreak were politically motivated and that such a move would only divert attention and resources away from fighting the virus.