Mar 30, 2020 08:34 UTC
  • US scientists refute Wuhan as origin of novel coronavirus

The novel coronavirus did not originate from a seafood market in central China's Wuhan City, according to American health experts.

According to Press TV, since the outbreak of the epidemic, the origin of the novel coronavirus has been widely discussed online, and conspiracy theories around it have also emerged endlessly.

Previous scientific studies have already suggested that virus which causes COVID-19 originated through natural processes.

In a recent interview with ABC news, Dr. Robert Garry, a professor at the Tulane University School of Medicine, once again pointed out that it's a misconception to believe the virus originated at a seafood market in Wuhan, China.

"Our analyses, and others too, point to an earlier origin than that," Garry said, "There were definitely cases there, but that wasn't the origin of the virus."

According to Garry, the pandemic may be triggered by the mutation in surface proteins of the virus. But it's also possible that a less severe version of the illness was circulating through the population for years, perhaps even decades, before escalating to this point.

"This is a good explanation as to why this virus is so transmittable and has caused this pandemic," he said.

Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. In a study published on Nature Medicine, a group of scientists, including Dr. Robert Garry, analyzed two specific features of spike proteins of the virus, which are responsible for griping and entering into the host cells.

The results show that the virus' spike protein is optimized for binding to a molecular on the outside of human cells, so efficient that scientists concluded it was the result of natural selection and not a purposefully manipulated virus.

Besides, if someone were trying to make a new virus, they have to engineer it from the backbone -- molecular structure of a virus which is known to cause diseases in human, scientists said.

But what they found is that the novel coronavirus backbone is not derived from any previously used virus backbone. The most closely resembled backbones were discovered in bats and pangolins.