The origins of the deadly coronavirus may be different than initially thought, after scientists accused a governmental research laboratory in China as the true source of the disease, according to Daily Mail. The accusations pose new implications and culpability for the epidemic, which has already claimed the lives of 1,669 people and infected 69,000 others while it spreads across the globe.
It had originally been thought that the contagion originated at a fish market known as Huanan Seafood Market in the city of Wuhan. Investigators later discovered that the popular shopping center was found to have been selling contraband animals, such as bats and wolves, in addition to its namesake seafood. Many scientists believed that the virus had jumped from one such exotic animal, with the most popular hypothesis blaming bats.
However, researchers claimed in a shocking new report from the Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology that the more likely culprit was a governmental laboratory located just 300 yards from the fish market.
In the paper, scientists alleged that the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (WHCDC) kept hundreds of disease-ridden bats in the lab and had been conducting experiments on the animals. The paper also claimed that researchers had possibly been infected by the bats, with one employee described as having “blood of bat…on his skin” after one of the animals attacked him.
The paper also cited the fact that the type of bat believed to have originally sourced the virus was not native to Wuhan’s Hubei province, and instead lived over 600 miles away. However, it was the species that was used in the WHCDC.
“Genome sequences from patients were 96% or 89% identical to the Bat CoV ZC45 coronavirus originally found in Rhinolophus affinis (intermediate horseshoe bat),” the document claimed.
The paper had more details that incriminated the governmental lab.
“The WHCDC was also adjacent to the Union Hospital… where the first group of doctors were infected during this epidemic. It is plausible that the virus leaked around and some of them contaminated the initial patients in this epidemic, though solid proofs are needed in future study,” it continued.
Scientists behind the paper also pointed to the presence of ticks in the lab as a possible method for the virus to have originally spread from animal to human, in addition to the testimony from the Wuhan population suggesting that bats were rarely consumed as food.
However, though the new paper offers insight into the possible source of the epidemic, it does little to provide solutions as the virus rages on. As reported by The Inquisitr, the CDC warned that the disease will likely remain an “issue for the rest of the year,” as the death toll and number of infected patients continue to rise.