The Endangered Species Pangolin Might Be Spreading Coronavirus

Pangolins could be spreading the coronavirus according to new study On Friday, Chinese scientists revealed that they think the endangered pangolin is spreading the coronavirus across China. Scientists believe...

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Pangolins could be spreading the coronavirus according to new study

On Friday, Chinese scientists revealed that they think the endangered pangolin is spreading the coronavirus across China. Scientists believe the coronavirus was passed from animal to humans at the Wuhan market late last year.

So far the coronavirus has infected more than 31,000 and has led to more than 630 fatalities. South China Agricultural University researchers identify the pangolin as a “potential intermediate host” with researchers initially linking the virus to bats.

Scientists have tested 1,000 wild animal samples and they found that the genome sequences of viruses on pangolins to be a 99 percent match to the coronavirus patients. Veterinary medicine professor at the University of Cambridge, James Wood, says reporting the similarity between the genome sequences is not sufficient evidence as the results could have been caused by “contamination from a highly infected environment.”

The pangolin is one of the highest-trafficked animals in the world, mainly in Asia, used for food and traditional medicine (though there are no proven medical benefits). Though they try to tighten regulation for pangolin protection, China ordered a temporary ban on the trade of wild animals in January in response to the epidemic.

The global head of wildlife research at World Animal Protection, Neil D’Cruze, supports a permanent ban on wildlife trade to prevent further deadly disease outbreaks. From 2002 to 2003 the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus had a huge outbreak in Hong Kong and China, later being traced to wild animals including bats and infected humans through civets.

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