There have been accusations that the coronavirus began with bats (and attempted racist insinuations about mainland China’s eating habits), but scientists may now know either the source or at least the “potential intermediary host” as they call it: the pangolin.
The endangered pangolin may be the link that facilitated the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) across China, Chinese scientists said on Friday.
After testing more than 1,000 samples from wild animals, scientists from the university found the genome sequences of viruses found on pangolins to be 99 per cent identical to those on coronavirus patients, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.
The pangolin is considered the most trafficked animal on the planet and over one million have been snatched from Asian and African forests in the past decade, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
They are destined for markets in China and Vietnam, where their scales are used in traditional medicine – despite having no medical benefits – and their meat is bought on the black market.
The country which eats bear paws and bear bile soup is eating pangolins. And using pangolins in “traditional medicine” which helped decimate rhino populations. How is it “traditional” if the animal isn’t a native species?
If this is the answer, that’s a good thing. But as we have a knack for doing, we created our own problems. Again.