Last week, I reported that China was blaming Italy as the original source of the Wuhan Coronavirus.

Apparently, the level of skepticism was high on that assertion. So now, Chinese officials are pointing to India as the source of the novel virus.

A recent pre-print study, titled the Early Cryptic Transmission and Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in Human Hosts, that was about to be published in top medical journal The Lancet, suggested that the Indian subcontinent might be the place where the earliest human-to-human novel coronavirus transmission occurred, three or four months prior to the outbreak in Wuhan.

The study was conducted by researchers with the Institute of Neuroscience under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Shanghai-based Fudan University and the University of Texas at Houston.

“Wuhan is the place where first infection cases were formally recorded, but it does not prove that the coronavirus originated from Wuhan,” Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Commenting on the latest studies done by a research group from CAS, Zeng noted that it provides the public with another perspective regarding the virus origin, but it is too early to draw a conclusion.

The imagination of both Chinese officials and the scientists that support the state narrative is truly astonishing. According to the new Chinese theory of the virus’ origins, India’s climate and healthcare system are to blame.

From May to June 2019, the second-longest recorded heat-wave had rampaged in northern-central India and Pakistan, which created a serious water crisis in this region. The water shortage made wild animals, such as monkeys, engage in the deadly fight deadly fight over water among each other and would have surely increased the chance of human-wild animal interactions.

Blaming a ‘less efficient’ healthcare system and ‘imperfect’ hygiene conditions, the Chinese scientists say, “As known for all, the hygiene condition is imperfect and the public medical system is less efficient in the subcontinent. Thus, it is conceivable that a virus with flu-like symptom could spread undetectably for several months there.”

In a way, China’s efforts to blame-shift to India makes more sense than its targeting of Italy. We have been covering the territorial dispute along the China-India border, located near the ‘Bhutan tri-junction’, where the borders of China, India, and the tiny Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan meet, since this summer. Now, new satellite images have built-up in this area.

However, so far reasonable people and credible scientific authorities aren’t buying into this new theory.

Claims that the virus had origins outside China are given little credence by western scientists. Michael Ryan, director of the health emergencies programme at the World Health Organization (WHO), said last week that it would be “highly speculative” to argue that the disease did not emerge in China. “It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigations where the human cases first emerged,” he told a news briefing in Geneva.

Reports of Covid circulating in Italy in autumn 2019, based on samples from a cancer unit, seem “weak”, said Prof Jonathan Stoye, a virologist at the Francis Crick Institute in London. “The serological data [from Italy] can most likely be explained by cross-reactive antibodies directed against other coronaviruses.” In other words, antibodies found in the cases in Italy had been triggered in individuals who had been infected by different coronaviruses, not those responsible for Covid-19.

“What appears certain is that the first recorded cases of the disease were in China,” added Stoye. “It thus remains most likely that the virus originated in China.”

What is clear from this attempt to rewrite history is that China still remains a pariah, between sending out its infected citizens to destinations around the globe, the massive purchasing of personal protective equipment prior to the surge in other countries, its selling of defective tests and equipment, and its spying on vaccine researchers.

 

 
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