Pangolin may be virus host; WHO says virus numbers drop

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A Chinese university says scientists identified the heavily trafficked pangolin as a possible intermediary host of the new coronavirus.

The coronavirus from China is believed to have originated in bats and transferred to humans through some other animal, health officials say. The pangolin may be that key link, researchers at South China Agricultural University said Friday.

“This latest discovery will be of great significance for the prevention and control of the origin of the new coronavirus,” South China Agricultural University said in a translated statement.

The research team tested more than 1,000 samples from wild animals and a found a 99% match between the genome sequences of viruses found in pangolins and those in human patients, the AFP reported, citing Chinese state media.

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James Wood, a veterinary medicine professor at the University of Cambridge, told the French news agency that more data is needed and showing similarity between the genome sequences alone is “not sufficient.”



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