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Stop Blaming Snakes For The Wuhan Coronavirus!

Many in the press have mistakenly identified snakes as the original source for the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCov), but that’s based on a flawed understanding of early research by Chinese scientists.

Find out what those Chinese scientists discovered, and why snakes are not the source or origin of the Wuhan coronavirus!

This article is a summary of the article – Why Snakes Are Not Source Of Wuhan Coronavirus! – simplified for easier understanding.


Claim : Wuhan Coronavirus Originated From Snakes

Every report that the Wuhan coronavirus originated from snakes is based on a single paper by Wei Ji et. al. published in the Journal of Medical Virology on 22 January 2020.

Wei Ji’s team analysed the Wuhan coronavirus, and discovered that it favoured codons (RNA instructions) that are most similar to those used by two snakes :

They therefore concluded that “snakes could be the most likely wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV“.

However, their paper is merely suggestive, not conclusive. Like other scientific papers, it was published for other scientists to check, criticise or verify their findings.

Now, let’s show you why snakes are very, very unlikely to be the source or even a host for the Wuhan coronavirus, in spite of what they discovered…


Why Snakes Are Unlikely To Be Source For Wuhan Coronavirus

Reason #1 : 2019-nCov Is A Betacoronavirus

Reason #2 : 2019-nCoV Is Most Closely Related To SARS

Reason #3 : Coronaviruses Infect Only Mammals + Birds

Reason #4 : Only Mammals Have Been Intermediate Hosts

Reason #5 : Codon Adaptation Does Not Always Happen

Reason #6 : Codon Adaptation Takes Time

Reason #7 : Two Antigenic Shifts Are Very Unlikely


What Do Experts Say About Snakes As Wuhan Coronavirus Source?

Paulo Eduardo Brandão, virologist at the University of São Paulo, said,

They have no evidence snakes can be infected by this new coronavirus and serve as a host for it. There’s no consistent evidence of coronaviruses in hosts other than mammals and Aves (birds).

Professor Guizhen Wu, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said,

These data are consistent with a bat reservoir for coronaviruses in general and 2019-nCoV in particular.

Dr. Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance, said,

When you look at the genetic sequence of the virus, and you match it up with every known coronavirus, the closest relatives are from bats

Cui Jie, virologist at the Pasteur Institute of Shanghai, said,

Clearly this 2019-nCov is a mammalian virus.

We should note that Cui Jie was part of the team that traced the origin of the human SARS virus to the horseshoe bats in a remote Yunnan cave in 2017.


But Could Snakes Still Be Responsible For The Wuhan Coronavirus?

Now this is important – no one should rule out snakes as an intermediary host for the Wuhan coronavirus just yet.

Yes, there is no known coronavirus that infects a snake or any other reptile, but that doesn’t mean it will never or could not happen.

The key thing is to understand that science isn’t straightforward. It takes many studies – blood, sweat and tears – to investigate, verify and replicate – before we can reasonably draw a conclusion.

So everyone should stop jumping on every study as if it is conclusive evidence that snakes or civet cats or the animal of the week is responsible for the Wuhan coronavirus.

Rome wasn’t built in a single day, and evidence that conclusively identifies the culprit for 2019-nCov won’t be found in a single study.


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