Beijing, China: (HRNW) The endangered pangolin may be the link that facilitated the spread of the novel coronavirus across China, Chinese scientists said Friday.
At least 31,000 people have been infected and 630 killed by the virus, which has spread to two dozen countries.
Researchers at the South China Agricultural University have identified the scaly mammal as a “potential intermediate host,” the university said in a statement, without providing further details.
The new virus, which emerged at a live animal market in central China’s Wuhan city late last year, is believed to have originated in bats, but researchers have suggested there could have been an “intermediate host” in the transmission to humans.
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 percent identical to those on coronavirus patients, the official Xinhua news agency reported Friday.