Since COVID-19 was first recognized as an official disease by the World Health Organization, there has been much speculation about how it started.
All that the authorities know for sure is that he is from the city of Wuhan, in central Hubei province in China, which has become the first epicenter of the disease.
But Dr. Andrew Peters, associate professor of wildlife health and pathology at Charles Sturt University, finally has a definitive answer on the origins of the deadly virus.
“Yes, look, we can be pretty confident originally, it was from bats,” said Dr. Peters on ABC TV this morning.
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While Dr. Peters was certain that some bats had introduced the virus for the first time in humans, he said that “it would be difficult to say conclusively” how the first human transmission occurred.
The myth of bat soup could therefore be true. A Twitter video, shared by Chinese blogger Chen Qiushi, showed Cantonese diners about to eat a bat bouillabaisse in an upscale restaurant.
However, it is more likely that urine and blood are the way bats transmitted the disease.
“It is going to be very difficult to say for sure exactly what event led to the transmission, but by certainly looking at other infectious diseases from wildlife to humans, we have some clues,” said Dr. Peters.
“There are different routes of transmission of these viruses. This includes urine and blood. “
Two months ago, it was reported that a research center in Wuhan where a worker was covered in bat blood and urine could be zero for the coronavirus outbreak.
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“There are a number of transmission mechanisms (viruses) – for example, ebola, another good example of infectious wildlife disease,” said Dr. Peters.
“It is believed that the Ebola virus passes mainly through the urine and contact like that.
“HIV comes from people who massacred primate carcasses, which means very close blood-to-blood contact.
“We know there must be fairly close contact between the native wild animal and humans. So it must be a fairly recent and direct transmission. This will most likely happen with live animals. “
According to Dr. Peters, the virus may have been transmitted to humans by bats, but the bats may have caught it from another animal.
“We know that bats are the natural host of SARS coronaviruses overall,” he said.
“The question that remains is whether and what intermediate host he was able to cross.
“SARS (virus) which appeared for the first time in 2002, the first version we know, has passed from bats, it is believed to be the civet of palm trees, another intermediate host which infected people.
“There is evidence that the pangolin is a possible intermediate host, but the evidence is not yet there to say conclusively that it is.”
It comes as Chinese wet markets reopened across the country, amid global criticism.
Thousands of people have returned to the markets, with live animals, including bats, rabbits, rats, wolves and dogs, still on offer despite the coronavirus epidemic.