Scientists from Australia say they have evidence to show that the coronavirus that has caused mayhem all over the world is ‘uniquely adapted to infect humans’.
This emerging evidence further fuels the controversy surrounding the origin of the virus which has infected over 5 million people and killed thousands of people.
There are several theories over the origin of the virus with opinions split between it being natural or could have occurred in a laboratory.
Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, a top vaccine researcher who headed the Australian team that came up with the latest evidence said the virus was “not typical of a normal zoonotic [animal to human] infection.”
Petrovsky said this is because the virus appeared with the ‘exceptional’ ability to enter human bodies from day one.
According to him the virus should have emerged from an animal through ‘a freak event of nature’ and that the possibility of it leaking from a laboratory could not be ruled out.
Petrovsky, professor of medicine at Flinders University in Adelaide, runs a biotech research unit that will start human trials for a Covid-19 vaccine in June.
He said “I haven’t seen a zoonotic virus that has behaved in this way before.”
The Daily Mail quoted Petrovsky as further saying that the new viruses crossing over from animals normally strengthen as they adapt to human hosts.
Perfectly adapted to infect humans
However this new coronavirus according to him seems perfectly adapted to infect humans without the need to evolve.
“The implications may not be good for scientists or global politics, but just because the answers might cause problems, we can’t run away from them,” he added.
Petrovsky also said that “There is currently no evidence of a leak but enough circumstantial data to concern us. It remains a possibility until it is ruled out.”
This month the United States government said that there is “a significant amount of evidence” that the current coronavirus pandemic emerged from a Chinese laboratory.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the ABC that “There is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”
The US spy agency had said earlier last month that the virus did not appear to be man-made or genetically modified.
But Pompeo said “The best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point.”
The Chinese have however rejected such claims from the United States.