How did the coronavirus (COVID-19) start?

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China's lack of transparency in managing information about SARS-COV-2 should raise doubts about the true origin of the virus.

Chinese authorities silenced Li Wenliang, a doctor who tried to raise an early alarm and later died after contracting the virus. Journalists who tried to blow the whistle disappeared. Beijing forced Chinese staff serving news outlets (like The Times) to resign.

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A team of scientists in China have connected the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans to horseshoe bats in the Yunnan Province, China.

The genomic sequence of the virus, named SARS-CoV-2, was found to be 96% identical to that of a coronavirus the researchers had identified in horseshoe bats in Yunnan. The data point to a single introduction into humans, followed by sustained human-to-human transmission.

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Some scientists believe the novel coronavirus spread from bats to pangolins, before transmission to humans.

Independent teams of scientists have suggested that pangolins may have been an intermediate host for the novel coronavirus. These teams have reportedly uncovered SARS-CoV-2-like coronaviruses in Malayan pangolins that were seized in anti-smuggling operations in southern China.

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Research by leading Chinese scientist, Shi Zhengli, suggests the novel coronavirus may have been transmitted directly from bats to humans,.

Based on Shi's research, the assumption that the types of coronaviruses found in bats (which are very similar to COVID-19 in humans) could not directly bind to the receptors in humans (ACE2 receptors) necessary for cell infection, has been proven false.

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