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HomeScienceCovid-19 originated in China, but Europe spread it around world, says study

Covid-19 originated in China, but Europe spread it around world, says study

Led by scientists from UK’s University of Huddersfield & Portugal’s University of Minho, the research is based on an analysis of the genetic sequence of 27,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes.

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Bengaluru: China may have been the origin point of Covid-19 but it is Europe that spread it around the world, a study has said. 

Led by scientists from the UK’s University of Huddersfield and Portugal’s University of Minho, the research is based on an analysis of the genetic sequence of 27,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes.

The study was published in a special edition of the peer-reviewed journal, Microorganisms, on 29 October.

“Whilst the source of Covid-19 was clearly in China, the spread of the global pandemic during the first six months was largely fueled by the expansion in Europe,” state the authors in their paper, adding that travel restrictions in the continent were “too little and too late”. 

According to the authors, although the European Union (EU) was closed to outsiders on 17 March, the borders between member countries remained open with varying restrictions. The UK, the researchers pointed out, implemented strict travel restrictions only in June 2020.

“We highlighted how some (countries) were more effective than others in slowing down the spread, but also by unequivocally demonstrating that none were wholly effective in halting the spread,” the authors write.

“Air travel has clearly been a major driver of the pandemic, and our analysis suggests that stricter travel restrictions appear to be more effective in slowing the spread.”

Also Read: How China contained virus in 3 months, and what Pakistan’s Covid data reveals

The Covid map

The research was led by clinical geneticist Dr Teresa Rito and evolutionary geneticist Dr Pedro Soares of University of Minho. The duo has collaborated previously with the University of Huddersfield’s Professor Martin Richards and Dr Maria Pala, as part of the Archaeogenetics Research Group, which works on tracing the evolution of humans using genetic analyses. 

For the new study, genetic samples of the virus until May were obtained from all over the world using the open-access genomic database GISAID. The researchers then used the data to create a map depicting the spread of the virus. 

While the early cases in China all contained genomes with certain mutations, it is the ones that ended up in Europe that branched off to the rest of the world, the researchers said. By mid-March, Europe had become the epicentre for the pandemic before it shifted to the US, which, the researchers said, was primarily infected by travellers coming from Europe. 

In April, they added, Europe also saw many newer cases coming in from North America. 

Most parts of East Asia also saw cases coming from Europe rather than China, the researchers stated. Even in India, a genomics-based study by the Indian Institute of Science said this June, the majority of Covid-19 cases came from Europe, West Asia, South Asia, and Oceania.  

Also Read: China ‘secret’ could explain why Covid barely spread beyond Wuhan, says Apollo’s Prathap Reddy


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  1. Not new news really. If you watch it on Amazon Prime, many now know that this virus originated in Kazakhstan spread by this guy called by B. Sagdiyev to get back at USA.

  2. Fake news. So two unknown uni “scientists” suddenly pop out to write in a little known magazine, overthrowing all renown scientists genome mapping findings from UK Cambridge, Jp, China & Taiwan that published in renowned journals like Nature.

    All scientists came to similar conclusion that China strains is 2nd generation “B”. This strains mutated to more lethal strains “C” and found predominantly in Asia & EU, which spread to US. But where is first generation “A”, the real source of COVID?

    Mildest Strain “A” was found in US, Taiwan and Oz only. Both Taiwan & Oz gov blamed US for bring “A” to them. But all “A”, “B”, “C” strains are exclusively found only in US, pointing to US as the origin of COVID & the earliest outbreak source.

    US experienced COVID like lung failure outbreak since Jan19, which they blamed as EVALI, E-Cigarette Vaping Associated Lung Injury, while the world has zero case of vaping lung failure. In Jul2019, more than 10,000 pneumonia outbreak in Marymount causing CDC to shutdown Ft Detrick bioweapon lab. CDC later admitted some of these are COVID cases.

    In Spain, as early as Feb19 sewage samples are found to contain COVID, so have Italy, France, US…all reported similar sewage sampling cases found in early 2019. So how can they have COVID spreading from China when Wuhan 1st case was only detected in Dec’2019?

    • Fake Chinese person’s reply. Chinese especially their Government are biggest liars and manipulators currently whom people don’t believe much worldwide. Shut yourselves down and live amongst yourselves in your world while the rest of us enjoy freedom moving together

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