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'Unlikely that COVID-19 has come from laboratory': CCMB advisor Dr Rakesh Misra on reports suggesting possible Wuhan lab leak

05:42 PM Jun 12, 2021 | FPJ Web Desk

With the specualtions and rumors spread around about the Covid-19 virus having leaked from China's Wuhan Lab, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) advisor Dr Rakesh Misra on Saturday said opined that it's very unlikely that something of this (coronavirus) kind has come from a lab.

He explained that it's more likely a zoonotic origin from bat that spread in people and stayed there for some time and then acquired COVID-19 status.

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Besides, speaking about the active coronavirus cases, Dr Misra said, "Looks like 80-90% of cases in most countries are due to Delta variant. But it will change in say two months with newer versions of the variant."

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"Some reports in the UK suggested that Delta is acquiring some nutritions but that doesn't mean it will be more harmful," he added.

"It will also tell us about anti-bodies in people who are already vaccinated and a large scale serosurvey in the country will be very useful," he suggested.

Further he said, "It helps us find out the infection rate and how many have anti-bodies, or how far are we from herd immunity and will also tell us which party of the country has less positivity."

Meanwhile, on Friday (June 11), Chinese researchers said they had found a batch of new coronaviruses in bats. The newly found viruses in the bats include one that may be the second-closest yet (genetically) to the COVID-19 virus, CNN reported.

Indian scientist too flagged Wuhan lab leak way back

The researchers say that their discoveries in southwestern China show just how many coronaviruses are there in bats and how many have the potential to spread to people. In a report published in the journal Cell, the Chinese researchers from Shandong University said, "In total, we assembled 24 novel coronavirus genomes from different bat species, including four SARS-CoV-2 like coronaviruses."

The samples were collected from small, forest-dwelling bats between May 2019 and November 2020. The researchers say that they tested urine and feces as well as taking swabs from the bats' mouths.

According to the Chinese researchers, one of the viruses was very similar, genetically to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that's causing the ongoing pandemic. "It would be the closest strain to SARS-CoV-2 except for genetic differences on the spike protein, the knob-like structure that the virus uses when attaching to cells," they said.

COVID-19: Chinese virologist says Fauci emails prove Wuhan lab leak claims

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