The novel coronavirus could have circulated among humans for years before it was actually detected.
A new research published in BioMed Central studied different types of coronavirus which showed at least four of these are closely related to Covid-19.
The research also notes that the viruses could have undergone a transition rather than a mutation.
The paper points out that since the earliest available genome was sampled on December 24, last year, almost a month after the outbreak, the real origin of the current outbreak could have been earlier than has been estimated.
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“SARS-CoV-2 might have cryptically circulated within humans for years before being discovered. Data from the early outbreak and hospital archives are needed to trace its evolutionary path and determine the critical steps required for effective spreading,” says the research.
In the study, researchers argue that the virus could have circulated among human beings for years before the world realised what it was.
They point out that the ancient origin of Covid-19 could be supported by its lack of “signature adaptive evolution” as shown by samples from the epidemic.
The study further appreciates the place of human intervention like the lockdown in Wuhan for having helped control the spread of the virus. It also points out that safety measures like social distancing have been crucial in preventing an unprecedented spike in the number of infections.
Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the travel restrictions from Nairobi and Mombasa which are considered epicenters of the virus in Kenya. To minimise spread of infections, public health professionals also encourage proper and consistent use of face masks while outdoors.
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