Chinese experts urged international communities and regions to conduct apolitical scientific research to trace the origin of the virus, rather than passing the buck to China for political gain, some countries, including France and the United States, having discovered cases of COVID-19 that occurred earlier than the first cases they had previously reported and showed no direct link to China.
Tracing the origins through scientific research would help develop a vaccine, according to Cui Hongjian, director of European studies at the Chinese Institute for International Studies in Beijing.
It would also dispel rumors and avoid politicizing the issue, which will lead the international community to cooperate in the fight against the pandemic, Cui told The Global Times on Tuesday.
“The birthplace of the virus carries no original sin,” said Cui.
The remarks came after a French hospital, which retested old samples from pneumonia patients, discovered that it had treated a patient with COVID-19 on December 27, almost a month before the French government confirms its first cases, Reuters reported on Monday.
Yves Cohen, chief medical officer of two Paris hospitals, told French media BFM TV on Sunday that it was too early to know if the patient was France’s “zero patient”.
Cohen noted that the patient had made no trips and that his only contact was with his uninfected wife.
Cohen urged local health officials to investigate.
US media CNN reported on April 22 that two Californians with no “significant travel history” died of the new coronavirus in early and mid-February – three weeks before the first known American death from the virus.
Researchers in Lombardy, Italy, noted a higher than usual number of cases of severe pneumonia and influenza at the end of 2019, an indication that the new coronavirus may have spread there earlier than expected.
The Institut Pasteur de France published on April 26 a genetic study showing that the coronavirus which spread in the country in February had no direct link with the cases imported from China.
Such reports support the theory that the virus had several births around the world, Yang Zhanqiu, deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told The Global Times on Tuesday.
Yang said that with the many cases now among the first documented coronavirus cases in the country, it would not be surprising if some cases diagnosed in late 2019 as influenza were linked to the virus.
Yang noted that Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province was an area where the coronavirus broke out, but whether or not the area was the place of birth or the only place of birth of the virus, it had not yet been confirmed.
Scientific research has shown that the coronavirus has genetic differences in different regions of the globe and apparently separate pathogenicity and lethality, noted Yang.
This would support the theory that the virus has spread in several regions, not just China, said the Chinese scientist.
Yang refuted the theory that the virus mutated by spreading from China to other countries.
“There was no way to make as many transfers in such a short time,” said Yang.
Cui said that Western media and politicians fueled the rumors, passed the torch and soiled China.
Apolitical scientific research should be carried out to trace the origins of the virus, said Cui.
“Rather than promoting scientific investigation and research into the virus, Western politicians and many biased media have chosen to spread rumors that Wuhan’s origin was China and that the Chinese laboratory developed the virus, and asked China to compensate for losses due to the pandemic. ” Said Cui.
All of these “baseless accusations” were based on the presumption of a crime for political gain, said Cui.
“As long as the virus is not of human origin, regardless of its origin, people have no reason to blame the place of birth,” said Cui.
Right-wing French politicians and media, including Le Figaro, have accused Wuhan’s P4 virology laboratory of cowardly management, claiming that it is behind the new coronavirus.
The newspaper said China had attempted to cover the coronavirus emergency as well as the scale of the epidemic and had lied about the death toll.
Chinese analysts noted that the noise from the media and politicians was baseless and went against the cooperative trend between France and China as well as global cooperation in the fight against the pandemic.