An Oxford University scientist has suggested that the coronavirus did not originate from China, instead it laid dormant across the world and emerged when the environmental conditions were right for it to thrive.
Dr Tom Jefferson, senior associate tutor at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM), at Oxford and a visiting professor at Newcastle University, argues there is growing evidence that the virus was elsewhere before it emerged in Asia.
This comes on the heels of announcement by Spanish virologists last week that they had found traces of the disease in samples of waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before coronavirus was seen in China.
Italian scientists have also found evidence of coronavirus in sewage samples in Milan and Turin in mid-December, many weeks before the first case was detected, while experts have found evidence of traces in Brazil in November.
“Where did Sars 1 go? It’s just disappeared,” he said. “So we have to think about these things. We need to start researching the ecology of the virus, understanding how it originates and mutates.
“I think the virus was already here – here meaning everywhere. We may be seeing a dormant virus that has been activated by environmental conditions.
Dr Jefferson believes the virus may be transmitted through the sewage system or shared toilet facilities, not just through droplets expelled by talking, coughing and sneezing.
Writing in The Telegraph, Dr Jefferson and Professor Carl Henegehan, director of the CEBM, call for an in-depth investigation similar to that carried out by John Snow in 1854 to show that cholera was spreading in London from an infected well in Soho.
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