Researchers: Snakes May Have Been Source of Coronavirus Spread
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New research indicates that the coronavirus outbreak that has spread from Wuhan, China, to the United States and other countries may have originated from snakes like the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra, CNN reports. Researchers reportedly compared the protein codes of the current coronavirus outbreak, known as 2019-nCoV, and coronaviruses found in different animals. The current outbreak's protein codes were found to be the most similar to codes of snake coronaviruses compared to other animal hosts like birds, marmots, hedgehogs, and others. An initial analysis of 2019-nCoV found that it was related to coronavirus samples from Chinese bats, but the bat coronavirus was somehow mutated before infecting humans. There is a possibility that snakes sold in Wuhan Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market got infected while they were in the wild after hunting bats, and subsequently infected humans at the market. The illness was first reported in late December in Wuhan and has since spread to the U.S., killed 17, and sickened almost 500.