China shares genome sequencing data as Beijing gets hit by coronavirus second wave

China shares genome sequencing data as Beijing gets hit by coronavirus second wave

On late Thursday, China published the new genome sequencing data derived as the country got hit by the coronavirus second wave. As per the details mentioned on China’s National Microbiology Data Center website, the Beijing genome data was based on three samples, two of which were extracted from humans and one from environment, on June 11. On that very day, China reported its first cluster case in months.

“According to preliminary genomic and epidemiological study results, the virus is from Europe, but it is different from the virus currently spreading in Europe,” Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official Zhang Yong said in an article published on Friday. “It’s older than the virus currently spreading in Europe.”

Putting the blame of Europe for its second wave Covid attack, Zhang said that there could have been several ways as to how the COVID-19 virus entered China.

“It could have been hidden in imported frozen food products, or it was lurking in some dark and humid environment such as Xinfadi, with the environment not having been disinfected or sterilised,” Zhang wrote in the article posted on the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection’s website. 

Wu Zunyou, the CDC’s chief epidemiology expert, told Beijing state media that strain found in the second wave cluster was similar to the Europe’s. He said that though it doesn’t necessarily imply to be directly transmitted from European countries. He added that the strains found in the United States and Russia were also similar to the Europe’s.  Wu did not explain his comments any further. 

Besides, CDC confirmed that Beijing had shared the genome data related to the recent outbreak with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Global Influenza Data Initiative (GISAID), for further investigations. 

During the first coronavirus outbreak in China, the Covid virus was believed to be originated from wet market in Wuhan. China faced global criticism, led by US for its initial handling of the virus and hiding the pandemic outbreak information from the world. Though Beijing outrightly rejected the US allegations, saying that it shared all the information about the epidemic, as quickly as it could.

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