Beijing, November 28: China, in bid to shift blame of being the root of coronavirus pandemic, is now suggesting that the virus causing COVID-19 had originated in India. A team of scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences -- a state-run institution -- said the virus could be traced back to summer of 2019 in the neighbouring countries of India and Bangladesh.

The scientists, citing the use of phylogenetic analysis, claimed that the virus travelled to China's Wuhan in a mutated form. It would have existed in eight countries - USA, Greece, Australia, India, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia or Serbia - way before being detected in the Hubei province, they opined. Sinovac: Brazil Suspends Trials of China’s COVID-19 Vaccine After ‘Severe Incident’.

The transmission of coronavirus from human to animals could be a result of contaminated water, they added. In India and Bangladesh, the Academy report speculates, the scarcity of water during the summer of 2019 may have led monkeys to share water resources with humans.

The virus may had spread among humans in both the South Asian countries for months, before being detected in Wuhan in December last year, the Chinese scientists said. "India's poor healthcare system and young population allowed the virus to spread undetected for several months," their report further remarked.

Despite China coming up with the unsubstantiated claims - that experts say lack scientific merit - the world considers the central Chinese city of Wuhan as the ground zero of the pandemic. The outgoing US administration, along with the government of Australia, has demanded the United Nations and the World Health Organisation to conduct an impartial probe into the origins of nCOV-2019 virus in China.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 28, 2020 04:47 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website