CSIR chief slams ‘faulty’ Chinese report on Covid-19 origin
Slamming a recent Chinese research report which claimed that Covid-19 had origins in India or Bangladesh, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Director-General Dr Shekhar C Mande on Tuesday said that the study was shoddily done and was riddled with errors.
“There is a paper which is under consideration of publication in Lancet. It has not been peer-reviewed yet, so we can’t say what the peer review system will do to it. But it claims that the origin of the SARS-CoV2 virus is in India, and having read the paper myself fully and thoroughly understood what it says, the study is very shoddily done. The analysis was very badly done, and I don’t think it will stand the scrutiny of a peer review system,” Dr Mande told ANI.
Dr Mande further said that the Chinese reported a high monkey-human interaction in India, which had nothing to do with the virus.
“The combination of methodologies that they have used to show that the virus originates in India or Bangladesh is quite faulty, it is not right. For example, they have taken sequences from one database. That database has only selective sequences that have been submitted. So it is not a random sample of sequence,” he said.
He further informed that there were too many loopholes in the study and therefore its veracity could not be confirmed, adding that it can be comfortably said that the study is wrong.During a media briefing on Monday, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that some countries are politicising the origin of the virus.
“We’re doing everything to make sure that we know the origin. Some have been politicising this. Our position is very clear that we’ll start the study from Wuhan, know what has happened there and based on findings, to explore if there’re other avenues,” said Ghebreyesus.
Commenting on Ghebreyesus’ statement, Dr Mande said: “WHO goes very rationally about finding these things. We don’t need to bring any political angle to it, what we want is to go to the bottom of the truth and there is science behind it. Scientifically, we explore every question and try to see where the origin of the virus is, and today the consensus is that the origin of the virus is in Wuhan province of China. So there is a general consensus in the world and it is what we would like to trust,” he further said.
Taking to Twitter, Dr Mande shared the link of the study, saying: “Plenty of glaring errors in the study. I’ve pointed out in a series of my tweets that the study design, conduct and analysis are faulty. Hopefully the scientific world will reject the hypothesis.”
According to South China Morning Post, a paper from researchers in China proposed that the first transmission of SARS-CoV-2 may have taken place on the Indian subcontinent.
The report was based on research into strains of the virus provided by 17 countries and regions, and claimed to trace the earliest outbreak to India or Bangladesh.
The deadly virus which emerged in China’s Wuhan province has now infected more than 63 million people worldwide, and claimed the lives of more than 1.4 million.
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