Pangolin suspected as direct source of coronavirus outbreak

PARIS (AFP) – Chinese researchers investigating the animal origin of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China said on Friday the endangered pangolin may be the “missing link” between bats and humans, but other scientists said the search may not be over.

An earlier study – since discredited – pointed to snakes, and there remain numerous candidate species in the Wuhan wildlife market thought to be ground zero of the epidemic.

The SARS outbreak of 2002-2003, involving a different strain of coronavirus, was transferred to humans by the civet, a small mammal prized in China for its flesh.

File photo of a juvenile Sunda pangolin at the Singapore Zoo. PHOTO: AFP