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Why scientists think the new coronavirus in China might have come from snakes

Analysis of the virus initially showed similarities with other viruses from bats. But more detailed testing suggested it may have been snakes—which were sold in the Wuhan market the outbreak is thought to have started in

Emerging research suggests the virus could have come via snakes. Photo: Wikimedia commons/Prospect edit

Snakes—the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra—may be the original source of the newly discovered coronavirus that has triggered an outbreak of a deadly infectious respiratory illness in China this winter.

Using samples of the virus isolated from patients, scientists in China have determined the genetic code of the virus and used microscopes to photograph it.

The pathogen responsible for this pandemic is a new coronavirus. It’s in the same family of viruses as…

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