I didn’t even know what a pangolin was before today, but apparently it’s the most trafficked and smuggled animal in the world – a scaly anteater found in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Featured Image VIA
Pangolins are considered a delicacy in China and their scales are also used in traditional Chinese medicine (even though they have no proven medicinal value).
Well this very specific animal might also be the missing link which allowed coronavirus to jump from bats to humans. A new scientific study, appearing in the Journal of Proteome Research, has found these mammals also carry coronaviruses similar to the one that currently has the world on lockdown.
Most experts believe bats in China are the original host of Covid-19, however for the disease to transfer to humans it needed to pass through an intermediary. At first, this was thought to be snakes but now researchers think pangolins could be the missing link.
This theory is based on protein sequences identified in sick pangolins’ lungs that were 91% identical to the human virus’ proteins. These were found in Malaysian pangolins smuggled into China – which also begs the question of how they got coronavirus themselves.
So while this is in no way confirmed, it is a possibility since the strains are so similar. Either way, these scientists told the BBC that more needs to be done to stop the illegal trade in pangolins around the world:
Although their role as the intermediate host of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak remains to be confirmed, sale of these wild animals in wet markets should be strictly prohibited to avoid future zoonotic [animal to human] transmission.
Hard to disagree with that considering where we’re at right now. If humans weren’t poaching and eating pangolins and other wild animals which are then stacked cage on cage pissing and shitting on each other in these gross “wet markets”, then this shit would never have happened. In fact I wonder if we now hunt pangolins into extinction (they are already an endangered species) or see coronavirus as a reason to leave them alone for good?
Hopefully it’s not the former because after all, this isn’t the pangolin’s fault. It’s likely the disease came from bats then infected pangolins which then infected humans (via human consumption). It’s not like we killed all the chickens after avian flu, is it? Imagine what a disaster that would be – no Nando’s!
For the fast food restaurant now selling coronavirus burgers, click HERE. No pangolin included, thankfully.