A prime suspect in the ‘wet market’ coronavirus origin theory was just given a pass, after a peer-reviewed study found that the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, could not have jumped from pangolins to humans.

As a refresher, SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19 in humans, is 96% identical to a coronavirus strain found in bats known as RaTG13 – which was incidentally collected in a cave in Yunnan, China by scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

On its own, RaTG13 cannot infect humans, however SARS-CoV-2 has a ‘receptor binding motif’ (RBM) which is identical to a pangolin strain of coronavirus – stoking speculation that pangolins were an intermediary species, or ‘reservoir’ between RaTG13 and SARS-CoV-2 (despite the fact that pangolins weren’t sold at the wet market).

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