Local doctor believes pigs are directly involved in coronavirus transmission

BOSTON — For weeks, health officials have pegged a market in Wuhan, China as the likely source of the coronavirus outbreak, but a Boston doctor says not so fast. He says China is more of a victim of the virus and a farm animal may be important to transmission.

“We now know where it came from,” said Dr. Samuel Bogoch, Replikins, LLC. He says the coronavirus didn’t come from China.

Bogoch is the founder of the Boston Firm Replikins, which tracks infectious disease outbreaks and creates vaccines in response.

“Where it started, apparently, was a year before the outbreak in Wuhan,” he said.

Bogoch says that would make China the first victim of the virus, which has sickened some 28,000 worldwide and killed more than 500. His firm made the discovery using a proprietary software program that found key genomic similarities between virus samples in Wuhan and data from dozens of published reports last year.

“We don’t have exact comparison... amino acid to amino acid. In the sequences. But the computer lists them as Wuhan virus,” said Bogoch.

He wouldn’t say exactly where the first cases occurred but his data also suggested there is an animal directly involved in coronavirus transmission: pigs. Limiting the transport of pork, he says, could curb the spread of what has proven a highly contagious virus.

“It’s speeding up. The number of new cases every five days is doubling,” he said.

In response, Replikins has developed a synthetic coronavirus vaccine.

“If they know it’s available we’ve already got people standing in line who know that we’ve got something,” said Bogoch. Something to maybe stop the coronavirus outbreak from swelling into a pandemic.

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