Dr. Jonathan Latham, executive director of the US Biosciences Resources Project, believes that Covid-19 may have developed in the body of an infected Chinese miner nearly a decade before the pandemic began. This is reported by The Daily Telegraph with reference to the scientist's report.
Crucially, samples of the baffling miner’s disease were sent to viral researchers in Wuhan for study, where they may have escaped into the population, he argues.
Earlier this year, the University of Cambridge concluded that a highly infectious alpha variant may have developed in a single immunocompromised patient who had had the disease for several months.
The appearance of the alpha variant in Kent last fall proves that the virus can make “strange evolutionary leaps” and quickly develop large numbers of mutations when it’s been inside an individual for a long time, Dr. Latham says.
"The theory requires many hundreds of mutations in one miner to turn into Sars-Cov-2. Decades were crammed into about six months. But we have heard of the surprising phenomenon of isolated cases of greatly accelerated evolution in viruses in Britain. As much evolution occurred in that one individual in England as had occurred in the millions of other infections. Our theory proposes that a similar evolution was happening inside the lungs of miners following the mystery disease in 2012 and argues that the virus leaked from a medical sample obtained from the miners infected by the outbreak," Dr Latham said.