Covid-19: the pangolin, a too perfect culprit

INVESTIGATION – A time suspected of having played an intermediary role between the bat and the man, this mammal with scales is little by little cleared.

Like rhino horns, pangolin scales (made up of keratin, like our hair and nails) are a staple in the Chinese pharmacopoeia. Hunted for its alleged virtues on virility, this strange little animal is one of the most poached in the world. The only scaled mammal, it is found in Southeast Asia, but also in Africa and four of the eight pangolin species are either critically endangered or vulnerable, according to the IUCN classification.

As if that were not enough, the small animal is presented as early as January as a probable suspect of the pandemic: sick pangolins were indeed seized by the customs authorities of the Guangdong region … in March 2019. Now the coronavirus which infects them has on its surface “spicules” almost identical to those of human Sars-CoV-2. An “obvious” scenario then emerges: the pangolin would have served as an intermediate host between the bat (in which a virus was discovered

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