By Ross Ibbetson For Mailonline
Published: 13:22 GMT, 16 February 2020 | Updated: 14:08 GMT, 16 February 2020
Chinese scientists believe the deadly coronavirus may have started life in a research facility just 300 yards from the Wuhan fish market.
A new bombshell paper from the Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology says that the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (WHCDC) could have spawned the contagion in Hubei province.
'The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus,' penned by scholars Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao claims the WHCDC kept disease-ridden animals in laboratories, including 605 bats.
It also mentions that bats - which are linked to coronavirus - once attacked a researcher and 'blood of bat was on his skin.'
Workers in protective gear carry a bag containing a giant salamander that was reported to have escaped from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province in January
The report says: 'Genome sequences from patients were 96% or 89% identical to the Bat CoV ZC45 coronavirus originally found in Rhinolophus affinis (intermediate horseshoe bat).'
It describes how the only native bats are found around 600 miles away from the Wuhan seafood market and that the probability of bats flying from Yunnan and Zhejiang provinces was minimal.
In addition there is little to suggest the local populace eat the bats as evidenced by testimonies of 31 residents and 28 visitors.