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A coronavirus epidemic hit 20,000 years ago, new study finds

The new study suggests that an ancient coronavirus plagued the East Asia for many years, researchers say. The finding could have dire implications for the COVID-19 pandemic if it is not brought under control soon through vaccination.

June 27, 2021 / 04:40 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Researchers have found evidence that a coronavirus epidemic swept East Asia some 20,000 years ago and was devastating enough to leave an evolutionary imprint on the DNA of people alive today.

The new study suggests that an ancient coronavirus plagued the region for many years, researchers say. The finding could have dire implications for the COVID-19 pandemic if it is not brought under control soon through vaccination.

“It should make us worry,” said David Enard, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona who led the study, which was published on Thursday in the journal Current Biology. “What is going on right now might be going on for generations and generations.”

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