A paper by researchers at the Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences suggests the virus existed on the Indian subcontinent before the Wuhan outbreak in December past year - but the theory is disputed.
A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences argues the virus likely originated in India in summer 2019 - jumping from animals to humans via contaminated water - before travelling unnoticed to Wuhan, where it was first detected.
Some voices defend the thesis that the virus could have arisen in another country and reached the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan through foreign food, so they call to value other possible points of origin.
This contrasts starkly with the current global consensus, which is that the virus first appeared in China at the end of 2019. Recently, Chinese researchers made claims that India was the origin of the dreaded coronavirus. Instead, they used a new method which involves counting the number of mutations in each viral strain.
The scientists argue that it should therefore be possible to track down the original version of the virus by finding the sample with the fewest mutations.More news: Kohli offers Harry Kane a spot in RCB squad!
It also says that the area of the first outbreak should have the greatest genetic diversity, and cites India and Bangladesh. The researchers propose that India's young population, extreme weather and drought created the necessary conditions for the virus to jump to humans.
According to Chinese scientists, Wuhan is the place where the first human to human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurred.
However, the findings are still a preprint and are yet to be peer-reviewed.
Mukesh Thakur, an Indian virologist, told the South China Morning Post the conclusions were a 'misinterpretation'.
'The method holds great promise, but it comes with considerable uncertainty, ' Marc said. He said it "added nothing" to their understanding of Covid and that the Chinese approach was "inherently biased".More news: Adrian Meronk opens up three-shot lead at Alfred Dunhill Championship
In their paper, the Chinese team use phylogenetic analysis to trace the origins of COVID. Since then, the virus has infected over 61 million people worldwide and killed more than 1.4 million people. The pandemic has also caused significant diplomatic tension between the West and Beijing, with leaders including President Donald Trump accusing Beijing of preventing a transparent investigation into the virus and alleging a cover-up.
The WHO is now looking for the source of coronavirus in China, while the body of scientific evidence suggests the disease originated there.
China also backed the resolution.
This is not the first time that Chinese authorities have pointed the finger of blame elsewhere - suggesting, largely without evidence, that both Italy and the United States could be the site of the original infection.More news: AstraZeneca to hold more vaccine trials