Covid originated from Wuhan's seafood market: Study : The Tribune India

Covid originated from Wuhan's seafood market: Study

WHO terms study significant, calls for peer review

Covid originated from Wuhan's seafood market: Study

A path-breaking new research has concluded that Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in China's Wuhan was indeed the site of origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, with authors claiming incontrovertible evidence to this effect.



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, February 27

A path-breaking new research has concluded that Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in China’s Wuhan was indeed the site of origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, with authors claiming incontrovertible evidence to this effect.

The preprint which the World Health Organisation today termed as significant calling for peer review takes into account the fact that despite strong epidemiological links and the documented presence of SARS-CoV-2 susceptible animals, the role of the Huanan market in the pandemic has remained controversial.

Using spatial analyses, researchers now show that the earliest known Covid-19 cases diagnosed in December 2019 were geographically distributed near to, and centered on, this market and note that this distribution cannot be explained by high densities of elderly people at greater risk of symptomatic Covid-19.

The authors report that vendors at the Huanan market sold SARS-CoV-2-susceptible live mammals, including Asian raccoon dogs, hog badgers and red foxes, in November and December 2019.

“Finally, we show that two early lineages of SARS-CoV-2 show a clear association with the Huanan market. Collectively, these results provide incontrovertible evidence that there was a clear conduit, via susceptible live mammals, for the zoonotic emergence of SARS-CoV-2 at the Huanan market towards the end of 2019. This spillover of a bat SARS-CoV via a transiently-infected conduit animal population mirrors the market-based origins of the first SARS virus, SARS-CoV-1 and underscores the high likelihood of further cross-species transmission associated with the live animal trade,” the researchers conclude.

The study used geospatial analyses within the market to show that SARS-CoV-2-positive environmental samples were strongly associated with vendors selling live animals.

“Geographical clustering of the earliest known Covid-19 cases and the proximity of positive environmental samples to live-animal vendors suggest that the Huanan market in Wuhan was the site of origin of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the study notes.


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