Since the pandemic began COVID-19one of the big questions was to discover the origin of the disease and the transmission of the Sars-Cov-2.
And after two years of investigation, a team of 18 scientists from the University of Utah confirmed that the coronavirus began in a wholesale market for fish and exotic species in Wuhan.
They linked these cases to bats, foxes and other live mammals infected with the virus that are sold in the market, either for consumption as meat or for their fur.
The finding, published in the July 26, 2022, issue of Scienceconfirms early reports, later dismissed by top Chinese officials, that live animals sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market were the likely source of the pandemic that has claimed at least 6.4 million lives since it emerged from first time in China almost three years ago.
“These are the most compelling and detailed studies of what happened in Wuhan in the early stages of what would become the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Stephen Goidstein. Ph.D., co-author of the study led by lead author Kristian Anderson.
- The appearance of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can probably be traced to one or more of the 10 to 15 market stalls that sold live dogs, rats, porcupines, badgers, hares, foxes, hedgehogs , marmots and Chinese Muntjac (a small deer). Health officials and researchers detected SARS-CoV-2 in animal cages, cars, and drain grates at these locations.
- The only areas where the virus was spreading in December 2019 were in neighborhoods within a half-mile of the market. Previously, some researchers had suggested that the virus was introduced to the market from other parts of the city and spread among its customers. Instead, the new findings strongly suggest that the virus originated in the market through the sale of live animals, slowly spreading from there to nearby neighborhoods and then to the city at large.
- Two variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were detected on the market. That suggests both variants originated independently on the market and helps confirm the researchers’ hypothesis that the early spread of the infection started there. If the virus originated elsewhere, it is more likely that only a single variant would have been found.