Scientists are on the verge of finding out where the coronavirus came from
Samples taken from an animal market in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic provide key evidence of the origin of the coronavirus, a global team of scientists working on the problem announced today.CNN".
The virus was first identified in Wuhan in December 2019, and many suspected it arrived from the Huanan animal market before jumping to humans, spreading around the world and killing nearly seven million people.
Scientists have published it the preliminary report based on their interpretation of the data. They contained new sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and additional genomic data based on samples taken from a live animal market in Wuhan in 2020, the scientists wrote.
Samples taken from the market early in the pandemic contained traces of DNA from guinea pigs and other animals susceptible to the virus that may have been infected, providing a new clue to the chain of transmission that eventually reached humans. The preliminary conclusions of the scientists suggest that the virus was transmitted from an animal to a human naturally.
"This adds to the body of evidence that has identified the Huanan market as the site of the spread of Sars-CoV-2 and the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic," said the report, written by Michael Woroby of the University of Arizona. Christian Andersen of California's Scripps Research Institute, among others, and Florence Debard of Paris' Sorbonne.
The report adds more detail about other animals present in the market, compared to information leaked last week, and shows that some of the samples that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 had more animal than human genetic material in them.
WHO officials said last week that the information was not final, but that it represented a new clue in the investigation into the origin of the coronavirus and that it was necessary to share it immediately.
The United Nations agency has previously said that all hypotheses about the origin of the coronavirus remain on the table, including that the virus emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan that studied dangerous pathogens. China denies that theory. The WHO also said most evidence points to the virus coming from animals, possibly bats.