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Wuhan Market Origin Of Covid-19 Pandemic, Studies Suggest

Jake Massey

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Wuhan Market Origin Of Covid-19 Pandemic, Studies Suggest

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

The Covid-19 pandemic most likely originated in a market in Wuhan, China, new studies suggest.

Since the virus was first identified in the city in December 2019, it has ravaged populations across the globe and dramatically altered our way of life.

According to John Hopkins University, there have been more than 437 million confirmed cases of the disease, with almost six million people losing their lives.

Naturally, the source of this global affliction has been a huge talking point over the past years, with some speculating that coronavirus could have been leaked from a laboratory.

However, new studies have found no such evidence to support this theory, with the data indicating that the pandemic began at the Huanan Seafood Market.

The study indicates that the global crisis originated at the market. Credit: Alamy
The study indicates that the global crisis originated at the market. Credit: Alamy

The studies analysed and mapped data, with patterns indicating that the market was the origin of the outbreak, before it spread to surrounding neighbourhoods and beyond.

They subsequently ran tests which indicated that it was highly unlikely the same pattern could be produced by chance.

"It's very strong statistical evidence that this is no coincidence," Michael Worobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona and a co-author of both studies, told The New York Times.

"When you look at all of the evidence together, it's an extraordinarily clear picture that the pandemic started at the Huanan market."

The researchers also presented evidence that mammals known to carry coronaviruses were being sold at the market in late 2019, and samples taken in January 2020 found traces of SARS‑CoV‑2 in the southwest corner of the market, where these vendors were gathered; however, no wildlife was left at the market by the time the researched arrived to collect genetic samples.

Mammals for sale in the market in 2019 (top 3) and 2014 (bottom 3). Credit: Michael Worobey et al./Weibo
Mammals for sale in the market in 2019 (top 3) and 2014 (bottom 3). Credit: Michael Worobey et al./Weibo

A one-sentence summary of one of the studies reads: "Geographical clustering of the earliest known Covid-19 cases and the proximity of positive environmental samples to live-animal vendors suggest that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was the site of origin of the Covid-19 pandemic."

While the other concludes: "The most probable explanation for the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into humans involves zoonotic jumps from an as yet undetermined, intermediate host animal at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market."

It is worth noting though that both studies are yet to be peer reviewed and published in a scientific journal.

However, Worobey said the research was 'game, set and match' for the theory the pandemic may have originated in a lab.

"It's no longer something that makes sense to imagine that this started any other way," he told CNN.

Topics: Coronavirus, World News, China

Jake Massey
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