The origin of the Covid pandemic has puzzled researchers for a very long time. But an international group of experts found evidence suggesting that the Covid virus may have spread from infected raccoon dogs that were illegally sold at a seafood market in China’s Wuhan, The New York Times reported.
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The conclusion was drawn after researchers collected genetic data form swabs taken from the Hunan Seafood Wholesale Market and the surrounding area in 2020, the report said. The report added that swabs were collected from floors, walls, carts, and cages used to house the animals.
The analysis found that the samples were infected by a virus that carries the genetic material of animals including raccoon dogs. Even though this does not confirm that raccoon dogs are infected or if they transmit the virus to humans, the study notes that the virus is spread from wild animals.
“This is a very strong indication that the animals in the market are infected. There’s really no other explanation that makes any sense,” Angela Rasmussen, a scientist who was part of the study told The Atlantic.
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The study was led by three researchers namely Kristian Andersen, Michael Worobey, and Edward Holmes, the report said and the data was sent by GISAID, a genomics-access database. It was then recorded and analyzed by scientists from North America, Australia, and Europe. The Chinese have already checked the samples and said that “no animal host of SARS-CoV-2 can be excluded”.
Alex Crits-Christoph, a statistical scientist said that the genetic data is “realistic”, adding, “This is the species that everyone is talking about”.
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