Tags: wuhan | coronavirus | scientists

Live Market Probably Wasn't Origin of Virus, Chinese Scientists Say

Live Market Probably Wasn't Origin of Virus, Chinese Scientists Say
A vendor wearing a face mask works in her stall in a market in Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus has largely been contained, on May 21, 2020. (Hector Retamal / AFP Via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 29 May 2020 05:33 PM

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 didn't emerge from a Wuhan, China, wet market — but the live market may have been the site of a superspreader event, Chinese scientists say.

Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese CDC, told Chinese state media, "It now turns out that the market is one of the victims,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

In a study by scientists from Wuhan Institute of Virology and published in the journal Nature, the team theorized the virus may have emerged elsewhere, and that it could have jumped from an animal to a human in late November 2019, and the busy seafood market may have helped it spread.

Citing past research, the authors said a "significant" number of the first reported cases didn't have contact with the market.

"Two major lineages of the virus derived from one common ancestor may have originated independently from Wuhan in December 2019 and contributed to the current pandemic,” the team wrote.

One of these spawned at the market, "where high density of stalls, vendors and customers might have facilitated human-to-human transmission," they wrote. 

Jeremy Rossman, honorary senior lecturer in virology at the U.K.'s University of Kent, told Newsweek that evidence suggests the virus jumped from the human population in November 2019 and "the market was simply the first site of extensive human-to-human transmission."

The question of the origin of the coronavirus has emerged as a major source of friction between China and the U.S. since the killer pathogen was discovered in Wuhan late last year. More than 5.5 million people have been infected world-wide, deaths from the disease are approaching 350,000.

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The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 didn't emerge from a Wuhan, China, wet market - but the live market may have been the site of a superspreader event, Chinese scientists say...
wuhan, coronavirus, scientists
269
2020-33-29
Friday, 29 May 2020 05:33 PM
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