Sunday, March 26, 2023

Raccoons sold at Wuhan market linked to COVID-19 pandemic

The worst pandemic to have hit the world in a century may have been started by an infected animal that was traded through the illegal wildlife trade.

• March 17, 2023
COVID-19 patients in China
COVID-19 patients in China[Photo Credit: France 24]

The worst pandemic to have hit the world in a century may have been started by an infected animal that was traded through the illegal wildlife trade, according to genetic data discovered from a market in Wuhan, China.

According to New York Times, on Thursday, an international team of virus experts linked the deadly coronavirus that swept the world in 2019 to raccoons sold at the Wuhan market.

The Chinese government shut down the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in January 2020 due to suspicions that it was linked to the spread of a new virus, so swabs from within and around the market were collected to gather genetic data.

When the genetic data was collected, the animals had already been removed, but researchers swabbed the walls, floors, metal cages, and carts commonly used to transport animal cages.

The international research team discovered animal genetic material in samples that tested positive for the coronavirus, including large amounts that matched the raccoons.

Yet, according to the researchers, the investigation revealed that raccoons, capable of dispersing the coronavirus, left genetic evidence in the same places as the virus’s genetic material.

They asserted that the data supported the idea that the virus infected people through a wild animal.

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