Beijing, June 10
Wuhan markets in China have sold dozens of wild animals that can harbor pathogens and potentially jump to humans, two years before the Covid pandemic hit the world, study finds.
The study was led by an international team of researchers from China West Normal University in China, the University of Oxford in the UK and the University of British Columbia in Canada.
In the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers document 47,381 animals of 38 species, including 31 protected species sold between May 2017 and November 2019 in Wuhan markets.
Of these, 33 have reportedly been infected with zoonotic pathogens in wild populations, markets and / or farms in China since 2009, according to the results.
Additionally, researchers found sales in Wuhan of mink, palm civets and raccoon dogs, but they did not find any sales of pangolins or bats. The masked palm civet (Paguma larvata) was the host involved in the 2003 SARS epidemic.
Bats have been suspected to be possible sources of the infectious disease of the coronavirus, which has so far taken 37.6 lakh of life.
“… species that have been commercialized are capable of harboring a wide range of infectious zoonoses or disease-carrying parasites, with the exception of Covid-19. These range from potentially fatal viruses, for example, rabies, SFTS, H5N1, virus common bacterial infections which, nevertheless, pose a risk to human health (eg, Streptococcus), “the researchers wrote.
On January 26, 2020, the Chinese government temporarily banned all wildlife trade until the Cviod-19 pandemic was over. It also permanently banned the consumption and trade of terrestrial wildlife (other than livestock) for food from February of last year.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) looked at China’s role in the origins of the Covid pandemic. Experts tried to determine in retrospect what wildlife was sold in the local wet markets in this region. Their findings were inconclusive, with markets having been completely closed at this point for four months.
Various scientists and experts around the world have accumulated circumstantial evidence pointing to the theory that the coronavirus may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China.
US President Joe Biden last month ordered the intelligence community to redouble efforts to examine the origin of the virus, including the theory of laboratory accidents. He asked the agencies to report to him within 90 days on how the virus came about.
China, on the other hand, dismissed the Wuhan laboratory leak theory as “extremely impossible” and accused the United States of “political manipulation”.