Covid-19 found in raccoon dogs in China, bolsters natural origin theory: Report – Times of India

New York: A new analysis of genetic samples collected from a seafood market in central China Wuhan Shows the presence of the city SARS-CoV-2 virus I A breed of dog Sold on location, strengthening the case for a natural source of the CoVID-19 pandemic, according to a team of international experts.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the genetic data was obtained from bushes taken in and around it. Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market Starting in January 2020, “shortly after Chinese authorities closed the market due to suspicions that it was linked to the outbreak of a new virus.”
The new evidence comes weeks after an intelligence assessment by the US Department of Energy suggested that an “accidental laboratory leak” from a virology laboratory in Wuhan was likely the cause of the pandemic.
After the animals were cleared from the market, researchers swept walls, floors, metal cages and vehicles used to transport the animals, the report said.
“In the samples that tested positive for the coronavirus, the international research team found genetic material from animals, including large amounts of raccoon dog,” he said, citing three scientists involved in the analysis. It was a match.”
After the international team came across new data, it reached out to Chinese researchers who had uploaded the files with an offer of cooperation, the report said.
However, after that, the series disappeared from GISAID (Global Initiative on Avian Influenza Data Sharing).
The report states that the “combination” of the virus and the animal’s genetic material does not prove that the raccoon itself was infected.
“And even if a raccoon was infected, it’s not clear that that animal transmitted the virus to people. Another animal could transmit the virus to people, or a person infected with the virus could transmit the virus to a raccoon. Can spread the virus in dogs,” the report said.
“But the analysis showed that the raccoon – a fast animal related to foxes that is capable of transmitting the coronavirus – deposited the genetic signature in the same place where the genetic material from the virus was left,” the scientists said. in accordance.
He noted that the evidence was “consistent” with a scenario in which the virus spread from a wild animal to humans.
“But genetic data from the market still offer some of the most concrete evidence of how the virus could have spread from wild animals to people outside the lab. It also suggests that Chinese scientists have an incomplete account of the evidence. given that can fill in the details about the spread of the virus in the Huanan market.
The international team included Michael Woroby, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona. Christian Anderson, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in California, and Dr. Edward Holmes, a biologist at the University of Sydney. They started mining the new genetic data last week.
“One specimen, in particular, caught his attention. It was taken from a cart attached to a particular stall in the Huanan market that Holmes visited in 2014,” the report said.
The stall contained “caged raccoon dogs” on top of a separate cage holding birds, “exactly the environment conducive to transmission of the new virus.”
“We were able to detect relatively quickly that, at least in one of these samples, there was an abundance of raccoon dog nucleic acid along with virus nucleic acid,” said Stephen Goldstein, a virologist at the University of Utah. New analysis.
“We don’t have any infected animals, and we can’t prove there were any infected animals at that stall,” Goldstein cautioned.
“But given that the animals that were on the market at the time were not sampled, this is as good as we can hope to get,” the virologist said.
In December 2019, the first case of corona virus was reported in Wuhan province of China. Globally, there are 760,360,956 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 6,873,477 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

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