Where did COVID-19 come from?

Eddie Holmes, a virologist at the University of Sydney in Australia, says that the file does a accurate job of laying out what’s recognised about the early days of the pandemic — and notes that it suggests subsequent steps for study. “There was once absolutely a lot of transmission at the market,” he says. “To me, looking at live-animal markets and animal farming should be the focal point going forward.”

Nevertheless, precisely what happened at the Huanan market remains unknown. Genomic analyses and inferences based totally on the origins of different illnesses recommend that an intermediate animal — per chance one sold at markets — passed SARS-CoV-2 to humans after becoming infected with a predecessor coronavirus in bats.

After the report’s publication, the WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who was once not immediately concerned with the investigation, posted a statement pronouncing that he appears forward to future studies of the coronavirus’s animal origins — but that he wasn’t content with the examination of a possible laboratory leak. “I do now not accept as true with that this evaluation was once sizeable enough,” he wrote. “This requires similarly investigation, potentially with additional missions involving expert experts, which I am prepared to deploy.”

Huanan-market outbreak
In late January and early February, 34 scientists from countries along with China, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom gathered in Wuhan and assessed data. Today, the team published its findings in a 300-page report.

Much of it is devoted to COVID-19 instances going on in December 2019 and January 2020. Two-thirds of the 170-odd people who had signs and symptoms in December suggested having been uncovered to stay or useless animals quickly beforehand, and 10% had travelled outdoor Wuhan.

Chinese researchers sequenced the genomes of SARS-CoV-2 from some of the people in this group, finding that eight of the earliest sequences were identical, and that infected people were linked to the Huanan market. This suggests an outbreak there, according to the report.

However, researchers also found that these genomes varied slightly from those in a few other early cases. Some linked to the market; others did not. This means that the coronavirus might have been spreading under the radar in communities, evolving along the way, and coincidentally occurring in people linked to the market, says the report.

Another possibility is that an outbreak occurred at a farm that provided animals to the market, suggests Holmes. Several infected animals — with slightly different variations of SARS-CoV-2 — might have then been sold at markets in Wuhan, sparking multiple infections in humans.

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