Two recently published studies have reached a similar conclusion, with the network saying the Hunan seafood market in Wuhan, China, may be the epicenter of the emerging coronavirus outbreak.CNNnewsletter.
Both studies were published online as preliminary publications in February, but have now been peer-reviewed, ahead of their publication on Tuesday in the journal Science.
Peer review is the process of evaluating a study or activity carried out by competent and competent researchers to ensure the quality and accuracy of studies conducted by other researchers.
In one of the two studies, scientists from around the world used mapping tools and social media reports to conduct a spatial and ecological analysis, saying the virus could be present in live animals sold in markets, “although the exact conditions are unclear.” Late 2019.
Live and freshly slaughtered animals were kept close to each other so that viruses and germs could easily spread and exchange between them, but the study did not indicate whether the animals became ill.
The researchers concluded that the first cases of Covid-19 were concentrated in the market among vendors who sold these live animals or those who shopped there, and they believe two different strains of the virus are circulating in animals that can be transmitted to humans. .
“All eight cases of COVID-19 were detected before December 20 in the western part of the market, where some animal and mammal carcasses were also sold,” the study said.
“The locations of infections in the marketplace are well defined,” said Christian Anderson, a professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research Institute and co-author of the study.
Study co-author Michael Worby, chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, explained that the “extraordinary” pattern that emerged from mapping these cases was very clear.
Worby noted that the researchers mapped early cases that had no connection to the market, and that these people lived or worked near the market.
Worubi said this was “an indication that the virus started spreading among those working in the market, but then it spread to the surrounding community, where vendors went to local shops and people who worked in those shops became infected.”
Another approach… and similar results
The other study takes another approach, aiming to determine when the first infections of the emerging coronavirus spread from animals to humans.
The research shows that the first version of the coronavirus came in different forms, often called A and B, because the strains spread to humans through organisms as a result of at least two events.
Researchers believe that animal-to-human transmission may have occurred since November 18, 2019, and may have come from type B, which was found only in people who had direct contact with the Huanan market.
Because A was detected in samples from people who lived or stayed near the market, the researchers also suspected that strain A was introduced to humans from an animal within weeks or days of a type B infection.
In this regard, Joel Wertheim, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, said, “These results indicate that the emerging coronavirus is unlikely to have spread widely among humans before November 2019.”
He continued, “Therefore, this helps define the short interval between when this coronavirus first spread to humans and the time when the first cases of Covid-19 disease were reported.”
“Like other coronaviruses, the origin of the emerging coronavirus could be caused by multiple animal conditions,” he pointed out, acknowledging that the likelihood of such a virus emerging from two separate events is low.
And Wertheim added, “Now, I realized that an event happens twice in a row once every generation, and that epidemics are really rare, but if all the conditions are created, the corona could be an animal virus. Capable of infecting humans and humans.
For his part, Anderson believes that the two studies do not disprove the theory of the virus leaking from the Wuhan laboratory: “But these studies are so convincing that I have changed my opinion about the origin of the virus,” noted Animal. The market is responsible for the spread of the virus, not the Wuhan Virology Laboratory.
And he continued, “I was completely convinced that the theory of leakage from the lab was implausible, until we looked at it very carefully and looked at it closely, based on the data and analysis I had done on many viruses over the last decade. , I convinced myself that the data actually pointed to the problem.
Worby agrees with Anderson because he considers the laboratory spillover theory possible, explaining: “But the epidemiological dominance of market-related cases is not an illusion, but a real thing. It is not fair to introduce this virus in any way. Except for the wildlife trade.”
To reduce the chances of future epidemics, researchers hope to be able to determine which animal may have been infected first and how it was infected, and in this regard, Wertheim believes that “the source elements of a zoonotic virus with the potential for an epidemic are still hidden in the wild,” expressing his belief that animal and human The world needs to do a much better job of monitoring other threats to health.
For his part, Andersen emphasized that “while an outbreak cannot be prevented, collaboration between the world’s scientists is key to making a difference and to early detection of any outbreak so it does not become an epidemic.”
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