A new report indicates that the deadly Chinese coronavirus may not actually have originated at a wet market in Wuhan

A new report indicates that the deadly Chinese coronavirus may not actually have originated at a wet market in Wuhan

wuhan virus

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Passengers who just arrived on a train from Wuhan, China are screened for coronavirus in Beijing.

  • New research argues that the deadly Wuhan coronavirus may not have originated at a wet market in the city, as previously thought.
  • A report published in The Lancet medical journal found that in 41 cases of the virus in Wuhan, only 13 cases were linked to the market.
  • The first reported case of the virus was also not linked to the market, according to Science, which cited The Lancet report.
  • Previously it was widely believed that humans caught the virus from animals such as bats and snakes in a wet market in Wuhan, where meat is sold alongside live animals in poorly regulated conditions.
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New research suggests that the deadly Wuhan coronavirus that has killed 81 people and infected more than 2,700 may not have originated from the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan.Experts said last week that the virus is zoonotic, meaning it is passed from animals to humans.
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It was widely believed that humans caught the virus from animals such as bats and snakes in a wet market in Wuhan, where meat is sold alongside live animals, often in poorly regulated conditions.

wet market china dog

David Wong/South China Morning Post/Getty

Dog meat stalls in Dongkou, China's biggest wet market, June 21, 2014.

However a new report conducted by a large group of Chinese scientists and published in The Lancet medical journal on Friday challenges this theory.
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The research found that the virus could have originated elsewhere before entering the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market.

Looking in detail at the cases of 41 patients infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus, scientists found that the first reported case of the virus from 1 December had no link to the wet market, according to Science, which cited The Lancet's report. The report also found that 13 of the 41 cases studied had no link to the marketplace.
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"That's a big number, 13 with no link," Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Georgetown told Science.

china wuhan masks virus

Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Health care members make first aid to people as they cover their faces with sanitary masks after the first cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Hong Kong in Hong Kong.

Lucey said it is possible the first cases may have occurred back in November, and could have spread without detection among people before the virus was detected in the first group of cases from the wet market, according to Science.
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It is still not clear whether the virus came from the market or not, but the latest research says there is a possibility that it did not.

One way to establish for certainty whether the virus originated from the market would be to take samples from the animals in the market - but the market has now been cleared and disinfected, according to The Conversation.

The Wuhan Health Authority closed down the market on January 1, and banned the trade of live animals at wet markets last Wednesday.
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The virus has since spread to 12 countries including the US, Australia, Japan and Thailand.
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