Studies show COVID likely came from Wuhan market, not lab



Reposting a thread by Dr Angela Rasmussen on “The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic” which she co-authored



What did the studies show?

The first paper examined the spatial pattern of COVID-19 cases in the outbreak’s first month, December 2019.

The second study looked at an apparent discrepancy in the virus’s early evolution. Scientists found there were two lineages, A and B, of the virus early in the pandemic.

Researchers used a technique called “molecular clock analysis,” which counts genetic mutations to build a timeline of evolution.

What do the findings mean?

Evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona, who co-authored both papers, had previously urged the scientific community to be more open to the possibility that the virus had spread as a result of a laboratory leak.

Worobey said the recent findings had moved him “to the point where now I also think it’s just not plausible that this virus was introduced any other way than through the wildlife trade at the Wuhan market.”

He said the idea that the market was not the origin, given that the two studies indicated as much, was as improbable as lightning striking twice in the same place.

Co-author Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research, based near San Diego in the United States, said the findings did not disprove the lab-leak theory but gave a plausible explanation for the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in humans.

“All this evidence tells us the same thing: It points right to this particular market in the middle of Wuhan,” said Andersen, a professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology.

“I was quite convinced of the lab leak myself until we dove into this very carefully and looked at it much closer,” Andersen said.


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