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COVID-19’s first identified case was a vendor from Wuhan ‘moist market,’ Arizona scientist says, refuting WHO report

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An Arizona-based scientist believes the primary identified case of COVID-19 was from a vendor at a Wuhan animal moist market and never an accountant who reported signs a lot later and lived miles away from the market as was beforehand reported.  

The examine by Dr. Michael Worobey, an evolutionary biologist on the College of Arizona, was revealed Thursday within the journal Science. The brand new examine comes amid swirling questions concerning the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, a subject that has bitterly divided the nation for months.

A normal view exhibits the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, the place the primary cluster of {cases} of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) emerged, in Wuhan, Hubei province, , China, January 15, 2021.
(Reuters)

Worobey primarily based his conclusions on public information and studies of early COVID-19 {cases} in China. He decided {that a} vendor on the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was the primary identified affected person to contract the illness and that half of the early {cases} have been linked to the market. 

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“[T]he most early symptomatic {cases} have been linked to Huanan Market—particularly the western part the place racoon canines have been caged—gives sturdy proof of a live-animal market origin of the pandemic,” Worobey wrote in an summary of the examine.

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In February 2020, Wuhan authorities mentioned that they had recognized the primary COVID affected person as a male accountant who fell sick on Dec. 8, 2019 and had no hyperlink to the market. And earlier this yr, the WHO visited China and interviewed the accountant whom they described in March 2021 because the first-known case. 

In this Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, photo, medical workers treat patients in the isolated intensive care unit at a hospital in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province. 

On this Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, picture, medical employees deal with sufferers within the remoted intensive care unit at a hospital in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province. 
(Chinatopix through AP)

The March report, which has come below fireplace for a number of errors, concluded that COVID-19 probably unfold to folks from an animal spillover, however it didn’t say definitively whether or not the Wuhan moist market was the source

In his examine, Worobey mentioned the accountant’s sickness reported on Dec. 8, 2019, was doubtless a dental drawback associated to child enamel that he had retained into maturity. He cited hospital information that pinpoint the person’s COVID-19 onset date as Dec. 16, 2019 – 5 days after the moist market vendor contracted the illness.  

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Per The New York Times, a number of specialists have endorsed Worobey’s findings. However the publication will doubtless do little to settle the query as soon as and for all the place the outbreak started, a thriller that has spurned geopolitical debates.

Security personnel gather near the entrance of the Wuhan Institute of Virology during a visit by the World Health Organization team in Wuhan in China's Hubei province on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. 

Safety personnel collect close to the doorway of the Wuhan Institute of Virology throughout a go to by the World Well being Group staff in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. 
(AP)

One of many greatest proponents of investigating a lab leak idea, is Alina Chan, a postdoctoral researcher on the Broad Institute of MIT. She has mentioned any definitive conclusion could be inadequate until researchers had information going again to at the very least November 2019. 

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“That is like attempting to guess the form of an iceberg when you may solely see what’s above the floor,” Chan tweeted in response to the publication of Worobey’s examine. 

“The place are the November case information?” she mentioned. “We all know that by December there had been a superspreader occasion on the seafood market and {cases} numbered within the a whole lot.” 

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In latest months, some officers within the Biden administration have expressed extra openness to the possibility of the lab leak idea.

Over the summer time, the director-general of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, mentioned it was “untimely” to dismiss the speculation that the virus escaped from Wuhan’s Institute of Virology and referred to as on China to offer “direct info on what the scenario of those labs was earlier than and at the beginning of the pandemic.” 



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