The World Health Organization (WHO) has completed a study that investigated the exact origin of SARS-CoV-2, the variant of the new coronavirus that became the covid-19 pandemic. The full report is not due until the end of March this year, but ecologist Peter Daszak, who participated in the survey, shared a preview of the results with NPR.
According to the expert, who traveled to China, there is strong evidence that confirms initial hypotheses about the first contaminations. The new coronavirus was probably born from the consumption of meat from animals that were infected by bats.
The animals in question are wild animals that have lived on farms legalized by the Chinese government for at least two decades, possibly in the Yunnan region. These locations have helped to reduce poverty in the region and often supply what is sold in seafood markets like the one in Huanan, in Wuhan, the epicenter of the human pandemic.
Finding the point of origin
WHO research should put an end to conspiracy theories that the virus was created in the laboratory, for example. The team’s main discovery was that of a bat in the southern Yunnan region of the country, which was infected with a virus “96% similar” to SARS-CoV-2.
The next step in the study is to determine exactly which animal was infected by another species and, ultimately, ended up consumed by humans. The exotic animals suspected of transmission to humans are the aforementioned pangolin and the civet, a mammal that was also responsible for the latest SARS epidemic, in 2007.
The market in the Wuhan region concentrated a high variety of products and was closed in February 2020 after an increase in cases similar to pneumonia was registered in the region.