NEW DELHI: We still don't know where the SAR-CoV-2 virus came from after more than two years of the COVID pandemic. There are various hypotheses as to where it came from, such as a lab or a market in Wuhan.
A recent development, however, contradicts that. Raccoon dog DNA was found infected with the virus in genetic material gathered at a Chinese market close to where the first human instances of COVID-19 were discovered, supporting the idea that the virus originated from animals.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, "These data do not provide a conclusive answer as to how the pandemic began, but every piece of data is vital to moving us closer to that answer."
According to The New York Times, the World Health Organization censured Chinese officials for suppressing scientific data that would shed light on the coronavirus's genesis.
The WHO questioned the Chinese official on Friday (local time) about why the information was withheld three years ago and why, after it was posted online in January, it is no longer accessible. A global team of virus experts downloaded and started analysing the material before it disappeared into the internet ether.
Data, according to the research team, is consistent with the theory that the epidemic may have started with illegally traded raccoon dogs that then infected people at China's Wuhan Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
But when the scientists offered to work on the analysis with their Chinese colleagues, the gene sequences were taken out of a database, preventing the team from arriving at the desired conclusion.
The findings provide proof that raccoon dogs, fox-like creatures known to spread coronaviruses, had DNA in the Wuhan market, where genetic markers for the new coronavirus were also found, according to the expert team who was examining the data.
According to some specialists, this discovery raises the possibility that the animals were sick and may have exposed people to the virus.
Also Read: John Wick Star Lance Reddick Passes Away At 60