March 17, 2023 at 21:38
CNN —There’s a tantalizing new clue in the hunt for the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They do not prove that raccoon dogs were infected with SARS-CoV-2, nor do they prove that raccoon dogs were the animals that first infected people.
Raccoon dogs, like one shown here, were known to be traded at the market in Wuhan, China.
These three scientists, who have been digging into the origins of the pandemic, were interviewed by reporters for The Atlantic magazine.
Previous studies provided evidence that the virus likely emerged naturally in market, but could not point to a specific origin.
The group heard from Chinese scientists who had originally studied the sequences, as well as the group of international scientists taking a fresh look at them.
“We continue to call on China to be transparent in sharing data and to conduct the necessary investigations and share results.
Raccoon dogs can be infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 and have been high on the list of suspected animal hosts for the virus.
“What they found is molecular evidence that animals were sold at that market.
And also that some of the animals that were there were susceptible to SARS-CoV2 infection, and some of those animals include raccoon dogs,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, in Friday’s briefing.
Van Kerkhove said that until the international scientific community is able to review more evidence, “all hypotheses remain on the table.”More evidence for a natural origin?
She said in the course of its investigation into the pandemic’s origins, WHO had repeatedly asked China for studies to trace the animals back to their source farms.