Covid-19: Study in China’s wet markets claims to have found 18 ‘potentially high-risk’ viruses

An alarming new study has once again put the spotlight on China’s popular wet markets, saying they pose “potentially high risk.”

A new study by scientists around the world has once again put the spotlight on China’s wet markets, warning executives of “another pandemic accident waiting to happen.”

The research, published on November 12, claims to have discovered dozens of persistent viruses in exotic foods in the country’s food industry.

The study, written by scientists from Australia, China, the United States and Belgium, claims to have identified the interspecies transmission of several animal viruses. These included a bat-associated coronavirus in a civet, a porcine pneumovirus found in pangolins, and a bird-linked coronavirus found in porcupines.

The 40-page document, supported by the China’s Key National Research and Development Program, has been published on bioRxiv, an open access website for preprinted scientific studies. It is currently awaiting peer review and publication.

“This study shows exactly why the wildlife trade and live animal markets are such a pandemic accident waiting to happen,” said co-author Edward Holmes, evolutionary biologist at the ‘University of Sydney and recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Science.

“This article also shows that humans regularly transmit their viruses to other animals. There is clearly two-way virus traffic. “

According to The times of the straits, the study of more than a dozen game species marketed as exotic foods in China identified 71 mammalian viruses, considered to be “emerging” viral pathogens. of which 18 were deemed “at potential risk”.

The research did not claim to find anything resembling Sars-CoV-2, which triggered the Covid-19 pandemic, but the authors revealed that the strains carried by the bats are transmitted through the barrier species to infect other animals in “spillover events that risk seeding dangerous epidemics”.

Civets, the species responsible for the spread of SARS in China some 20 years ago, have been found to carry the most disturbing germs.

“Another species leap from civets to humans could easily trigger a major epidemic,” continued Professor Holmes, sounding the alarm for potential virus leaks that could wreak havoc across the planet.

“Animals sold as game in live animal markets carry a wide variety of viral pathogens. The right virus in the right animal at the right time could easily trigger a global pandemic. “

Nanjing Agricultural University professor of veterinary medicine Shuo Su studied 1,725 ​​game animals from 16 species commonly hunted and eaten in 19 provinces on the mainland.

According to the report, of the dozens of mammalian viruses identified over the past five years, 45 had not been previously identified.

“With the exception of pangolins, there has been little investigation of game, although they have close contact with humans and domestic animals and therefore provide a link to other wildlife.” , said the authors.

The new allegations add yet another twist to the ongoing research into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are currently two major theories that the virus was transmitted to humans at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, where it escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology as a laboratory-made disease.

The World Health Organization’s report on the origins of the pandemic previously suggested that transmission by pangolins and bats was the most likely source.

However, new evidence suggests that none of the species were sold in Wuhan before the outbreak of Covid.

Researchers and commentators around the world have suggested Covid was designed to be hyper-infectious – but China has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

In September, new findings revealed that U.S. leaders were warned of a new coronavirus circulating in Wuhan five months before the World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic.

According to Chinese whistleblower Wei Jingsheng, this crucial early warning – which came six long weeks before China admitted an epidemic had occurred – fell on deaf ears. Repeated attempts by the former Chinese Communist Party insider to warn the world of the impending deadly crisis have been ignored.

“I felt they weren’t as worried as I was, so I did my best to provide more details and information,” Jingsheng said in the Sky News documentary, What really happened in Wuhan.

“They may not believe that a government of a country would do something like this (cover up a virus), so I kept repeating myself in an effort… to persuade them.”

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