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Dozens of wild animals were sold in the markets of Wuhan before the Kovid epidemic


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Beijing| Two years before the outbreak of the Kovid epidemic, dozens of wild animals were sold in the markets of Wuhan province of China, which are likely to contain such pathogens. Humans can also become infected with them. This claim has been made in a new study.

The study was led by an international team of researchers from China West Normal University in China, Oxford University in the UK and the University of British Columbia in Canada.

In the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers documented 47,381 animals in 38 species, including 31 protected species, that were sold in markets in Wuhan between May 2017 and November 2019.

The findings of the study showed that 33 of these have reportedly been infected with zoonotic pathogens in wild populations, markets or farms in China since 2009.

In addition, researchers found sales of mink, palm civet and raccoon dogs in Wuhan, but did not find evidence of sales of pangolins or bats. The masked palm civet (Paguma lavarta) was the host involved in the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Bats have been considered as a possible source of the infectious coronavirus disease, which has claimed 37.6 lakh lives so far.

“The species that were traded are capable of hosting a wide range of infectious zoonotic diseases or disease-carrying parasites aside from COVID-19,” the researchers wrote. These range from potentially fatal viruses, eg rabies, SFTS, H5N1, to common bacterial infections that represent a risk to human health (eg, streptococcus).

On January 26, 2020, the Chinese government temporarily banned all wildlife trade until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has permanently banned the eating and trading of terrestrial wild (non-livestock) animals for food since February last year.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) investigated China’s role in the origins of the COVID pandemic. Experts retrospectively tried to find out what wildlife was being sold at local markets in the region. Their findings were inconclusive and the markets were completely closed for four months at that time.

Various scientists and experts around the world have piled up circumstantial evidence pointing to the theory that the coronavirus may have originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China.

US President Joe Biden last month ordered the intelligence community to try again to investigate how the virus originated, including the laboratory accident theory. He has asked the agencies to report to them within 90 days how the virus finally emerged.

On the other hand, China has dismissed the theory of Corona’s exit from the Wuhan lab as highly improbable and accused the US of political manipulation.

–IANS

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