A World Health Organization (WHO) draft report finds that coronavirus likely came to human beings from an animal and probably began spreading over a month or two before scientists noticed in December of 2019. Moreover, the joint international team of WHO concluded that the least probable source of the virus: a laboratory leak.
WHO scheduled to release the concluding report about its investigation into the origins of COVID-19 on Tuesday. CNN obtained a drafted version of the report, which shows that there is still no evidence and no smoking gun suggesting the coronavirus was spreading any earlier than the 2019 end.
Additionally, the report gives four probable sources for the deadly virus, and the most possible scenario is through an intermediate animal host, maybe a wild animal captured and then raised on an animal farmhouse. However, the investigation hasn’t found what other animals get the infection from a bat – considered the possible source of the virus – and then it might transmit into a human.
The report also reads the possible intermediate host of COVID-19 remains indefinable. Next possibly is direct transmission from one of the animals that can carry a similar coronavirus, for example, a pangolin or a bat. Probable but not possible is the transmission from frozen or chilled food, and least likely is an accidental laboratory release, the report finds. Dr. Robert Redfield, the former U.S. CDC Director, told Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN that his personal opinion about the origin of the virus was from the lab.
Early cases associated with the China Seafood Market
The report added that several of the earlier cases were related to the Wuhan South China Seafood Wholesale Market, but a similar number of cases were also associated with other markets. Whereas some other cases were not associated with any markets. Transmission of the virus within the broader community in December 2019 could account for coronavirus cases not associated with that market, could suggest that the Chinese market wasn’t the original source of the pandemic outbreak.
So, the role of the Hunan market is unclear. It is possible the seafood market wasn’t the original source of the epidemic. A sampling at the Wuhan market turned up the coronavirus on surfaces but not in samples taken from food or animals sold at the market. In addition, there is evidence that the fatal virus was circulating before the outbreak of the Hunan market – including at other markets.
Furthermore, the report suggests more testing of blood samples taken and stored before the initial COVID-19 outbreak in December, more blood testing of animals from Southeast Asia, and more in-depth study of public gatherings that could support the virus spread. A joint international team comprises seventeen Chinese experts and seventeen experts from other countries, WHO, Response Network, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the Global Outbreak Alert wrote the report. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations contributes as an observer for preparing the report.
The report reads, following preliminary online meetings, the experts conducted a joint study over a twenty-eight-day period from January 14th to February 10th, 2021, in Wuhan city, China. Moreover, the team searched for evidence the virus was circulating in the People’s Republic of China before anyone noticed.