WHO releases report on COVID-19 origin-tracing joint study with China

WHO releases report on COVID-19 origin-tracing joint study with China
  • Clock-gray 19:22
  • calendar-gray 30 March 2021

The report is based largely on a visit by a WHO team of international experts to Wuhan, the Chinese city where COVID-19 was first detected, from mid-January to mid-February, APA reports citing cbc.ca.news.

In the draft obtained by the AP, the researchers listed four scenarios in order of likelihood for the emergence of the coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. Topping the list was transmission from bats through another animal, which they said was likely to very likely. They evaluated direct spread from bats to humans as likely, and said that spread through "cold-chain" food products was possible but not likely.

Bats are known to carry coronaviruses and, in fact, the closest relative of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been found in bats. However, the report says that "the evolutionary distance between these bat viruses and SARS-CoV-2 is estimated to be several decades, suggesting a missing link."

It said highly similar viruses have been found in pangolins, which are another kind of mammal, but also noted that  mink and cats are susceptible to the COVID-19 virus, suggesting they could be carriers, too.

Zumrud Pashkin

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