While the origins of the COVID-19 remain unknown, a likely theory is that wildlife farms in southern China are most likely to blame for seeding the pandemic, according to a World Health Organization member (WHO).
While most scientists believe bats were the source of the virus that would later infect humans, it was unclear how humans contracted the virus linked to bats. Although COVID-19 first became an epidemic in Wuhan, the bats that seeded the virus likely live further south in China. Scientists have identified a bat virus in Yunnan province in the south with a 96% genetic overlap with SARS-CoV-2.
According to WHO member Peter Daszak, bats in southern China could have infected animals living near wildlife farms in southern China, which supplied vendors at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan with animals. The market was an early COVID-19 hotspot. It is also possible that farmers became infected and played a role in spreading the virus.
The wildlife farms bred animals “known to carry coronaviruses, such as civet cats,” Daszak told NPR. Asian palm civets harbored the original SARS-CoV virus.
The Chinese government has since shut down both the seafood market and the wildlife farms. China also instructed farmers to destroy the animals in a manner unlikely to spread disease.
Filed Under: Infectious Disease, Uncategorized