So far it has been reported that the coronavirus spreading through China and generating contagion alarms at the international level originated in a local market in Wuhan, however a recent investigation reported in the Lancet, on the first clinical cases casts doubt on such findings.
In view of the celebrations of the Chinese New Year, the authorities of the city of Wuhan, populated by 11 million people, reported that they were facing a “critical stage” of prevention and control against the advance of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) whose first case of infection was reported in early December.
In the document that was made public last Friday by a team of Chinese researchers from various institutions in the scientific journal The Lancet, it was established that of the 41 people who were reported with the infection, the first one did not have a direct relationship with the seafood market where the contagion is believed to have originated, according to the journal Science.
“No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases,” wrote the specialists in the research that ended up concluding that even 13 of the 41 reported cases had no link to the market either.
According to Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist in Wuhan, if the data provided by the new research is accurate, the first infections could have taken place in November or even earlier, since there is a time difference between the incubation of the infection and the appearance of symptoms.
In 2017, scientists had reported that a SARS-like virus could escape from a laboratory that had been established in the city of Wuhan.
By then it was revealed that the laboratory was intended to serve as a research facility for some of the world’s most dangerous pathogens, such as Ebola and SARS, according to the Daily Mail.
As the Daily Mail points out, Maryland biosafety consultant Tim Trevan told Nature magazine the same year that he was concerned that the culture of the Chinese communist regime was causing the institute to be unsafe on the grounds that “structures where everyone feels free to speak and openness of information are important.”
The Wuhan Biosafety Laboratory is located about 20 miles from the Huanan seafood market, and while this has led to speculation about the origin of the virus, the scientific community has suggested that the virus mutated and spread to people via human-animal contact in the market.
Meanwhile, as Science points out, when the outbreak began, the main source of public information came from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission and the first announcements made on Jan. 11 indicated that the 41 people had been infected, a figure that remained unchanged until Jan. 18.
The announcements also did not directly identify the seafood market as the main source of the infection, but instead pointed out that there was evidence that the infection was person-to-person, and that most of the cases were linked to the market.
Since the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission had confirmed all 41 cases before Jan. 10 and officials supposedly knew what the patients’ history was, “China must have realized that the epidemic did not originate in that Wuhan Huanan seafood market,” Lucey said.
Kristian Anderson, an evolutionary biologist at Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, has been working on analyzing 2019 n-CoV sequences to try to clarify its origin, he said, “The scenario of somebody being infected outside the market and then later bringing it to the market is one of the three scenarios we have considered that is still consistent with the data. (…) It’s entirely plausible given our current data and knowledge,” Anderson said, according to Science.
In a report released Jan. 25, Anderson suggested that as a result of his analysis of 27 available 2019 n-CoV genomes “they had a more recent common ancestor,” indicating that they shared a common source as early as Oct. 1.
Meanwhile, Bin Cao, a pulmonary specialist at Capital Medical University in Beijing and author of the article published in The Lancet, wrote in an e-mail to Science that he and the other co-authors of the paper appreciated Lucey’s criticism.
“Now it seems clear that [the] seafood market is not the only origin of the virus. But to be honest, we still do not know where the virus came from now,” Cao said.
Regarding the increasing number of people affected in China, in a recent video uploaded to the Internet a woman wearing a mask that covers her entire head reported that the figures estimated by the government of the Chinese regime far exceed the number of people infected, with an estimated 90,000.
The woman, who claims to be a resident nurse in Wuhan, said:,”I am in the area where the coronavirus started. I am here to tell the truth,” she said, adding that the estimated number of people infected contrasts with the 1,979 people who have been registered by officials.