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More than 47,000 wildlife sold in the Wuhan market before the epidemic of the new coronavirus, studies show

Two and a half years before the first confirmed Covid-19 cluster was discovered, new studies show that more than 47,000 wild animals were sold in Wuhan, China, and the coronavirus naturally emerges from animals. Significant new evidence has been shown to humans that it may have spread.

Published in Open access journal Scientific ReportsWildlife, including 31 protected species, were often slaughtered on the market and stored in a cramped and unsanitary environment where the virus could jump over the species. ..

According to scientists, these animals contained at least four species Can carry the Covid-19 virus— Shibetsu, Mink, Anaguma, Raccoon — According to research by researchers at Xihua Normal University, Oxford University, and the University of British Columbia, Canada.

A study published on Monday also showed for the first time that many of Wuhan’s wildlife trades are illegal and have not been subject to compulsory testing of the health and origin of the animals sold.

“Almost all animals were alive, placed in cage alive cages and sold in piles,” the newspaper said. “Most stores offer on-site slaughter services that have had a significant impact on food hygiene and animal welfare.”

Some scientists, including the head of a team led by the World Health Organization investigating the origin of Covid-19, have previously shared the data collected between May 2017 and November 2019. I wondered if it wasn’t there.

The two authors told The Wall Street Journal that the paper had been peer-reviewed for several months and could not share the findings with a team led by WHO. One said it was rejected by several other magazines, suggesting that it was considered a “hot potato”.

Team led by WHO Visit Wuhan earlier this year After inspecting the location, including the South China Food Market, where many of the earliest Covid-19 cases were found in December 2019, Chinese authorities have announced that they are likely to be wild meat sold there.

Team announced in March No evidence was found that live mammals were sold in the market, and market officials said all wildlife traded there was legal. They also visited Wuhan’s Baishazhou Market. However, he said there was no evidence that wildlife was being sold there.

The Scientific Reports treatise depicts a completely different situation.

It is based on a survey of 17 stores in four different markets in Wuhan (including South China and Baishazhou) as part of a survey of the spread of tick-borne disease in animals.

The subjects of the survey were seven stores in South China with pictures of live bamboo rats, hedgehogs, marmots, raccoon dogs, and pig badgers, and Hakushashu, which supplies products to many Wuhan vendors including South China. There are two stores in.

A total of 47,381 wildlife of 38 species were sold in 17 stores, all but seven of which are protected by Chinese law, the newspaper said. However, no one sold bats or pangolins (mammals that eat scaly ants identified by a team led by WHO). Potential intermediate host..

China’s National Health Commission and Wuhan Municipal Government did not respond to requests for comment. Chinese officials have suggested that the source of the virus is not China in recent weeks and have called on WHO to investigate potential early cases in other countries.

Food safety expert Peter Ben Enbarek, who leads a team led by WHO, said the new treatise “identifies suspicious things.” “Not only farmed wildlife products, but also live animals. It was on sale. “

However, what is important is that it does not indicate whether such animals are still present when the spillover is likely to occur in November 2019, or contains detailed information about animals in each market. “I hope you can see the monthly numbers, but I’m sure the author has the information,” he said. “I don’t know why the information wasn’t shared before.”

Zhao-min Zhou, a researcher at China West Normal University, who co-authored the treatise, said the treatise was still awaiting peer review and was not shared with a team led by WHO.

“We didn’t want to disclose it to other parties,” he said, until the peer reviewer considered it ready.

Another author, Chris Newman, a science consultant at Oxford University, said the treatise was submitted to journals early last year but was rejected by several journals, including those that required a long review process. It was submitted to Scientific Reports in October and accepted in May. Scientific Reports shares a publisher with Nature.

“This seems to be a globally important dataset, and I wanted someone to snap it into use,” Dr. Newman said.

“I continued to receive these refusal letters. They all said it was a very niche and no one considered this data to be of global relevance. None of them. I wasn’t enthusiastic at all. I don’t know if they considered it a hot potato. “He said the Chinese co-author was not allowed to publish on the preprint server. Preprint The server does not require peer reviews.

A Scientific Reports spokeswoman said, “The time between submission and acceptance of a treatise can vary significantly as it incorporates editorial evaluation, peer review, and one or more peer review and author revisions. Once the process was completed and the treatise was accepted by the journal for publication, the article was published within two weeks. “

The publication of this treatise was made in the face of growing calls for a complete investigation of alternative hypotheses regarding the origin of the virus. Spilled from Wuhan Institute It was experimenting with the coronavirus found in bats.

The World Health Organization’s mission to Wuhan stated that the coronavirus is most likely to spread naturally to humans through animals. The WSJ’s Jeremy Page describes what scientists learned during weeks of research. I am reporting. Photo: Thomas Peter / Reuters (Video from 2/9/21)

Most scientists believe that the virus is likely to have spread naturally from animals to humans, but so far it has identified the ancestors of the virus and the species that may have acted as vectors. I couldn’t do it.

This treatise provides the most powerful clues to date.

“It’s a real smoking gun,” said Robert Gary, a virologist at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He wasn’t involved in the study, but consistently denied the laboratory’s hypothesis. One of the scientists doing.

“This report is clear [SARS-CoV-2]-Sensitive animals are snapping in the middle of Wuhan, “he said, adding the list of mammals included in the study as a” virtual Who’s Who “of creatures that could carry the Covid-19 virus. explained.

He also suggested that the WHO-led team’s report did not include data, as investigations revealed that 17 stores were selling wildlife illegally. Other scientists wondered why the data supporting the spillover effect of live animals on the market was not shared earlier.

“We have found that these animals are certainly there and that these conditions are useful in establishing their validity,” said Aris Katzourakis, a professor of viral evolution at Oxford University. “I don’t know why a statement of the fact that there are certain animals in the market has to wait for peer review, but it’s quite possible that politics is taking place here.”

China has long banned the trade of certain wildlife, including endangered species, but has allowed the breeding and trade of other licensed wildlife as long as it passes hygiene inspections.

According to the newspaper, 13 of the stores surveyed had submitted the necessary permits from the Wuhan Forestry Bureau to allow the sale of wild animals such as pheasants, Siamese crocodile, Indian peafowl, and Amur hedgehog.

However, no one has posted the necessary proof of the animal’s origin or the quarantine to confirm that it is not ill, the paper added.

“Therefore, all wildlife trade was basically illegal,” he said.

Wuhan City and the Forestry Bureau did not respond to requests for comment.

Approximately 30% of the six species surveyed were injured by gunshots and traps, suggesting that they were illegally captured, a Scientific Reports paper states. These species include badgers and raccoon dogs, both of which can carry the Covid-19 virus.

“WHO reports that market officials have stated that all live and frozen animals sold in the South China market were purchased from officially licensed farms for breeding and quarantine, and therefore. No illegal wildlife trade was identified. “

“But in reality, it is impossible to make this decision because China does not have the authority to regulate animal trade conducted by small businesses and individuals.”

In February last year, it praised Chinese authorities for taking steps such as permanently banning the trade and edible consumption of most terrestrial wildlife.

However, he said further steps are needed to identify species that cannot be legally traded and to change the attitudes of consumers of wildlife products in China.

“Adopting these more responsible practices has the potential to save countless lives in the future,” he said.

Investigate the origin of Covid-19

Write to Jeremy Page jeremy.page@wsj.com, Drew Hinsho draw.hinshaw@wsj.com And Betsy McKay betsy.mckay + 1@wsj.com

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More than 47,000 wildlife sold in the Wuhan market before the epidemic of the new coronavirus, studies show

Source link More than 47,000 wildlife sold in the Wuhan market before the epidemic of the new coronavirus, studies show

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