Coronavirus did not come from a lab but was brought to the Wuhan wet market by humans, according to new research published this month. Scientists examining how to stop future pandemics found the virus that causes Covid-19 had already pre-adapted to human transmission and was ‘imported’ into the market by humans. The team said that because the market was decontaminated
so quickly after the virus flared, it would not be possible to pinpoint how it jumped from bats to humans but stressed it would be ‘safer to more extensively limit human activity that leads to frequent or prolonged contact with wild animals and their habitats.’ The paper, titled SARS-CoV-2 is well adapted for humans, was written by Shing Hei Zhan, Benjamin Deverman and Yujia Alina Chan – although it has yet to be peer-reviewed.
The team took a side-by-side comparison at how coronaviruses evolved looking at SARS and what we know as Covid-19.
The report’s abstract read: ‘We were surprised to find that SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) resembles SARS-CoV in the late phase of the 2003 epidemic after SARS-CoV had developed several advantageous adaptations for human transmission.
‘Our observations suggest that by the time SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in late 2019, it was already pre-adapted to human transmission to an extent similar to late epidemic SARS-CoV. ‘However, no precursors or branches of evolution stemming from a less human-adapted SARS-CoV-2-like virus have been detected. ‘The sudden appearance of a highly infectious SARS-CoV-2 presents a major cause for concern that should motivate stronger international efforts to identify the
source and prevent near future re-emergence.’ The paper, published on biorxiv.org, concluded that there was still considerable debate among the scientific community, as well as the wider public, as to whether the coronavirus originated from the Wuhan market. China’s disease control website said the first sources were detected in samples taken from the wet market and originated from animals sold there.