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Sat Mar 27, 2021, 03:26 PM

MIT Technology Review: No one can find the animal that gave people covid-19 [View all]

https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/03/26/1021263/bat-covid-coronavirus-cause-origin-wuhan/amp/

A reasoned, dispassionate article without any hint of conspiracy-theory-mongering, well worth reading for those who are still seeking answers.

by Antonio Regalado
March 26, 2021

A wild-animal trader who caught a strange new virus from a frozen pangolin. A lab worker studying bat viruses who slipped up and sniffed the air under her biosafety hood. A man who suddenly fell ill after collecting bat guano from a cave to use for fertilizer.

Were any of these scenarios what touched off the covid-19 pandemic?

(snip)

A 300-page report from the group is expected soon. It is intended to summarize everything that’s known about the early days of the outbreak and the Chinese effort to locate its source, and it’s likely to forward a favored hypothesis: that the virus, SARS-CoV-2, reached humans from bats via “an intermediate host species,” such as a wild animal sold as food in Wuhan’s markets.

That’s a reasonable theory: other bat coronaviruses have jumped to humans the same way. In fact, it was the origin of SARS, a similar coronavirus that panicked the world in 2003 when it spread out of southern China and sickened 8,000 people. With SARS, researchers tested caged market animals and quickly found a nearly identical virus in Himalayan palm civet cats and raccoon dogs, which are also eaten locally.

This time, though, the intermediate-host hypothesis has one big problem. More than a year after covid-19 began, no food animal has been identified as a reservoir for the pandemic virus. That’s despite efforts by China to test tens of thousands of animals, including pigs, goats, and geese, according to Liang Wannian, who leads the Chinese side of the research team. No one has found a “direct progenitor” of the virus, he says, and therefore the pandemic “remains an unsolved mystery.”

Much more at link above.

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intrepidity Mar 27 OP
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