Scientists finally find the origin of the Corona virus: the first accused raccoon dog

For 3 years, the debate over the origins of the coronavirus pandemic has been between two big ideas, the first that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has leaked to humans directly from a wild animal source, and the second that the pathogen has leaked from a Chinese laboratory.

An international team of virologists, genomics and evolutionary biologists may have finally found important data this week to help fill the gap, according to new research by Emory University, a private research in Atlanta, Georgia.

A new analysis of genetic sequences collected by the team from the Wuhan market, which is the main culprit in the epidemic leak, shows that raccoons sold illegally at the site may have been carrying the virus.

As for the details, according to "", genetic sequences were withdrawn from swabs taken from the stalls of the accused market and near it around the beginning of the epidemic and turned out to represent the first parts of the primary data that researchers from outside Chinese academic institutions and their direct collaborators were able to access.

Late last week, the data was published by researchers from the country's Center for Disease Control and Prevention on an open-access genomic database called GISAID.

Almost coincidentally, scientists in Europe, North America, and Australia discovered the sequences, downloaded them, and then began analyzing them, only to find that they were positive for the coronavirus, and had previously been examined by the same group of Chinese researchers who carried the data to GISAID.

The researchers also found that the data was full of animal genetic material, much of which was identical to the "raccoon dog." Which led the researchers to believe that their findings could indicate the presence of a raccoon infected with the coronavirus in the places where the swabs were taken.

Unlike many other points of discussion that have been discussed in the asset controversy, the new analysis confirms that the genetic data is concrete and clear.

Emory University virologist Angela Rasmussen explained that the latest analysis really reinforces the case of the natural origin of the pandemic.

This is a really strong indication that animals in the market are infected, he said, adding: "There is no other logical explanation."

The new analysis may be the most important in that it provided some of the clearest and most convincing evidence of the natural origin of the virus, which has killed 7 million people in 3 years.
Despite a spiral of data blackouts by Chinese authorities, accusations from the United States, and rampant speculation from around the world, scientists have long held to the idea that the outbreak has purely natural roots.

But that hypothesis lacked key evidence, genetic evidence from China's Wuhan Seafood Market, which could have shown animals sick – organisms for sale there.

The origin of the virus ignited unprecedented tension between the previous US administration and Beijing, after former US President Donald Trump accused the Chinese authorities of covering up information, pointing out that the virus likely leaked from the Wuhan laboratory.

For years, the world and the World Health Organization have been trying to research and deepen in order to find the origin of the pandemic, without a decisive result so far, as China continues to adhere to its position rejecting the leakage of the virus from Wuhan in the center of the country in December 2019.