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An international team of researchers has confirmed that live animals sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market were the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Confirming that the source was an animal-human interface shows policy makers where to focus to help reduce the risk of future pandemics resulting from similar source conditions.

Led by University of Arizona virus evolution expert Michael Worobey, international teams of researchers traced the start of the pandemic to a market in Wuhan, China, where foxes, raccoon dogs and other live mammals susceptible to the virus were sold live immediately before the pandemic began.

The findings have been peer reviewed and virtually eliminate alternative scenarios that have been suggested as origins of the pandemic. Moreover, the authors conclude that the first spread to humans from animals likely occurred in two separate transmission events in the Huanan market in late November 2019.

The animals being sold at the Huanan market, were probably infected by coronavirus-carrying bats in the wild or on farms in China.

Moving forward, the researchers say scientists and public officials should seek better understanding of the wildlife trade in China and elsewhere and promote more comprehensive testing of live animals sold in markets to lower the risk of future pandemics.

More details.

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