Wall Street Times

Covid-19 source remains unknown; studies link raccoon dogs

Image Commercially Licensed from: Unsplash
Image Commercially Licensed from: Unsplash

Covid-19The Covid-19 virus caused a worldwide crisis in 2020, wreaking havoc on the planet and having long-term consequences.

While a vaccine is now available to tackle the virus, its origins remain unknown, which normally provokes heated political controversy.

Regardless of the virus’s origins, research has mostly concentrated on the pandemic’s roots in animal viral spillover.

There is no convincing evidence that the virus was purposefully or unintentionally spilled from a lab.


The intelligence community in the United States is split on which scenario is more believable.

The FBI and the Department of Energy are veering more toward a lab-leaked viral infection.

The National Intelligence Council, on the other hand, thinks Covid-19 spontaneously emerged.

The majority of agencies, however, have reached a dubious judgment.

According to the National Intelligence Council, the intelligence community’s available evidence on which to make its estimates was suspect, fragmented, or limited.

As US President Biden signed legislation on March 20 requiring the declassification of official material on the virus’s origin within 90 days, the relevant intelligence may soon become public.

Although ideas abound, a Genetic study appears to fit the overflow puzzle, with the raccoon dog at the heart.

The latest evidence

During a news conference on March 17, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus downplayed Covid-19’s roots to a bare minimum.

“These data do not provide a definitive answer to how the pandemic began,” he said.

“But every piece of data is important to moving us closer to that answer.”

The first human cases of Covid-19 were detected in Wuhan, China, at the Huanon Seafood Wholesale Market.

Environmental tests from the market’s southwest contained both animal genetic material and coronavirus in 2020.

Live animals were also sold on the corner.

A computational scientist named Alex Crits-Christoph and his international colleagues discovered virus-positive specimens on the DNA of the common raccoon dog.

The Asian fox-like animal is susceptible to coronavirus infections, notably SARDS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

According to the experts, the virus may have spread from bats to raccoon dogs or other animals in the area before infecting humans.

The presence of animal and coronavirus residues in the same samples supports their idea.

On March 20, the findings were published on Zenodo, a platform that allows academics to discuss unpublished research findings with their colleagues.

Read also: COVID testing for Chinese arrivals ends


Crits-Christoph and his colleagues conducted the current study using publicly accessible genetic data supplied by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in early March.

The data is connected to a preliminary Chinese CDC investigation from February 2022, allowing researchers to zero in on an animal stand in the market’s southwest with the highest number of virus-positive samples.

In the stall, a cart sample included a large amount of genetic material from raccoon dogs, ducks, and other animals.

The absence of human DNA in the sample shows that the animals came into touch with the coronavirus.

According to the study, raccoon dogs (or other animals) might have carried the coronavirus from bats to humans.


While the data appears to be compelling, Tedros adds that the findings do not support the concept of spillover.

The appearance of DNA from both animals and coronaviruses in samples simply shows that they are related.

Yet, the spillover idea remains speculative.

It’s unknown if the animals in the stalls were infected with Covid-19 or spread it to humans.

A positive swab from a healthy market animal in late November or December 2019 would have been perfect, but it is now hard to get.

The diseased animals were most certainly gone when inspectors inspected the sale in early 2020.

Covid-19 has since developed, morphing in humans to become alpha, delta, and omicron variations, which in turn have produced more variants.

Animals are also creating Covid-19.

Coronaviruses seen in animals today (or two years ago) would not resemble SARS-CoV-2 by the end of 2019, and so they would not match.

“It’s like a cold criminal case,” said the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis epidemiologist Michael Osterholm.

“There may be mounting evidence that, you know, John Doe did it. But not conclusive enough to try John Doe for the crime.”