Evidence coronavirus originated in Huanan market is inconclusive 
Share article:
Share article:

Evidence coronavirus originated in Huanan market is inconclusive 

Credits: Belga

Members of an international World Health Organization-led team that travelled to Wuhan to investigate the origins and transmission of the first new coronavirus (Covid-19) have been unable to find conclusive evidence that it originated at the Huanan Fishmarket in Wuhan.

Evidence found initial samples of the virus preceding the cases connected to the Huanan market outbreak, said the international team dispatched by the World Health Organisation during Tuesday’s press conference to release its first findings. 

Representatives from the team explained that this diversity of data sequences that was already present in the region provides evidence of un-sampled links of transmissions in other places.

Related News



The experts also highlighted that there is inconclusive evidence about which animal served as the intermediary host that transmitted Sars-Cov-2 directly to humans. 

“Evidence from surveys and targeted studies so far showed that coronaviruses most highly related to Sars-cov-2 are found in bats and pangolins, suggesting these animals may be the reservoir,” said Dr. Liang Wannian, the Head of the Expert Panel of COVID-19 Response Team from China National Health Commission (NHC) during the conference.

Dr Wannian highlighted that the high susceptibility of minks and cats to SARS-CoV-2 suggests there may be additional species of animals – for example, dogs or felines – that act as potential reservoirs.

He added that neither of the viruses identified so far from these species are sufficiently similar to SARS-CoV-2 to serve as the direct progenerator of the virus.

Future research will be needed to understand what animals may have acted as transmitters to humans, said Peter Ben Embarek, the WHO’s food safety and animal disease specialist and chairman of the investigation team.

Wuhan is not a city close to these bat environments, so a direct jump from bats to the city of Wuhan is not very likely,” he added. “We tried to find what other species were moving in and out of the city that could have contributed to the virus transmission, particularly to the market.

During the experts’ four-week stay in Wuhan from January to February 2021, the team focused on understanding what happened at the beginning of the outbreak of this virus in December 2019, and looked into a possible previous history, to discover whether the first date of transmission happened earlier.

In parallel, the team, composed of 17 international and 17 Chinese and experts, tried to understand how the spread of this virus within the Hubei region happened and how the virus emerged and was introduced in human populations.

The aim of this research was also to help improve global preparedness against SARS-CoV-2 and to prevent further emergence of zoonotic diseases and their spreading and causing further pandemics.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Brussels and Liège residents invited to sleep rough to raise awareness for homeless
As temperatures dip below freezing, sleeping on the streets becomes potentially life-threatening, even without factoring in the myriad other hazards ...
Belgium in Brief: Delta, Gamma… Omicron?
Since June, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is no longer calling newly-discovered coronavirus "variants of concern" after the country where they ...
Omicron variant poses ‘very high’ global risk, warns WHO
The Omicron coronavirus variant poses a "very high" global risk for which countries must be well-prepared, said the World Health Organisation (WHO) ...
De Croo: ‘The one certainty that we can rely on is the impact of our personal behaviour’
On Monday morning, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo spoke on La Première radio station about the recently-announced coronavirus measures and, in ...
Booster vaccines already available for all Brussels residents
All residents of the Brussels-Capital Region from 18 years old can make an appointment for a third/booster dose against the coronavirus from this ...
Covid-19 decisions made ‘too hastily’, socialist leader argues
The government is missing a "general lack of method" when it comes to how coronavirus fighting measures are decided on, according to the leader of ...
Aggression against railway staff more than doubled since 2020
In the first three quarters of 2021, the number of reports of aggression against national railway company SNCB's staff has more than doubled compared ...
Intervention hotline 1722 activated following bad weather warnings
Following bad weather warnings from Belgium's Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI), the Federal Public Service (FPS) Home Affairs has ...
Several rush hour train services to be scrapped from Monday
Up to ten peak time trains to and from Brussels will be temporarily cancelled starting from Monday, Belgian railway company SNCB announced this ...
Thousands march in Brussels to raise awareness of violence against women
More than 3,000 people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday afternoon for a national march to raise awareness of violence against women in ...
Efficacy of vaccines against new variant known in a few weeks, virologist says
The efficacy of the current coronavirus vaccines against the new Omicron variant will be clear in one to two weeks, Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst ...
Scientists could have communicated better during pandemic, survey shows
The majority of Flemish people continue to trust scientists, however, only half of them feel scientists communicated understandably during the ...