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New Data Links Pandemic’s Origins to Raccoon Dogs at Wuhan Market

(New York Times) - Truncated

An international team of virus experts said on Thursday that they had found genetic data from a market in Wuhan, China, linking the coronavirus with raccoon dogs for sale there, adding evidence to the case that the worst pandemic in a century could have been ignited by an infected animal that was being dealt through the illegal wildlife trade.

The genetic data was drawn from swabs taken from in and around the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market starting in January 2020, shortly after the Chinese authorities had shut down the market because of suspicions that it was linked to the outbreak of a new virus. By then, the animals had been cleared out, but researchers swabbed walls, floors, metal cages and carts often used for transporting animal cages.

In samples that came back positive for the coronavirus, the international research team found genetic material belonging to animals, including large amounts that were a match for the raccoon dog, three scientists involved in the analysis said.

The jumbling together of genetic material from the virus and the animal does not prove that a raccoon dog itself was infected. And even if a raccoon dog had been infected, it would not be clear that the animal had spread the virus to people. Another animal could have passed the virus to people, or someone infected with the virus could have spread the virus to a raccoon dog.

But the analysis did establish that raccoon dogs — fluffy animals that are related to foxes and are known to be able to transmit the coronavirus — deposited genetic signatures in the same place where genetic material from the virus was left, the three scientists said. That evidence, they said, was consistent with a scenario in which the virus had spilled into humans from a wild animal.

Full story - https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/16/science/covid-wuhan-market-raccoon-dogs-lab-leak.html
Doomflower · M
This reminds me of the book The Plague Dogs.

It was humans experimenting on animals in a lab who released this virus. I am certain of that. What I am not certain of is if it was evil or incompetence that led to the outbreak.

Once again, the outcome is the same.
@Doomflower [quote]they were studying covid in the area where covid happened[/quote] They were studying bat-borne viruses in an area where bats are common. Bats can carry literally 50 viral infections simultaneously without being harmed. How do bats protect themselves? We don't know, but the answer could be very valuable to humanity.

[quote]with the adaptability of a weaponized infection.[/quote] Nah, a 1% overall kill rate, mostly among the over 60 set, isn't a very good weapon. The earlier SARS had a 10% or higher fatality rate.
Doomflower · M
@ElwoodBlues so how many more people did SARS kill? How many countries did it shut down?
@Doomflower SARS hit Asian countries; China, India, South Korea. China kept silent about SARS for the early months, but once SARS hit Hong Kong and spread internationally, nations locked down and masked up fast.

[quote] Over about nine months, from late 2002 until July 2003, a deadly disease known as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, spread from China into 29 countries. It infected 8,096 people, and killed 774, mostly in Asia.

One of the main reasons it had such a large and quick impact was that China failed to notify the World Health Organization until February 2003, several months after the SARS virus was first discovered. [/quote]

Oh, wait, there's more.
[quote] In the United States, only eight people were infected, and no one died. This was partly due to the country being in a heightened state of alert after September 11, and the anthrax postal attacks. Another reason, according to The New York Times, was "sheer good luck."

Toronto, Canada, wasn't so lucky. The city was declared SARS-free in May, but later cases emerged. In the end, 375 people were infected and 44 people died. Up to 80% of small Asian-owned businesses' income was estimated to be lost because of racist boycotting.

But in relative terms, Hong Kong got it the worst. Along with a recession due to the city coming to a standstill, 1,755 people were infected, and 299 people died. [/quote]
Piper · 61-69, F
I'd like to think that this possibility would lead to at least [i]less[/i] horrendous treatment of raccoon dogs and other animals that have been 'linked' to this virus, but I doubt that will happen.
Ynotisay · M
@Piper They see animals there in a very different light.
Piper · 61-69, F
@Ynotisay Not just in China, of course, by a long shot.
pdqsailor1 · 61-69, M
The problem is they will eat ... anything...
Ynotisay · M
@pdqsailor1 You're right. I think it's part cultural and part necessity.
pdqsailor1 · 61-69, M
@Ynotisay In the bible they speak of which domesticated animals are suitable for food - the details written in the book of Leviticus. and there are rules and standards that some of us have followed for thousands of years.. We raise chickens, ducks geese, cows, sheep, goats we speak of the standards for sea food as to what foods are permitted and which are not permitted... (others raise other animals) .. and the Chinese to a large extent do this as well but far from exclusively so to our chagrin they eat cat, dog, and any and every manner of other thing... and something like this happens and their alternate path.. creates a pandemic for which they accept zero responsibility... in fact they take umbrage at the mere suggestion that they are responsible for the ruin caused.. When the rules were written - black on white one firm coined a phrase to describe this standard... "we answer to a higher authority"... and those that adhere to this standard do not create pandemics..
kentex35 · 100+, M
Ynotisay · M
@kentex35 You hit it with "weak." And yet they've convinced themselves that they're strong. This whole thing, in my opinion, is the biggest mind fuck in our nation's history. And I don't see how it gets better. The genie is out of the bottle. The strategy will be repeated because it's effective.
kentex35 · 100+, M
@Ynotisay gives a whole new meaning to "the elephant in the room."
samueltyler2 · 80-89, M
@kentex35 the problem, people forget very quickly, and, already, there is talk about abandoning the advances in public health, when politicians want to cut costs, preparedness is one of the first things to go! We need to prepare for the next outbreak, be it respiratory or other!
samueltyler2 · 80-89, M
The story also appeared in The Atlantic. I am trying to find the of original scientific report.
Ynotisay · M
@samueltyler2 I think that's the key issue at play. The data was discovered online. From my understanding, it wasn't intended to be publicly released. When questions started arising the data was scrubbed from whatever platform it was on.
samueltyler2 · 80-89, M
@Ynotisay i will continue to look for it. I think I may have found something. It is in open access government journal Aug 2022. The genetic analysis suggests (scientific lingo saying essentially convinced) that there were at least 2 jumps from animal to human. When I figure out how they post the report I will.

I posted a link to the article. here it is:
doong · 51-55, M
Is it different from just "raccoon" ?

2021 research said raccoon is unlikely the transmitter

pdqsailor1 · 61-69, M
@doong different
Ynotisay · M
@doong This one is pointing to raccoon dogs. They're related to foxes.

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