Release all Covid-related data after new research: WHO tells China

The World Health Organization (WHO) has asked China to share all the information related to the origin of Covid-19 pandemic this time. The UN health agency said this after new findings were shared on an international database used to track pathogens.

The latest database has shown that the raccoon dog DNA comingled with the virus. New sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as additional genomic data based on samples taken from a live animal market in Wuhan, China in 2020 were briefly uploaded to the GISAID database by Chinese scientists earlier this year, allowing them to be viewed by researchers in other countries.

The sequences suggested that raccoon dogs were present in the market and may have also been infected by the coronavirus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had restricted access to information “apparently to allow further data updates».

Besides, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, «These data do not provide a definitive answer to how the pandemic began, but every piece of data is important to moving us closer to that answer».

The WHO chief had also criticised China for not sharing the genetic information earlier, telling a press briefing that «this data could have and should have been shared three years ago.»

«We continue to call on China to be transparent in sharing data, and to conduct the necessary investigations and share the results,» Tedros added.

Covid pandemic: What the new database says?

The data show that some of the COVID-positive samples collected from a stall known to be involved in the wildlife trade also contained raccoon dog genes, indicating the animals may have been infected by the virus, according to the scientists.

The canines, named for their raccoon-like faces, are often bred for their fur and sold for meat in animal markets across China.

WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove cautioned that the analysis did not find the virus within any animal, nor did it find any hard evidence that any animals infected humans.

«What this does provide is clues to help us understand what may have happened,» she said. The international group also told WHO they found DNA from other animals as well as raccoon dogs in the samples from the seafood market, she added.

The coronavirus’ genetic code is strikingly similar to that of bat coronaviruses, and many scientists suspect Covid-19 jumped into humans either directly from a bat or via an intermediary animal like pangolins, ferrets, or raccoon dogs.

Past theories on Covid origin

Before the raccoon dog’s theory, some scientists said that the virus leaked from the Wuhan lab or from bats.

The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was shut down by Chinese authorities after the novel coronavirus emerged in the city in late 2019. The market has since been a focus of study of whether the virus had infected several other species before jumping to humans.

The 2022 preprint paper said that a small portion of 923 samples collected from the stalls and sewage systems in and around the market tested positive for the virus; no virus was detected in 457 animal samples tested. The paper said initially that raccoon dogs were not among the animals tested.

The new analysis suggests «that raccoon dogs and other animals may have been present before the market was cleaned as part of the public health intervention,» the WHO’s Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) said.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint.
Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.


Оцените статью