There’s new evidence that the raccoon dog might be the source from which the COVID-19 virus originated. Benjamin Mueller reports at Yahoo News:
An international team of virus experts said 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 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.
A report with the full details of the international research team’s findings has not yet been published. Their analysis was first reported by The Atlantic.
We still don’t know. It could be a “chicken or the egg” situation in which humans spread the disease to raccoon dogs. Or vice versa. Or something else entirely. It does bolster the case for those who are promoting a zoonotic origin for the virus.
So, God punished the whole world because the Chinese eat dogs? How Noahesque, Babelesque.
I wouldn’t quite say that but I would say that Chinese customs like lack of dietary prohibitions, “wet markets”, and living in close proximity to livestock present global risks.
OT but health related. CDC figures just released showed another increase in maternal mortality rates. Ours is now one o the worst in the world. Recent policy changes or lack of changes may keep that increasing.
Likely contributing factors unmentioned in link: obesity, substance abuse.
Just to throw cold water on the breathless reporting.
Here is a twitter post by Bloom lab in Seattle (very reputable and specialists in viral evolution).
tl;dr; garbage in, garbage out. And some basic logic was not applied in the analysis.