COVID report based on China samples puts suspicion back to animal origins

A new analysis of samples taken from a market in Wuhan, China, during the early days of the pandemic are the strongest evidence yet that the COVID-19 virus jumped from animals to humans, some researchers say.

The samples found evidence of the presence of the novel coronavirus along with genetic material from multiple animals — including raccoon dogs, which are susceptible to the disease — according to a report published Monday on the open science website, which builds a case for the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market as the epicenter of the pandemic.

In some samples there was more animal genetic material than human genetic material indicating possible SARS-CoV-2 infections in animals, the report says. Like many studies released quickly during the pandemic, it has not yet undergone review by the scientific community.

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