Covid-19: New evidence bolsters animal-origin theory

The Chinese government insists Covid-19 didn’t originate in China — even accused a U.S. Army lab in Maryland of leaking it — and previously unseen genetic data from the Wuhan market posted by Chinese scientists last week was quickly taken down.

But it was up long enough for western scientists to download it, and when they analyzed it, they found strong evidence that infected animals were at the market.

Raccoon dogs have long been on Covid-origin researchers’ radar. Now those data present “clear-cut evidence that raccoon dogs and the virus were in the exact same spot at the market,” an article in The Atlantic says (read it here), which is analogous to “finding the DNA of an investigation’s main suspect at the scene of the crime.”

The western scientists discovered that “market samples [which] tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were also coming back chock-full of animal genetic material—much of which was a match for the common raccoon dog.”

Does this settle the debate? No. The new evidence, while strong, is short of conclusive; it doesn’t show the virus actually jumping from raccoon dogs to humans. That remains conjectural.

But the samples put the virus and raccoon dogs together at the Wuhan wet market in December 2019, which is pretty strong circumstantial evidence.

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