(ORDO NEWS) — “When you look at all the evidence together, it’s an extremely clear picture that the coronavirus pandemic started in the Huanan market,” said Michael Sparrow, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona.
As part of a separate line of research, scientists from the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a new analysis of the genetic traces of coronaviruses collected from the Wuhan market in January 2020.
Previous research has shown that viruses selected from early Covid cases belonged to two main evolutionary branches. Samples from the Huanan market included both branches, the scientists said.
For the new study, Dr. Sparrow and colleagues estimated the spread of 156 Covid cases in Wuhan in December 2019. The highest density of cases is concentrated around the market.
The researchers then mapped the cases in January and February. They used data collected by Chinese researchers from Weibo, a social media app that created a channel for people with Covid to seek help.
The 737 cases taken from Weibo were concentrated away from the market, in other areas of central Wuhan with a large number of elderly people.
According to the study, patterns indicated that the source of the outbreak was the market, and then the coronavirus spread to nearby areas, after which it spread further into the city.
The researchers conducted tests that showed that it is extremely unlikely that such a pattern could arise just by chance.
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