First COVID-19 Case Originated from Wuhan Market, Study Suggests


Dr. Worobey suggested in his report that the vendor’s ties to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market strongly suggested the pandemic originated at the Wuhan market.

Michael Worobey, PhD

Michael Worobey, PhD

New developments in the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus reported today in the New York Times suggested that first known patient to have contracted the virus was a vendor in a sizeable animal market in Wuhan, China.

Earlier suggestions made by the World Health Organization (WHO) believed the first known case to be an accountant who lived miles from the market.

The new report was published Thursday in an academic journal Science, which is supported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In it, Michael Worobey, PhD, Department Head, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, argued that the vendor’s ties to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market strongly suggested that the pandemic began at the animal market.

This was coupled with a new analysis of the earliest hospitalized patients’ connections to the market.

According to Worobey’s report, the earliest case is now believed to be a woman named Wei Guixian, who developed symptoms around Dec. 11.

Worobey told that New York Times that it would be “very difficult to explain that pattern if the outbreak didn’t start at the market,” after nearly half of the early cases in Wuhan had been linked to that specific area of the city.

Earlier coverage on the transfer of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from horseshoe bats to humans featured insights from Donald Alcendor, PhD, vaccinologist and immunologist from Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Alcendor recommended the avoidance and possible vaccination of intermediary host animals.

“We know this is a zoological transmission,” Alcendor explained. “We have to understand how this virus is being transmitted in the animals that service reservoirs. And once we do, we need to limit this zoological contact to humans.”

This concern was born out of a joint study from the WHO and China that stated that the transmission of the virus from bats to humans had likely occurred through another animal.

The findings from that study not only supported the suggestion that the spread of SARS-CoV-2 likely originated from the animal market Worobey mentioned in his report, but also stated that it was “extremely unlikely” that the pandemic virus occurred through a laboratory leak.

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