When did the 1st case of Covid-19 occur, and where? Here’s what a study reveals

By: |
June 25, 2021 5:46 PM

The study reveals that the virus first emerged from early October to mid-November in 2019.

wuhan china, coronavirus originThe first official Covid-19 case was reported in December 2019 in the Wuhan's Huanan seafood market (File Photo: Reuters)

Coronavirus: The new study reveals that the virus that causes Covid-19 must have started spreading in China in October 2019; two months before the first Covid-19 case reported in Wuhan city, China’s commercial center. The study reveals that the virus first emerged from early October to mid-November in 2019. As per the claims published in the PLOS Pathogens journal, researchers from Britain University of Kent used a method of conservation science to help determine the estimate. They also estimated that there are high chances of the virus emerging on November 17, 2019. And that the virus probably had already spread globally by January 2022.

The first official Covid-19 case was reported in December 2019 in the Wuhan’s Huanan seafood market. However, reports suggest that the cases had no connection with Huanan; meaning, the SARS-CoV-2 was probably circulating before it reached the Wuhan wet market. The joint study between China and the World Health organisation at the end of March also showed that there was no connection between the virus and Wuhan market. There could have been some sporadic human infections which might have taken place before the virus broke in Wuhan city, the report added.

But then another theory surfaced this week when in a paper released in preprint form, Seattle based Jesse Bloom of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, recovered deleted sequencing data from early Covid-19 cases in China. According to the data given in the form, samples taken from the Huanan market were not representative of SARS-CoV-2 as a whole. They were a variant of a progenitor sequence circulating earlier, which spread to other parts of China.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health told Reuters that the samples used in the study were submitted to the Sequence Read Archive (SRA) in March 2020. It was however later deleted at the request of Chinese investigators, who said they would be updated and submitted to another archive.

The deleting of data intensified critic’s doubt and they said that it was further evidence that China is trying to hide the origins of Covid-19. Alina Chan, Researcher, Harvard’s Broad Institute wrote a tweet saying “Why would scientists ask to delete key data that will lead us to COVID-19 origin?”

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