A pair of studies led by a virus expert from the University of Arizona linked the likely origin of the COVID-19 pandemic to live animals sold at a market in China.
Dr. Michael Worobey and a team of researchers traced the pandemic’s start to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, according to one study published Tuesday.
Foxes, raccoon dogs and other live mammals susceptible to the virus were sold at the market before the start of the pandemic.
Those animals likely got COVID from wild bats or Chinese farms, according to a second study published Tuesday.
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The transmission of the virus from animals to human likely happened on two occasions in late November 2019, the study said.
“In a city covering more than 3,000 square miles, the area with the highest probability of containing the home of someone who had one of the earliest COVID-19 cases in the world was an area of a few city blocks, with the Huanan market smack dab inside it,” Worobey said in a press release.
The peer-reviewed studies “virtually eliminate alternative scenarios that have been suggested as origins of the pandemic,” according to the release.