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Published October 28, 2022 | Version v1
Preprint Open

Evidence for a proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 in the wildlife trade is lacking



The announcement by the Chinese authorities in early 2020 that SARS-CoV-2 was likely from animals sold at the Huanan seafood market and the rapid release of four preprints describing Guangdong pangolin CoV sequences fueled support for the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 had spilled over from the wildlife trade. However, since then, international efforts have failed to identify a proximal animal source or a direct precursor of SARS-CoV-2. No SC2-like viruses have been found in the wildlife trade supply to Wuhan or in bats in Hubei province. Virus tracking experts in Wuhan have not been able to find the types of evidence for a natural origin that were so quickly obtained in the case of the 2003 SARS outbreak. Under these circumstances where definitive evidence has yet to be found and investigations have been hindered, it would be premature to declare the origin of the pandemic solved or to claim that the scientific evidence for a natural spillover origin at the Huanan seafood market is overwhelming. 


Chan Oct 2022.pdf

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