Virologist Michael Worobey claims first case of COVID-19 was from Wuhan seafood market vendor


A leading virologist reported on Thursday that the first known coronavirus patient was likely a vendor in a Wuhan market peddling domestic and wild animals. Michael Worobey’s analysis of the geographic configuration of the first cases of COVID in China led him to suggest that the virus originated from an infected animal at the Huanan seafood market. The animal then transmitted the disease to a vendor, who became symptomatic on December 11, 2019.

The peer-reviewed article, published by Worobey in the academic journal Science, does not claim to definitively solve the mystery of the origins of the virus, but rejects earlier findings by World Health Organization researchers that “patient zero” was an accountant with no connection to markets, laboratories or gatherings massive.

Worobey, who is an expert on the origins of viral outbreaks, was one of 18 scientists who wrote a letter to Science in May, calling for all possible sources of the virus to be investigated, including the controversial “lab leak” theory. But in his report on Thursday, the virologist noted that more than half of the first known cases were among those with direct links to the market. “It becomes very difficult to explain this pattern if the epidemic hasn’t started in the market,” Worobey said.

Read it on The New York Times


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