NEW RESEARCH CASTS DOUBT CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC STARTED AT WUHAN FOOD MARKET

New Research Casts Doubt Coronavirus Epidemic Started At Wuhan Food Market

They determined the first patient had no links to a shady seafood market selling live snakes and bats for human consumption

Zero Hedge – JANUARY 26, 2020

The South China Morning Post reports that a team of researchers at Wuhan’s Jinyintan hospital have retraced the movements of the first individual who was diagnosed with the virus.

They determined that he had no links to a shady seafood market selling live snakes and bats for human consumption.

The development comes despite practically all of the western media reports from the city of Wuhan having claimed that the city’s hospitals have been completely overwhelmed by cases of pneumonia as more cases of the Wuhan coronavirus are confirmed.

Amazingly, SCMP caveated its report by claiming that other patients among the earliest cases had “continuous exposure to the market,” which was shut down on Jan. 1 by Wuhan authorities over fears that its trade in wild animals was linked to the viral outbreak. Authorities have since banned the selling of live animals at markets.

The researchers, seven of whom work at Wuhan’s Jinyintan hospital, designated for patients with the illness, revealed on Friday in The Lancet medical journal that symptoms of the new disease were first reported on December 1 – much earlier than the Wuhan government’s initial announcement on December 31 of 27 cases of the pneumonia-like infection.

According to the report, the first patient had no exposure to the Huanan seafood market which was shut down on January 1 over fears – later confirmed – that the new virus was linked to its trade in wild animals. The researchers added that none of the patient’s family had developed fever or any respiratory symptoms. There was also no epidemiological link between the first patient and the later cases, they found.

The researchers analysed data from 41 patients with confirmed infections who had showed an onset of symptoms up to January 2. Six of those patients died, putting the fatality rate of the group at 15 per cent. The researchers noted that clinical presentations of the patients greatly resembled severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The first patient to die from the new coronavirus had continuous exposure to the market before he was admitted to hospital with a seven-day history of fever, cough and breathing difficulties, according to their report.

Doctors also identified 13 other patients who had no contact with the market, which helps build the case for human to human transmission.

The absence of a link to the seafood market is one of the indicators for human-to-human transmission of the virus and the researchers identified another 13 patients who also had no direct exposure to the market.

“Taken together, evidence so far indicates human transmission for 2019-nCoV,” the report said. “We are concerned that 2019-nCoV could have acquired the ability for efficient human transmission,” the researchers added, along with a strong recommendation for precautions such as fit-tested N95 respirators and other personal protective equipment.

Much to Beijing’s chagrin, a team of Chinese scientists on Friday revealed that symptoms of the virus first emerged as early as Dec. 1, much earlier than the Wuhan government’s initial announcement of the first 27 cases on Dec. 31. The notion that the virus may have been transmitted to humans via consuming bats, rats, badgers or snakes was widely reported in the Western press, even by CNN.

Though the possibility of zoonotic transmission hasn’t been entirely ruled out, these researchers apparently believed that there’s reason to doubt that the fish market was the source of the virus. However, the situation is still very much in flux, and it remains true that some of the other patients did have contact with the market.

Either way, do the researchers findings lend more credence to the other conspiracy theory about the virus’s origin? Wuhan reportedly has two labs that participate in China’s bio-warfare program, as Radio Free Asia first reported, and a handful of US outlets, including the Washington Times, have picked up the story.

Did patient zero really catch new Chinese virus by eating infected bat soup? It’s actually perfectly possible

CAP

By Peter Andrews

A group of Chinese scientists today reported that the likely source of the deadly 2019‐nCoV virus is snakes, based on genetic analysis. However, grisly images from a Chinese restaurant suggest bats may also be on the menu.

Their findings were fast-tracked to publication yesterday in the Journal of Medical Virology, and report that infected people were exposed to various wildlife species at the market, where live poultry, seafood, bats and snakes among others, were present.

A detailed genetic analysis of 2019‐nCoV revealed that it is a new strain which seems to be a mixture of two other coronaviruses; one of which is from bats and another unknown strain. The group presented evidence that the last place the virus resided before hitting humans was a snake species, based on certain biological markers in the virus’s surface proteins. These proteins are what allow viruses to invade host cells, and the mutated form is allowing 2019‐nCoV to easily attack human cells.

Beijing city cancels major public events including Chinese New Year temple fairs due to coronavirus outbreak

CAP

So according to the scientists, at some point a bat virus jumped into snakes, and adapted to its immune system. Later, people at the Wuhan market either handling or eating snake meat became infected. But images surfacing from Wuhan, and released by the Daily Star Online, offer another, even grosser explanation. Could the virus have leapt directly to humans from bats?

Soup du jour

Different cultures eat exotic foods, and Chinese people are well known for having a taste for some meats that might raise eyebrows or even churn stomachs. But bat soup?! Amazingly, it is apparently very popular in China, and considered a delicacy there.

The images have to be seen to be believed — they appear to show the full body of a small black bat, leathery wings and all, perched in a dish of brown liquid and leering like a vampire in disguise. One video shows a girl putting the creature whole into her mouth as she dines with friends. But it looks like the bats may have had the last laugh.

Second city shuts down all public transport amid deadly virus outbreak in China

CAP

The Chinese outbreak of the SARS virus in the early 2000s was eventually traced back to a colony of horseshoe bats in Yunnan province. Since we know that 2019‐nCoV is genetically closer to SARS than it is to any other virus, it seems probable that bats could be the carriers for this one too. These bats do not appear to have the tell-tale large ears of horseshoe bats, but they could be a closely-related species.

Offal-ly bad news

Most suggestively, in some of the images the bats’ guts are visible floating in the soup. If undercooked offal was consumed by humans this a likely source of the virus reaching humans, as some organs are breeding grounds for viruses.

Just last year there were reports of a plague that killed a husband and wife in western Mongolia — unrelated to the present outbreak. The couple ate the raw stomach, kidney and gall bladder of a marmot, and died soon after from a severe case of pneumonic plague. This plague, while having symptoms similar to the current outbreak, is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. They used the offal as a traditional remedy. This prompted officials to quarantine the couple’s township, but happily there was no further spread of the plague.

Of course, cooking meat properly and thoroughly is one way of killing any bugs it may have been carrying. But viruses are more resistant to heat than many bacteria, and in any case, do you really trust the chefs serving up whole bats in murky broth to have passed their food safety inspection with flying colors?

But whether it is from snakes, bats or a combination of the two, as the virus rages on, researchers at least have a lead, if not a cure.

 

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