The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted an investigation at the beginning of 2021 in Wuhan, where the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was first detected, to clarify its true origin, and it seems that they are getting closer and closer to finding it.
Until now, there have been many possible theories about the origin of the virus, but the most likely one, according to Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance and one of the experts who went to China to carry out the study, is that coronavirus originated in an exotic animal farm in the south of the country.
According to the expert, the group of scientists who traveled to China found evidence that several exotic animal farms supplied the Huanan market in Wuhan, the first place that became a source of contagion and caused the first outbreak of coronavirus in the world. "I think SARS-CoV-2 first infected people in southern China. That seems to be the case," Daszak explains.
The results of this investigation are in line with China's actions after learning of the first COVID-19 outbreak, as it ordered the closure of all exotic animal farms as a precautionary measure. According to the scientist, the beginning of the transmission of coronavirus may have started with some kind of wild animal bred in captivity and ended up jumping to humans.
"These farms take exotic animals such as genets, porcupines, pangolins, raccoons or bamboo rats to breed in captivity," says the expert in an interview for NPR.
In this sense, Daszak and his colleagues maintain the hypothesis that the bat remains the most likely animal to incubate SARS-CoV-2.
Thus, the WHO agrees with China on the possible origin of coronavirus: "China closed the farms because in February 2020 it thought it was the most likely way of infection. And in the WHO report, we also believe that it is the most likely way".
As to which animal caused it, although they believe it was the bat, there are still more doubts about it, and according to Daszak that is now the priority: to really find out which animal acted as a bridge between the disease and humans to try to prevent it from happening again in the future.
The study carried out by the scientists sent by the WHO to China will be published in the coming weeks and is expected to provide even more details on the origin of the pandemic which, in less than a year and a half, has already caused more than 120 million infections worldwide and more than 2.5 million deaths.
The countries most affected by the disease continue to be the United States and Brazil, which together account for almost 42 million infections and more than 830,000 deaths. Concretely, the United States now has more than 30 million cases, with 549,000 deaths, followed by Brazil with 11.6 million cases and 282,000 victims. India is the third most affected country, with 11.4 million infections and 159,000 deaths.
In terms of the number of infections, the other countries are a long way behind, but there are already three countries with more than 4 million infections: Russia, France and the United Kingdom; and two other countries with more than 3 million: Spain and Italy, with Turkey on the verge of reaching that figure.
In terms of deaths, the figure for Mexico is surprising, with 194,000 victims despite being the thirteenth in the number of cases, with 2.1 million. Behind them are India; the United Kingdom, with 125,000 deaths; and Italy, with 103,000 deaths. The list is completed by Russia (93,000), France (91,000) and Spain (72,500).
[This is a translation of the original article "La OMS descubre el lugar exacto de dónde podría haber salido el coronavirus" published in espanadiario.net]