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Science ; 377(6609): 951-959, 2022 08 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1962061


Understanding how severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in 2019 is critical to preventing future zoonotic outbreaks before they become the next pandemic. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, was identified as a likely source of cases in early reports, but later this conclusion became controversial. We show here that the earliest known COVID-19 cases from December 2019, including those without reported direct links, were geographically centered on this market. We report that live SARS-CoV-2-susceptible mammals were sold at the market in late 2019 and that within the market, SARS-CoV-2-positive environmental samples were spatially associated with vendors selling live mammals. Although there is insufficient evidence to define upstream events, and exact circumstances remain obscure, our analyses indicate that the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 occurred through the live wildlife trade in China and show that the Huanan market was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Seafood , Viral Zoonoses , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , China/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Seafood/virology , Viral Zoonoses/epidemiology , Viral Zoonoses/transmission , Viral Zoonoses/virology
Zool Res ; 42(5): 666-670, 2021 Sep 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1399757


In a precautionary response to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, China's Ministries permanently banned eating and trading in terrestrial wild (non-livestock) animals on 24 February 2020, and extensively updated the list of Fauna under Special State Protection (LFSSP) in 2020 and 2021, in which pangolins (Manidae spp.) were upgraded to the highest protection level. Examining 509 pangolin prosecution records from China Judgements online prior to these changes (01/01/14-31/12/19), we identified that Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan Provinces were hotspots for trade in whole pangolins and their scales. Interrupting trade in these three principal southern provinces would substantially fragment the pangolin trade network and reduce supply of imports from other south-east Asian countries. In the context of the revised legislation and strategies intended to prevent wildlife trade, we conclude that targeting interventions at key trade nodes could significantly reduce illegal trade in pangolins, and that this approach could also be effective with other taxa.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Crime , Endangered Species/legislation & jurisprudence , Pangolins , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , China , Humans , Retrospective Studies
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 11898, 2021 06 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1260952


Here we document 47,381 individuals from 38 species, including 31 protected species sold between May 2017 and November 2019 in Wuhan's markets. We note that no pangolins (or bats) were traded, supporting reformed opinion that pangolins were not likely the spillover host at the source of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While we caution against the misattribution of COVID-19's origins, the wild animals on sale in Wuhan suffered poor welfare and hygiene conditions and we detail a range of other zoonotic infections they can potentially vector. Nevertheless, in a precautionary response to COVID-19, China's Ministries temporarily banned all wildlife trade on 26th Jan 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic concludes, and permanently banned eating and trading terrestrial wild (non-livestock) animals for food on 24th Feb 2020. These interventions, intended to protect human health, redress previous trading and enforcement inconsistencies, and will have collateral benefits for global biodiversity conservation and animal welfare.

Animals, Wild/virology , COVID-19/etiology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Zoonoses/epidemiology , Animals , COVID-19/virology , China , Chiroptera/virology , Commerce , Food Safety , Humans , Pangolins/microbiology
Nature ; 578(7794): 217, 2020 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-833530