What about cases that appeared before the epidemic in the seafood market?
There was another spread outside of Huanan Market. There are other patients who have no connection to the market, quite a bit in December. There were other markets. And we know that some of the patients had connections to other markets. We must continue to work, then Chinese colleagues must continue to work.
When we got together as a group, the China team and the WHO team on the last full day of work, and said, “Let’s review the hypotheses,” the one that received the most support. enthusiastic was this path – wildlife, through a link of domestic wildlife, to Wuhan.
What is the next step?
For the animal chain, it‘s simple. The suppliers are known. They know the name of the farm; they know the owner of the farm. You have to go to the farm and interview the farmer and the family. You have to test them. You have to test the community. You have to go and look and see if there are any animals left on the farms nearby and see if they have any evidence of infection, and see if there is any cross-border movement. If the virus is in these southern border states, it is possible that there has been movement in neighboring countries like Vietnam, Laos or Myanmar. We are finding more and more related viruses now. There is one in Japan and one in Cambodia, one in Thailand.
For the human side, look for earlier cases, clusters; check blood banks for serum, if possible. Anything like this will be sensitive in China, and it will take persuasion, diplomacy, and energy to do it because, to be honest, looking for the source of this virus in China is not a problem. high priority. think for the Chinese government. Wherever this virus emerges is a political problem. This is one of the problems, and it is clear and obvious to anyone who has looked at this issue.
Do you have a particular animal that you suspect right now as an intermediate link, more strongly than others?
It’s too much in the air. We do not know if civets were on sale. We know they are very easily infected. We don’t know what the situation is with mink farms in China or other fur farms, like raccoon dogs, even though they are normally raised in another part of China. This must also be followed.
But if you were to say which route would you put the most weight on, I think the virus emerging in either Southeast Asia or southern China from bats, entering a domesticated wildlife farm. I’ve been to a lot of these, and they often have mixed species – civets, badgers, ferrets, raccoon dogs. These animals could be infected with bats.