Home » New DNA Evidence: COVID Originated In Raccoon Dogs, Not Wuhan Lab

New DNA Evidence: COVID Originated In Raccoon Dogs, Not Wuhan Lab

According to The Washington Post, newly obtained data from China shows that a 2020 swab from a Wuhan market had genetic traces of both the coronavirus and a raccoon dog (an animal more like a fox than either a raccoon or a dog).

Like so many elements of the mystery, the new data, first reported by the Atlantic, falls short of proving how, where and when people first became infected with the virus. But it boosts the theory that the pandemic started through natural spillover from animals rather than emerging from a laboratory, a theory favored by some researchers.

The new evidence comes via swabs taken in animal stalls at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. Investigators collected them in early 2020 after the market had been closed and all the animals removed. One swab contained a mixture of genetic material that included a large amount from a raccoon dog along with traces from the coronavirus, said Stephen Goldstein, a virologist at the University of Utah who was part of the team that analyzed the data.

“We can’t definitively prove that there were infected raccoon dogs who were the first source of the virus going into humans,” Goldstein said, “but it is highly suggestive of that.”

The New York Times notes that raccoon dogs “might have been an intermediate host, picking up the virus from bats or another species.” But the new findings “are consistent with the possibility that wild animals at the market may have set off the Covid-19 pandemic.”

I doubt this new evidence will put a damper in Republican efforts to weaponize the pandemic against the Biden administration. House Republicans are holding hearings on the pandemic’s origin, “promoting the lab leak theory and possible culpability among American scientists and government officials,” The Post reports.

Meanwhile, more than 300 people still die every day from COVID in the U.S.


March 2023