Last June 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated some scientists and experts worldwide to look into the possible origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of which included laboratory leaks, whereas, two newly published studies have used several intensive approaches and came to a collective conclusion: The Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China was most likely the “epicenter” for the coronavirus breakout.
The studies were posted online in February, and now have gone through peer review and then published on Tuesday in a journal.
One of the results came from the use of mapping tools and social media reports aligned to spatial and environment analysis, suggesting that the exact circumstances of the cases may remain obscure, the coronavirus was “probably” present in live animals that were sold at the Wuhan market back in late 2019, given that the livestock were “held close” and could have easily exchanged bacteria.
However, the said study did not determine which specific animals may have been sick or may have carried the said virus.
The said researchers who have gone to have this conclusion have determined that the earliest COVID-19 cases were found to be centered at the Wuhan market among vendors who have sold these live animals or the people who have shopped there, and believes that there were about two separate viruses circulating the animals, same virus that may have spilled over into people.
“All eight COVID-19 cases detected prior to December were from the western side of the market, where mammal species were also sold,” the study says, with an approximate of five  stalls that have been sold live or recently butchered animals was predictive of that human coronavirus cases.
“This is an indication that the virus started spreading in people who worked at the market but then started to spread–into the surrounding local community as vendors went into local shops, infected people who worked in those shops,” said Michael Worobey, department head of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona.
The earliest version of the coronavirus was believed to have come in different forms, for which some scientists call, “A and B”–saying that these lineages were the result of at least two cross-species transmission of animals to humans, and that the first discovered animal-to-human transmission was probably around November 18,, 2019, coming from lineage B, or the people who only had a direct connection to the Huanan Market in Wuhan.
However, scientists said that those in the lineage A transmission was infected to humans from animals within weeks or days of the infection from the lineage B, or those people who have had a direct connection to the said market.
“These findings indicate that it is unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 circulated widely in humans prior to November 2019 and define the narrow window between when SARS-CoV-2 first jumped into humans and when the first cases of COVID-19 were reported,” the study says.
“As with other coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 emergence likely resulted from multiple zoonotic events,” it detailed.