What about the cases that appeared before the outbreak of the seafood market?
There was other distribution outside the Huanan market. There are other patients who have no link to the market, quite a few in December. There were other markets. And we do know that some of the patients had ties to other markets. We need to continue working, and then the Chinese colleagues need to continue working.
As we sat down as a group, on the last full day of work, the China team and the WTO team said, ‘Let’s go through the hypotheses’, the one that received the most enthusiastic support was this way – game, through a tame game link, in Wuhan.
What is the next step?
For the animal chain, it’s simple. The suppliers are well known. They know the farm name; they know the owner of the farm. You have to go to the farm and interview the farmer and the family. You need to test it. You need to test the community. You should go and see if there are any animals at any farms in the area, and see if they have evidence of infestation, and see if there is a cross-border movement. If the virus occurs in the southern border states, it is possible that there is movement in neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Laos or Myanmar. We are now finding more and more related viruses. There is one in Japan and one in Cambodia, one in Thailand.
For the human side, look at past cases, at clusters; search in blood banks for serum, if possible. Anything like this will be sensitive in China, and it will take some conviction and diplomacy and energy to do so, because to be honest, looking for the source of this virus in China is not a big deal. priority. think for the Chinese government. Wherever this virus appears to be emerging, it is a political matter. This is one of the problems, and it’s clear and obvious to anyone who’s looked at it.
Do you have a specific animal that you now suspect to be an intermediary, stronger than others?
It’s too in the air. We do not know if vowels were for sale. We know that they can be infected very easily. We do not know what the situation is with the mink farms in China or the other fur farms, such as raccoon dogs, although they are normally farmed in a different part of China. It must also be followed up.
But if you were to say on which route you would place the most weight, I think the virus that originates in Southeast Asia or South China from bats, which comes on a tame game farm. I’ve been to many of these, and they often have mixed species – rivets, ferrets, raccoon dogs. These animals can become infected by bats.