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ince the evolution of the Covid-19 epidemic which started in Wuhan, China to a pandemic, the world kept trying to find someone or something to blame for all the problems brought by this pandemic. It is true that the virus originated in China, but where exactly?

Interestingly enough all the latest research as the pandemic is slowly dimming down points at one place and that is the Huanan market within Wuhan. This market sells both dead and live animals for consumption and the major problem is that both dead and alive animals are kept in close proximity, a major health issue!

Bad Practices and Corruption within China

This should come as a known surprise as China is notoriously known for having their meet markets banned since the early 2000s for bad practices. Due to the corruption within the country, many of these bad practices go overlooked and some markets have their ban removed with a hefty bribe.

Something similar took place in 2003 with the Sars crisis that is believed to have started or at least spread via these markets and their bad practices.

On the 31st of December 2019, China declared the state of an epidemic within the country. Now what is very interesting is that the Huhanan market was closed and sealed off on the 1st of January 2020. Yes, we can say it is a coincidence and something that was wise to do in order to not spread what back then was known as an unknown virus, but let me show you some more information.

Live wild animals in crates stacked on top of each other, taken in October 2014 during Dr. Eddie Holmes’ trip to the market (Credits: Eddie Holmes)

In 2014 Doctor Eddie Holmes, a British biologist, and virologist was on the hunt to find new pathogens that could start an epidemic or a pandemic. The CDC within Wuhan took Dr. Holmes to the market as they saw it as the best place for viruses to grow and spread from animals to humans.

“I’ve been to a few of these markets, but this was a big one — it felt like a disease incubator, exactly the sort of place you would expect a disease to emerge”. (Quote by Dr. Eddie Holmes)

From the description of Dr. Holmes in an interview, specifies that the market was filled with cages of all types of animals and that the cages were rarely cleaned. The killing and butchering of the animals sold would occur right in front of everyone, so the blood from an infected animal could so easily fly around its incredible.

The CDC had written numerous articles about the possibility of infections and the spread of diseases that can occur when butchering animals, which is why it must be done in a hygienic place and a good distance away from the public.

What is more appealing is that from the first 40 cases of Covid discovered within Wuhan, a third visited the market before getting sick. Dr. Holmes also explained that the live animals within the market can work as an amplifier for the virus. Due to the diseases they potentially already carry, they have the ability to reproduce the virus at a much quicker rate and because of the bad practices conducted at the market, the livestock spread it like wildfire in a dry forest.

Although his main hypothesis is that the virus did in fact come from the market. Despite having the Chinese researchers collect thousands of samples from people that have been in contact with the market before the pandemic and testing all the live animals for Sars-Cov-2, they weren’t able to find any trace of the virus.

However, Dr. Holmes says that finding a trace of Covid within those animals is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The livestock within the market present over 700,000 different viruses that could affect people.

Was Covid-19 created in a lab?

In 2020 when the pandemic was felt by all corners of the world, WHO sent 10 of their best teams to investigate Wuhan for a potential origin of the virus. These people have encountered all the epidemics and pandemics seen in the past 40 years so their experience is invaluable. Yet, they weren’t able to find anything and the numbers have been even narrowed down to the first 40 cases of infections.

There are numerous speculations of Covid being created in a lab as a biological weapon. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is only a couple of miles away from the Huanan market, so could the virus escape the facility? This clinic was also the first to test covid and get some prompt information on the virus fairly quickly.

Professor John Richard Watson from the department of infections and tropical diseases was also part of the investigation team who personally spoke with the staff members of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“We visited the lab and spoke to members of staff. We asked them a wide range of questions and it was no surprise to them that the topic of a possible leak from the lab was bought up,” (Quote by Profesor Watson)

Many other researchers are heading towards the same conclusion due to the biological structure of the SARS-Cov-2. What is certain to say is that the spread of the virus had begun within the Huana market through zoonotic transfer which made the virus difficult to detect within the first cases.

A diagram of how zoonotic transmission develops to affect humans with the example of the Toxoplasma gondii life cycle (Source: Clinical Microbiology Reviews)

Looking a the diagram above (looking at the broad idea represented) we can see the way our virus could have potentially been transmitted within the Huanan market why having both live and dead animals stored in close proximity. The virus could have been caught by a stray animal near the Wuhan Virology clinic that had ended up in the market which would be seen as the most plausible scenario thus far.

If the Chinese government is truly hiding something, whatever piece of evidence that may be it will most probably never be found as the reparations for the pandemic being caused by a small laboratory mistake could be unbearable, even for such a big country.

Who is to blame?

As mentioned before, the whole world has been looking to blame something or someone and the world gave up on finding a specific person or factor therefore they blame China as a nation for this pandemic.

The truth is that there are many factors within China that are to blame as shown above which have potentially led to this pandemic. As of yet, there is nothing to justify with certainty that the Huanan market was the birthplace of Covid-19, but we can at least admit that this was the main area of distribution at the beginning of the epidemic within Wuhan which could have been controlled.

Although China is recovering well, they are still taking a long time with their investigations towards finding the origin of the virus which is overseen by the World Health Organisation. It is as if they are delaying the missing piece of this whole puzzle.

With that in mind, there isn’t a specific person which we can blame for the cause of the pandemic. The corruption within China that had overpassed bad practices in wildlife markets and food markets is the responsibility of the Chinese Government, but the problem is that the Chinese government is filled with rotten apples, the reason why the information on the origin of the virus is being held back.

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