The Chicago Journal

Covid-19 source still unknown, but raccoon fox could be linked

Image Commercially Licensed from: DepositPhotos
Image Commercially Licensed from: DepositPhotos

Covid-19The Covid-19 virus triggered a worldwide pandemic in 2020, causing devastation on the earth with long-term ramifications.

While there is now a vaccine to combat the virus, its origins remain unclear, which usually sparks passionate political debate.

Regardless of the virus’s origins, study has mostly focused on the pandemic beginning with animal viral spillover.

There is no strong evidence that the virus was leaked from a lab, either unintentionally or on purpose.


The US intelligence community is divided on which scenario is most credible.

The FBI and the Department of Energy are leaning more toward the virus leaking from a lab.

The National Intelligence Council, on the other hand, believes Covid-19 evolved spontaneously.

The bulk of agencies, however, have reached a questionable conclusion.

The National Intelligence Council stated that the intelligence community’s available information on which to base its projections were doubtful, fragmented, or restricted.

The pertinent intelligence may soon become public, since US President Joe Biden signed legislation on March 20 that requires the declassification of government information on the virus’s origin within 90 days.

Although theories swirl, a DNA investigation appears to fit the jigsaw puzzle of the overflow problem, with the raccoon dog at the center.

The latest evidence

During a news briefing on March 17, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus limited the origins of Covid-19 to a bare minimum.

“These data do not provide a definitive answer to how the pandemic began,” he said.

“But every piece of data is important to moving us closer to that answer.”

The first human Covid-19 cases were discovered in Wuhan, China, specifically at the Huanon Seafood Wholesale Market.

In 2020, environmental samples from the market’s southwest included both animal genetic material and coronavirus.

On the corner, live animals were also sold.

Alex Crits-Christoph, a computational scientist, and his international colleagues detected virus-positive specimens on the DNA of the common raccoon dog.

The fox-like animal found across Asia is vulnerable to coronavirus infections, particularly SARDS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

The virus might have transmitted from bats to raccoon dogs or other animals at the market before infecting people, according to the researchers.

Their hypothesis is based on the detection of animal and coronavirus residues in the same samples.

The findings were released on Zenodo, a website that allows academics to share unpublished research findings with their colleagues, on March 20.

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Crits-Christoph and his colleagues conducted the present investigation using publicly available genetic data provided in early March by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The information is linked to a preliminary study from the Chinese CDC dated February 2022, allowing the researchers to narrow down on an animal stand in the market’s southwest with the largest number of virus-positive samples.

A cart sample in the stall included a lot of genetic material from raccoon dogs, ducks, and other animals.

The lack of human DNA in the sample also suggests that the animals were in close contact with the coronavirus.

According to the research, raccoon dogs (or other animals) may have transported the coronavirus from bats to people.


While the evidence seems impressive, Tedros adds that the findings do not support the idea of spillover.

The presence of DNA from both animals and coronaviruses in samples merely indicates that they are linked.

Yet, the spillover theory is still hypothetical.

It’s unclear if the animals in the stalls were infected with Covid-19 or if they passed it on to humans.

A positive swab from a healthy animal from the market in late November or December 2019 would have been ideal, but it is now impossible to get.

When inspectors investigated the auction in early 2020, the sick animals were most likely gone.

Covid-19 has subsequently evolved, morphing in people to form alpha, delta, and omicron versions, which have in turn produced other variants.

Covid-19 is also developing in animals.

Coronaviruses seen in animals today (or two years ago), for example, would not resemble SARS-CoV-2 by the end of 2019, and hence would not match.

“It’s like a cold criminal case,” said the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis epidemiologist Michael Osterholm.

“There may be mounting evidence that, you know, John Doe did it. But not conclusive enough to try John Doe for the crime.”