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May 28, 2020 - New research indicates the coronavirus did not originate in a Wuhan seafood market as many scientists have believed, a top Chinese health official said.

But Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, didn’t say where the virus, which has killed 350,000 people worldwide, came from originally.

He told the state-controlled Global Times this week that further research shows no connections between food sold in Wuhan’s market and the coronavirus.

“The novel coronavirus had existed long before" it was found at the market, he said.

COVID-19 was first discovered in late 2019 in Wuhan. Gao told Global Times he went to Wuhan to collect coronavirus samples in early January, but no viruses were detected in the animal samples. Viruses were only found in environmental samples, including sewage, he said.

A paper published in January in the online medical journal The Lancet also challenged the idea that the market was where COVID-19 originated.

The paper written by Chinese scientists said 13 of the first 41 confirmed cases of coronavirus had no link to the market.

“That’s a big number, 13, with no link,” says Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University, said in the online magazine Science.

Show Sources

Global Times: “Wuhan's Huanan seafood market a victim of COVID-19: CDC director.”

The Lancet: “Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China.”

Science: “ Wuhan seafood market may not be source of novel virus spreading globally.”

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