The first person who got infected from coronavirus was a market vendor from Wuhan not an accountant, a US study has revealed. The study has claimed that the China and World Health Organization (WHO)’s earlier enquiry on the chronology of the Covid-19 pandemic has gone wrong.

According to a report published in the Science journal on Thursday, the accountant from Wuhan developed the Covid-19 symptoms eight days later than initially reported.

Michael Worobey, head of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, said “The earliest known case is now a female vendor from Huanan Market”. He said that the December 8case has been used by lab leak proponents to argue that the virus could not have emerged at the market.

“There was a tragic failure of China’s much-touted Pneumonia of Unknown Etiology (PUE) system, where doctors are supposed to report cases of unexplained pneumonia rapidly (I believe within hours) to national authorities through an internet-based platform,” he added.

As per the scientist, the confusion was caused by complications from dental work that made the 41-year-old man sick on December 8. Fever and other coronavirus symptoms started on December 16 after multiple workers at the Huanan market were already exhibiting signs of infections, including the seafood vendor whose symptoms began December 11, the study said.

Worobey said the accountant lived 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the market and had no connection to it. He was probably infected through community transmission after the virus began spreading in Wuhan.

The origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 remains a mystery and a major source of tension between China and the United States.

Scientists have yet to determine the origins of SARS-CoV-2. The debate about its genesis has coalesced around two competing ideas: a laboratory escape or spillover from animals.

WHO this year ruled out the theory that Covid-19 originated in a laboratory, saying that the most likely hypothesis was that it infected humans naturally, probably via the wildlife trade.

No live mammals collected at the Huanan market or any other live-animal market in Wuhan have been screened for SARS-CoV-2–related viruses, and the Huanan market was closed and disinfected on Jan. 1, Worobey said.

“Nevertheless, that most early symptomatic cases were linked to Huanan Market — specifically to the western section where raccoon dogs were caged — provides strong evidence of a live-animal market origin of the pandemic,” he said.

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