Data from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, briefly uploaded to a global database by Chinese scientists, gives crucial information on the outbreak’s origins, including of an animal market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, researchers said.
The virus was first identified in Wuhan in December 2019, with many suspecting the Huanan live animal market to be the source, before spreading round the world and killing nearly 7 million people.
The scientists published a pre-print report based on their interpretation of the data on Monday, after leaks in the media last week and a meeting with the World Health Organization, which has urged China to release more information.
The data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is no longer available on the GISAID database where it was found by the scientists.
It comprised new sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and additional genomic data based on samples taken from the live animal market in Wuhan in 2020, according to the scientists who accessed it.
Factual Confidence: High (Multiple Sources)