Thursday, March 16: The Atlantic published an article titled “The strongest evidence yet that an animal started the pandemic,” where the aforementioned animal is a raccoon dog. Similar stories in other influential publications soon followed.
Monday, March 20 (afternoon): Biosafety Now issues a press release asking media outlets to correct misleading articles about raccoon dogs starting the pandemic.
Monday, March 20 (evening): Release of preprint titled “Genetic evidence of susceptible wildlife in SARS-CoV-2 positive samples at the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, Wuhan: Analysis and interpretation of data released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control.”
Tuesday, March 21: @BiosafetyNow hosts an impromptu Twitter Space titled “COVID origins: Was it a Raccoon Dog?” where Alina Chan, Emily Kopp, and Yuri Deigin joined Biosafety Now Leadership Team Members Justin Kinney, Dana Parish, Yanna Lambrinidou, and Bryce Nickels to discuss the media hype around claims there was new evidence for a natural origin for SARS-CoV-2.
Wednesday, April 5: Nature publishes paper titled: “Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 at the Huanan Seafood Market.“
Recent reports traced the outbreak back to the HSM and proposed…that the market sold live wild animalsas recently as 2019 28. Another report hypothesized that SARS-CoV-2 spilled over from animals to humans at least twice in November or December 2019, and the raccoon dog was hypothesized to be the intermediate host animal. The evidence provided in this study is not sufficient to support such a hypothesis.
These results suggest that while metagenomic analysis of the environmental samples is useful for identifying animals or animal products sold at the market, co-mingling of animal and viral genetic material is unlikely to reliably indicate whether any animals were infected by SARS-CoV-2.
Monday, May 1: @BiosafetyNow hosted a Twitter Space titled “COVID Origins: Was it a Raccoon Dog? (Part 2) ” where guests Emily Kopp (journalist, US Right to Know), Michael Balter (journalist), and David Bahry (scientist) joined Biosafety Now Leadership Team members Justin Kinney and Bryce Nickels to discuss the Jesse Bloom preprint and the media hype around claims there was new evidence for a natural origin for SARS-CoV-2.