Wild animals raised on farms in China could be a mediator through which the new coronavirus was transmitted from bats to humans, according to The Washington Post, in an article based on editorial observations and expert opinions.
According to the article, there are hundreds of caves in Enshi County (Hubei Province) inhabited by at least seven species of bats, in one of which a virus was previously detected, 96% identical to SARS-CoV-2.
Next to such caves are small farms, which before the pandemic were home to thousands of wild animals such as civets, badgers and raccoons. Scientists believe that these animals may be an intermediate in the transmission of the virus from bats to humans.
According to official statistics provided by The Washington Post, between 450,000 and 780,000 animals were kept on 290 farms in Enshi before they were closed in 2020 due to a pandemic.
In September, a group of The Washington Post staff traveled to Enshi, a six-hour drive from Wuhan, where the first case of the new coronavirus was reported in December 2019. According to the journalist, the farms in question are located about 1.5 km from the caves. In addition, people visit the caves for tourist purposes, to conduct speleological research or to replace the pump for drinking water located there.
According to The Washington Post, scientists who read the observations of the journalist of the publication claim that from bats living in caves, the new coronavirus could be transmitted to other animals and then enter the markets in Wuhan. One source in the newspaper claims that wild animals sold in Wuhan markets were brought there from Hubei Province, including from Enshi, reports Focus.
A joint report by WHO and China, published in March after the 2021 mission in Wuhan, states that the most likely scenario for Covid-19 is the transmission of bat disease to another animal, which subsequently infected humans. According to The Washington Post, to date, experts have not come to a definitive conclusion about how the virus entered the seafood market in Wuhan, where the outbreak of the disease caused by the coronavirus was first recorded.