The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on March 11 that it has decided to categorize COVID-19 a pandemic after its rapid spread and a growing number of cases worldwide. It was only declared as an outbreak in China but when it started to spread globally and infecting thousands of people in a short time, the agency declared the highest category of warning for a contagious disease outbreak. 

As of this time, the coronavirus affects almost every country in the world. Since it was first discovered in China late last year, the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 has already reached more than 1.5 million around the world with nearly 90,000 deaths. What’s more, almost all the cities on this planet are in lockdown but the question is how did this terrible virus started? Did it really originate in Wuhan, China? 

When coronavirus was first reported, it was said that the disease appeared to have come from a wet market in Wuhan. Typically, these wet markets put people and live and dead animals such as dogs, pigs, chickens, snakes, civets and more, in close contact. This makes it easy for zoonotic diseases to transfer from animals to people.

Wuhan wet markets also reportedly sell bats, birds, rabbits and other animals that are illegal to be traded. It should be noted that the coronavirus is known to jump from animals to humans so the belief is that the first individuals to have contracted the coronavirus are the stall owners in the market then they spread it to humans they got in contact with. 

Now, the search for the exact animal that transmitted that COVID-19 is ongoing and while researchers have no exact answers yet, it is widely believed that it came from bats that are being sold in Wuhan markets as a delicacy. According to The Guardian, scientists think that the virus originated from the said nocturnal animal but it first passed through an intermediary animal before finally infecting humans.

Virologists at the Wuhan Institute for Virology stated in their research that the novel virus showed a genetic makeup that is 96 percent identical to the coronavirus found in bats. However, another study argued that the genetic sequences of coronavirus in pangolins are between 88.5 and 92.4 percent similar to the human virus. This is why the intermediary host between bats and people is believed to be the pangolin. 

Moreover, as mentioned in Nature, the genetic sequences of viruses in pangolin are 99 percent similar to COVID-19. However, these scaly animals are not listed in items being sold in Wuhan and experts suggest that they are on sale in the wet markets but they were not listed since it is illegal to sell them. 

“Whether the poor pangolin was the species at which it jumped, it’s not clear,” Prof. Stephen Turner, head of the department of microbiology at Melbourne’s Monash University, said. “It’s either mixed in something else, mixed in a poor pangolin, or it’s jumped into people and evolved in people.”

Finally, there are theories that the coronavirus is man-made and it was used as bioweapon so China can take over the world. It was rumored to have really come from a laboratory in Wuhan and released to humans. But then, this is an unproven rumor and what most people believed right now is that it came from a market in Wuhan where bats are sold. 

wuhan Wuhan City is the capital city of Hubie Province and home to 11 million residents. Wuhan / Facebook