- 26 August 2022
- Journal article
The Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic
Understanding how severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in 2019 is critical to preventing future zoonotic outbreaks before they become the next pandemic. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, was identified as a likely source of cases in early reports, but later this conclusion became controversial. We show here that the earliest known COVID-19 cases from December 2019, including those without reported direct links, were geographically centered on this market. We report that live SARS-CoV-2–susceptible mammals were sold at the market in late 2019 and that within the market, SARS-CoV-2–positive environmental samples were spatially associated with vendors selling live mammals. Although there is insufficient evidence to define upstream events, and exact circumstances remain obscure, our analyses indicate that the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 occurred through the live wildlife trade in China and show that the Huanan market was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. This license does not apply to figures/photos/artwork or other content included in the article that is credited to a third party; obtain authorization from the rights holder before using such material.
Worobey, M., Levy, J., Malpica Serrano, L., Crits-Christoph, A., Pekar, J., Goldstein, S., Rasmussen, A., Kraemer, M., Newman, C., Koopmans, M., Suchard, M., Wertheim, J., Lemey, P., Robertson, D., Garry, R., Holmes, E., Rambaut, A. & Andersen, K. 2022, 'The Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic', Science, 377(6609), pp. 951-959. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abp8715