July 24, 2024

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The origins of COVID-19 may differ from what the ‘Science’ paper suggested

The origins of COVID-19 may differ from what the ‘Science’ paper suggested



The origins of COVID-19 may differ from what the ‘Science’ paper suggested

A groundbreaking Science paper has been found to contain errors, with the conclusion that the origin of COVID-19 can be traced back to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan being deemed incorrect.

In late 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus began spreading globally, resulting in millions of deaths. The research on the exact origin of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a contentious issue.

In July 2022, researchers from institutions such as the University of Arizona and the Scripps Research Institute published a paper in the journal Science titled “The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic” [1].

This study, based on early data from the COVID-19 outbreak, claimed that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic through evolutionary and tracing analyses, asserting that it was the only possible origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The origins of COVID-19 may differ from what the 'Science' paper suggested

On January 16, 2024, Professor Zhao Chongnuo from the Hong Kong Baptist University and Dietrich Stoyan from the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology published a paper in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A: Statistics in Society titled “Statistics did not prove that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was the early epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This new paper carefully analyzed the evidence in the Science paper and found significant errors in its statistical analysis. The statistical data could not substantiate that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The origins of COVID-19 may differ from what the 'Science' paper suggested

The initial emergence and global spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been a subject of debate. Evolutionary biologist Professor Michael Worobey from Canada, along with researchers from the University of Arizona and the Scripps Research Institute, proposed an answer in their study, suggesting that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was the only possible origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published in Science in July 2022, this paper quickly gained attention in the scientific community and the media worldwide. However, the recent study by Professor Zhao Chongnuo and Dietrich Stoyan reexamined the data from the Science paper, concluding that the statistical data did not support the claim that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s worth noting that in December 2022, the National Science Review published two commentaries critiquing the Science paper, highlighting analytical errors and misleading public opinion from a scientific perspective.

The origins of COVID-19 may differ from what the 'Science' paper suggested

The origins of COVID-19 may differ from what the 'Science' paper suggested

According to an article led by Academician Zhang Yaping from the Kunming Institute of Zoology (China), the Science study solely used COVID-19 samples from Wuhan, making it possible to determine the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market as the epicenter only for the early spread of the Wuhan outbreak, not the global pandemic’s epicenter.

Additionally, an article led by researcher Lü Xuemei from the Kunming Institute of Zoology pointed out that the data samples used in the Science study were limited to Wuhan, preventing conclusions about the pandemic’s origin outside Wuhan. The authors also confused the concept of tMRCA, erroneously equating the most recent common ancestor time with the time the virus transferred from animals to humans.

In summary, the Science study initially excluded locations other than the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. However, this recent research by Professor Zhao Chongnuo and Dietrich Stoyan demonstrated that the statistical analysis in the Science paper was flawed and did not provide a conclusive answer about the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Original Paper Links:

Science,

Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A,

National Science Review 1,

National Science Review 2

The origins of COVID-19 may differ from what the ‘Science’ paper suggested

References:

Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market

The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic

Wuhan market was epicentre of pandemic’s start, studies suggest

‘Wet markets’ likely launched the coronavirus

(source:internet, reference only)


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