Review changes the date of the 1st Covid case registered in the world

Nearly two years after Covid-19’s appearance, scientists were finally able to map the exact source of the first Sars-CoV-2 infection.

Evidence collected by researchers at the University of Arizona, in the United States, indicates that the first case occurred days later than previously believed – and that ‘patient zero’ is linked to an animal market. The findings were published in an article in the scientific journal science.

Virologist Michael Worobey, who signs the article, found that instead of a man who had never been to the market selling wild and domestic animals in Wuhan, the first case of the disease actually comes from a local shopkeeper.

To achieve this result, the expert created a timeline of the first known cases of coronavirus in the Chinese city — all done with the help of sources, newspaper reports and hospital data .

Contrary to old thesis

Initially, the World Health Organization (WHO) had published a report which claimed that the first victim was a 41-year-old man who reportedly fell ill on December 8, 2019.

However, the work of Worobey shows that the patient only manifested Covid-19 symptoms on December 16th. and was hospitalized six days later. The virologist found that the symptoms initially presented were dental problems.

Worobey had investigated suspected cases of Sars-CoV-2 reported at two hospitals, before warnings about the live animal market were raised worldwide. And these records were also directly linked to the trade in animals, and those that weren’t were geographically close to the region.

In an interview with the newspaper The New York Times, the researcher said that in the city of 11 million inhabitants, half of the initial cases are linked to a region the size of a football field.

Peter Daszak, an expert who was part of the WHO investigation team, spoke to NYT who was convinced by Worobey’s analysis. “That December 8 date was a mistake,” he said.

Finding the way

A study that looked at the change in the virus’s genome — including an achievement by Worobey himself — suggests that the first infection happened around mid-November 2019, weeks before the seller became ill.

In Worobey’s timeline, the oldest case is that of a woman who developed symptoms in early December (2019). To the Wall Street Journal, the victim said he started feeling bad on December 10th. A WHO report listed a December 11 case related to trade in live animals. As early as the 30th of that month, authorities in Wuhan warned doctors to be on the lookout for links with the local market.

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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