Covid-19: is the raccoon dog the cause of the transmission of the disease to humans?

Caged raccoon dog in Guangzhou, southern China, January 6, 2004. AFP - PETER PARKS

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1 min

Three years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the origins of the disease are still unknown. New genetic data revive the hypothesis of an intermediate host animal in the spread of the pandemic from the Wuhan market.


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After the pangolin or the civet, it is now the raccoon dog that is incriminated. These late-published data also revive debates on the lack of transparency of the Chinese authorities.

Once again, all eyes are on the city of Wuhan and its market. Samples, taken in early 2020 from the market in question, showed the presence of DNA from various animals. Among these is the raccoon dog, a small mammal similar to the raccoon. Its fur and flesh were sold in the Wuhan market, along with other wild and exotic animals.

No definitive answer

The raccoon dog could therefore be the animal responsible for transmitting the disease to humans. But these data do not provide a definitive answer on how the pandemic began, relativizes for its part the World Health Organization (WHO).

The many questions are still not resolved as to the origin of the coronavirus, while the hypothesis of a leak from a laboratory still comes back insistently. The UN agency took the opportunity to denounce China's lack of transparency, saying that this data, published at the end of January before being withdrawn, should have been shared by Beijing as early as 2020. Three years later, the mystery of this transmission still remains.

"These data do not provide a definitive answer to the question of how the pandemic began, but every piece of data is important in moving us closer to that answer." -@DrTedros

— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 17, 2023

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  • China
  • Coronavirus
  • Health and medicine