The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan Was the Early Epicenter of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Science 377(6609):951-959 (2022).

Worobey M, Levy JI, Serrano LM, Crits-Christoph A, Pekar JE, Goldstein SA, Rasmussen AL, Kraemer MUG, Newman C, Koopmans MPG, Suchard MA, Wertheim JO, Lemey P, Robertson DL, Garry RF, Holmes EC, Rambaut A, Andersen KG.

Understanding how severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in 2019 is critical to preventing 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 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, within the market, SARS-CoV-2-positive environmental samples were spatially associated with vendors selling live mammals. While there is insufficient evidence to define upstream events, and exact circumstances remain obscure, our analyses indicate that the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 occurred via the live wildlife trade in China, and show that the Huanan market was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Globe and Mail – COVID-19 Almost Certainly Did Not Come From a Lab Leak. Here’s How We Know
The Conversation – The COVID Lab Leak Theory is Dead. Here’s How We Know the Virus Came From a Wuhan Market
Science Perspective – Wildlife Trade is Likely the Source of SARS-CoV-2

Media Coverage (selected)
Wired UK – The Origins of COVID-19 Are More Complicated Than Once Thought
Associated Press – New Studies Bolster Theory Coronavirus Emerged From The Wild
CNN – New Studies Agree That Animals Sold at Wuhan Market Are Most Likely What Started COVID-19 Pandemic
Washington Post – Scientists Hone Argument That Coronavirus Came From Wuhan Market
National Geographic – Debate Deepens Over Wuhan Wet Market’s Role In Kickstarting The Pandemic
BBC News – Covid Origin Studies Say Evidence Points to Wuhan Market
New York Times – New Research Points to Wuhan Market as Pandemic Origin

Press Releases
Scripps Research – Pair of studies illuminates COVID-19 pandemic origins
Tulane University – Study finds Wuhan market as likely origin of COVID-19 pandemic
Arizona University – Studies link COVID-19 to wildlife sales at Chinese market, find other scenarios extremely unlikely
University of California San Diego – Coronavirus Jumped to Humans at Least Twice at Market in Wuhan, China