According to a study, the corona pathogen Sars-CoV-2 may have existed months before the first publicly known cases of the disease.
For this purpose, US researchers combined several methods into a model calculation that defines the period between mid-October and mid-November 2019 as the framework for the first occurrence of Sars-CoV-2.
The scientists from the University of California in San Diego and the University of Arizona present their results in the journal “Science”.
The first major coronavirus outbreak has been linked to a fish market in Wuhan, China, towards the end of December 2019. “However, it is unlikely that this market cluster marked the beginning of the pandemic, since Covid-19 cases had no connection to the market from the beginning of December,” the researchers write in the study.
To determine the first appearance of the pathogen, among other things, they retroactively calculated the original period from the mutations of several Sars-CoV-2 viruses.
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The experts also emphasize the apparently clear influence of so-called superspreader events with a large number of infections with the coronavirus, which could have caused the epidemic to pick up speed.