WATCH | New data links raccoon dogs to early spread of Covid-19 | News24

A new analysis of genetic material collected from January to March 2020 at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, has uncovered animal DNA in samples already known to be positive for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, CNN reports.

A significant amount of that DNA appears to belong to animals known as raccoon dogs, which were known to be traded on the market, according to officials with the World Health Organization, who addressed the new evidence in a news briefing last week.

According to CNN, the new findings – which have not yet been publicly posted – do not settle the question of how the pandemic started. They do not prove that raccoon dogs were infected with SARS-CoV-2, nor do they prove that raccoon dogs were the animals that first infected people.

Raccoon dogs are wild dogs whose face looks like a raccoon’s, according to NPR, In slightly more scientific terms, raccoon dogs are a member of the canid family with fur markings and head shapes similar to those of raccoons.

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