WUHAN, CHINA — NPR reports that a W.H.O. research team traveled to China in January to probe how the Covid pandemic first started.
A rash of theories have been spread about the origin of the virus, including that it escaped from a Wuhan lab.
However, the W.H.O. investigators say they found that the virus likely passed from bats in southern China, to animals in wildlife farms, and then to humans.
These wildlife farms take exotic animals, like civets, porcupines, pangolins, raccoon dogs and bamboo rats, and breed them in captivity.
Some of these farms were likely supplying such wild animals to vendors at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, where early cases of COVID-19 were discovered last year.
The wildlife farms are part of a project that the Chinese government has been promoting for 20 years to lift rural populations out of poverty.
However, China shut these farms down in February 2020, likely because the government thought that they were part of the transmission pathway from bats to humans.
SOURCES: Live Science, Futurism, NPR