A  new study published in the journal, Science, said on Thursday, The first identified Covid-19 case was a vendor at a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and not, as thought earlier, an accountant without any link to the market.

The identification of the account as the first patient with Covid-19 symptoms had added to the speculation that the virus could have leaked from a top virus laboratory located across the Yangtze river from the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, the first pandemic epicentre.

The new study adds to the voices that have supported an animal-origin theory.

The origin of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19 remains a mystery, and a major source of tension between China and several western countries led by the United States.

Beijing has consistently denied the lab leak theory, calling it a conspiracy, and claiming instead that cases of the viral fever had been diagnosed in other countries before Wuhan.

The new report indicates that the World Health Organization China inquiry into the origins had got the initial chronology of the outbreak wrong.

As it turns out, according to virologist Michael Worobey, rather than the original patient being a man who had never been to the Wuhan market, the first known case of Covid-19 turns out to be a woman, a vendor at the market.

Worobey argues that community transmission of the disease started at the market.he wrote, “Given the high transmissibility of Sars-CoV-2 and the high rate of asymptomatic spread, many symptomatic cases would inevitably soon lack a direct link to the location of the pandemic’s origin” .

Beijing has dismissed accusations of withholding critical data during an earlier WHO probe into the origins in February, alleging that the investigation had been politicised by the US and that the scope of the search should be widened to other countries.

Chinese scientist Yungui Yang of the Beijing Institute of Genomics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences has been included in the Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of Novel Pathogens the only  Chinese  expert named in the 25-member panel.

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