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Saskatchewan. a virologist participates in a global study on the origins of COVID-19

A University of Saskatchewan scientist was part of the global early stage COVID-19 research team.

“I am truly proud to represent Canada’s only institution on this newspaper,” Angela Rasmussen told CTV News. “It’s such an important document.”

The team’s findings were published in an article in the journal Science titled: Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was the first epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rasmussen said the article took about a year to write and was a team effort.

“Some of us knew each other, but we initially came together organically because there was a lot of misinformation about where the virus came from.”

She said knowing where and how COVID-19 started was critical.

“We really want to use this information to prevent future pandemics. And it’s really, really clear to me that this pandemic started much the same way as the original SARS coronavirus outbreak, and that was through the live animal trade,” he said. she stated.

“So what we really need to think about moving forward is how do we mitigate that risk? Because there are clearly other SARS coronaviruses circulating in these animals. We need to understand a lot more about the circumstances that brought these animals to market in the first place and the circumstances in which people interact with them.

“It’s not just about finding out how this pandemic started, it’s also about preventing the next one.”

Rasmussen said the research had challenges to overcome.

“It really took a lot of detective work on all of us and sort of trying to sift through the evidence that is out there and accessible and then verifying it,” she explained. “Which is very difficult to do when you know that none of us can actually go to China.”

She said the team gathered various types of data and information, including mobile phone data, hospital records and details of the types of animals sold in the Wuhan market.

“We really had to do a lot of research and put together all these different streams of evidence.”

Their paper went through a peer review process and she said they were confident in the results.

“We were able to really put all of these puzzle pieces together in a way that painted a pretty conclusive picture for us,” she said.

“It was a great example of team science. And it was really a fantastic collaboration.


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