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AHF: Raccoon Dogs not a COVID "Smoking Gun"

A recent analysis of a trove of genetic data, which was posted online by Chinese scientists (and subsequently removed for unknown reasons), shows that animals susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, specifically raccoon dogs, were traded at the Wuhan wet market. In response, some scientists have characterized this as the strongest evidence so far that COVID-19 originated in animals. AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) calls for independent sampling of the animals and the need for continued scientific due diligence instead of speculative comments to the media.

"It is an unjustified leap of reason for journalists and some scientists to claim that COVID-19 originated in animals based on recent data from China. Short of the physical samples being independently analyzed in another country – we have to take the scientists who conducted the sampling in Wuhan at their word; at best, it shows that mammals with the virus were present at the market. That's far too tenuous to make sweeping conclusions about the origins of a pandemic that has killed nearly 7 million people. Repeatability of results is a key tenet of science," said AHF President Michael Weinstein. "The emergence of new evidence, if it is reliable, is a positive step in the investigation on the origins of the pandemic – what is not, is a clamor of speculation every time we get a new clue. All hypotheses should be subject to the same stringent methods of transparent analysis and interpretation, including the possibility of a lab leak accident in Wuhan."

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)

AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.7 million people in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website:, find us on Facebook: and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.

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