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Slow Data Going

Researchers are frustrated by how slow studies into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic are moving, Nature News reports.

It notes that three recent preprints have suggested that SARS-CoV-2 may have spread from animals to people connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, but that it is still unclear exactly how that occurred. These findings, Nature News says, is prompting the World Health Organization to reiterate its suggestion that samples be collected from farms that supply the market for testing.

"We are all trying to find out what the bloody hell happened, but we are hamstrung by the data available," the University of Sydney's Edward Holmes, a co-author of two of the new preprints, tells Nature News.

Nature News notes that studies into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 are politically sensitive and have placed China on the defensive, especially as anti-Asian rhetoric increased and as allegations of a lab leak took hold. Ray Yip, a former director of the Beijing branch of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tells it that China shifted its approach "when they began to feel they were being humiliated or blamed for this pandemic."

He adds at Nature News that China may be quietly looking into the pandemic's origins and only releasing data after a long review.

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