What is a Raccoon Dog, and are they responsible for Covid19

The Raccoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), is a small to medium-sized mammal native to East Asia, including Japan, China, Korea, and Siberia. The creature gets its name due to the resemblance of its facial markings to those of the North American raccoon (Procyon lotor). However, despite this resemblance, the raccoon dog is not closely related to raccoons, which belong to the Mustelidae family. Instead, the Raccoon Dog is a member of the Canidae family, and its closest relatives are true foxes (Vulpes genus).

Interestingly, the Raccoon Dog shares a unique trait of regularly climbing trees with the North American gray fox, which is also not a true fox or a close relative of the Raccoon Dog.

Raccoon dogs are omnivorous in nature and have a diverse diet that includes both animal and plant matter. They consume a variety of foods, including insects, rodents, amphibians, birds, fish, reptiles, mollusks, crabs, sea urchins, carrion, eggs, and even other insectivores. Additionally, they feed on fruits, nuts, and berries. Raccoon dogs have also been known to scavenge human garbage for food.

Raccoon dogs have been introduced to some parts of Europe, where they are considered an invasive species, as they have been known to compete with native species for resources and have been implicated in the spread of disease.

Photo of a Raccoon Dog - Creative Commons - Wikipedia

Are Raccoon Dogs Responsible for Covid19?

According to a report by the Associated Press: genetic material collected from a Chinese market located near the area where the initial human cases of COVID-19 were detected has revealed that the virus's DNA was combined with that of raccoon dogs. This finding provides additional evidence supporting the theory that the virus originated from animals rather than a laboratory.

While these results do not offer a conclusive explanation for how the pandemic started, they are crucial in bringing us closer to a more complete understanding of the situation. As stated by the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, every piece of data is significant in our pursuit of the truth.

The accepted evidence based proven origins of the coronavirus remain a mystery. While many scientists speculate that the virus crossed over from animals to humans, as has been the case with other viruses in the past, at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China, the presence of several laboratories in Wuhan that collect and study coronaviruses has also led to theories that the virus may have leaked from one of these facilities.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead on COVID-19 for the World Health Organization (WHO), issued a warning that the analysis did not detect the virus in any animal, nor did it provide conclusive evidence that animals had transmitted the virus to humans. according to Van Kerkove, "What this does provide is clues to help us understand what may have happened.”

The genetic sequence of the coronavirus bears a notable resemblance to that of bat coronaviruses, leading many scientists to believe that COVID-19 may have been transmitted to humans either directly from bats or through an intermediate host, such as pangolins, ferrets, or raccoon dogs.

However, the investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic has been complicated by several factors. These include the enormous surge in human infections during the first two years of the pandemic and an increasingly contentious political controversy.

It is worth noting that virus experts required more than a decade to identify the animal source of SARS, a related virus.

It is also important to note that, these new discoveries have not yet provided a definitive answer to the question of the virus's origin. Additionally, they have not undergone formal review by other experts or been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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