Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

How One Pandemic Led To Another: Asfv, the Disruption Contributing To Sars-Cov-2 Emergence in Wuhan

Version 1 : Received: 24 February 2021 / Approved: 25 February 2021 / Online: 25 February 2021 (16:57:13 CET)

How to cite: Xia, W.; Hughes, J.; Robertson, D.; Jiang, X. How One Pandemic Led To Another: Asfv, the Disruption Contributing To Sars-Cov-2 Emergence in Wuhan. Preprints 2021, 2021020590 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202102.0590.v1). Xia, W.; Hughes, J.; Robertson, D.; Jiang, X. How One Pandemic Led To Another: Asfv, the Disruption Contributing To Sars-Cov-2 Emergence in Wuhan. Preprints 2021, 2021020590 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202102.0590.v1).

Abstract

The spillover of a virus from one host species to another requires both molecular and ecological risk factors to align. While extensive research both before and after the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in 2019 implicates horseshoe bat as the significant reservoir genus for the new coronavirus, it remains unclear why it emerged at this time. One massive disruption to human-animal contact in 2019 is linked to the on-going African swine fever virus (ASFV) pandemic. This began in Georgia in 2007 and was introduced to China in 2018. Pork is the major meat source in the Chinese diet. Severe fluctuations in the pork market prior to December 2019, may have increased the transmission of zoonotic pathogens, including severe acute respiratory syndrome–related coronaviruses, from wildlife to humans, wildlife to livestock and non-local animals to local animals. The major production and consumption regions for pork are geographically separated in China. The dramatic shortage of pork following restrictions of pig movement and culling resulted in price increases, leading to alternative sources of meat and unusual animal and meat movements nationwide often involving wildlife and thus greatly increased opportunities for human-Sarbecovirus contacts. Pork prices were particularly high in southern provinces (Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, and Hubei), where wildlife is farmed on different scales and more frequently consumed. Shandong experienced the biggest losses in pork production (~1.7 million metric tons), which is also the largest mink farming province. Hence, human exposure to SARS-CoV-2 from wildlife or infected animals are more likely to have taken place in 2019, when China was experiencing the worst effects of the ASFV pandemic.

Keywords

African swine fever virus (ASFV); Pork shortage; Alternative meat consumption; Wildlife; Human-animal contact; Zoonotic spillover; SARS-CoV-2

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