The starting point of the COVID-19 pandemic was the Wuhan seafood market, where mammals were also sold. That’s the conclusion of two new studies published Tuesday in the journal Science, reports CNN.

The research used two different approaches in the work. In one, scientists used mapping and social media reporting for spatial and environmental analysis. They suggest that the virus was likely carried by live animals in late 2019. The first cases were registered among sellers and buyers of the market. There were two types of virus circulating here that passed to humans.

“ll eight COVID-19 cases detected prior to 20 December were from the western side of the market, where mammal species were also sold,” the study said.

As a result of mapping the cases, a clear pattern emerged. By examining the earliest cases in people who were not directly connected to the market, scientists found that these people lived or worked nearby. After originating in the market, the virus began to spread to the surrounding community through vendors from the market entering local shops and infecting their workers.

A second study uses molecular approach and tracks when the coronavirus passed from animals to humans. It also proved that the earliest version of the coronavirus had two types – A and B.

Type B was first transmitted to humans, it was found in those who were directly connected to the market. It probably happened on November 18. Shortly after that, people began to be infected by type A. It was found in people who lived near the market.

Research does not conclusively rule out the possibility that the virus spread through a leak from the lab. However, scientists believe that the probability of this is very low.

To prevent future pandemics, they are going to study which animal caught the virus and how it happened. Cooperation between scientists is also important to stop the spread of the virus as early as possible.

“The main question we have to ask ourselves is when is the next time this will happen because it will – how do we detect this outbreak early and prevent it from didn’t turn into a pandemic?” one of the authors of the study determines further goals.