¿Por qué un brote provocó pánico en el salmón en China?

La semana pasada, Beijing vio un aumento en los casos de Covid-19, casi todos los cuales se han relacionado con un enorme mercado de alimentos al por mayor.

Los medios estatales dijeron que el virus fue descubierto en tablas de cortar utilizadas para el salmón importado en el mercado de Xinfadi, lo que generó temores en todo el país.

Los supermercados y restaurantes de Beijing se apresuraron a sacar salmón de sus estantes, y las importaciones de Europa se detuvieron.

El miércoles se anunció que un hombre de 22 años, conocido por haber limpiado ocasionalmente pescados y mariscos congelados, había dado positivo por el virus en Tianjin, cerca de Beijing.

Pero el Centro de Control de Enfermedades de China (CDC) dijo que era poco probable que el salmón portara el virus. Entonces, ¿cómo y por qué surgió el pánico?
¿Qué pasó en el mercado?
El jueves pasado, Beijing informó su primer caso de virus después de 57 días sin una infección de transmisión local.

Desde entonces, se han confirmado casi 150 casos, casi todos vinculados al mercado mayorista más grande de la ciudad.

Xinfadi suministra el 80% de las verduras y la carne de Beijing y es utilizado por decenas de miles de personas al día.

Pero a diferencia del mercado en Wuhan, no hay evidencia de un comercio de vida silvestre en el mercado de Xinfadi.

Se encontraron rastros del virus en una tabla de cortar utilizada por un vendedor de salmón importado, según los informes.

Pero unas 40 muestras del mercado dieron positivo para el virus, algunas de las cuales no provenían de tablas de cortar usadas para cortar salmón, dijo un portavoz de la Comisión Municipal de Salud de Beijing.
¿Podría el salmón ser un huésped para el virus?

Es muy improbable.

Un funcionario del Centro Chino para el Control de Enfermedades dijo que no había evidencia de que el salmón fuera el huésped, o incluso un huésped intermedio, del virus.

Shi Guoqing, subdirector del centro de respuesta de emergencia de los CDC, dijo que no había rastros del virus en el salmón antes de que llegara al mercado, lo que sugiere que el virus estaba presente en el mercado, en lugar de en el salmón mismo.

Y los expertos están de acuerdo.

Beijing deja de viajar mientras continúa el aumento de virus
Beijing endurece los controles para hacer frente al aumento de virus

«Los virus deben depender del receptor viral en las superficies de las células huésped para infectar las células. Sin el receptor seguro, no pueden ingresar a las células con éxito», dijo a CGTN Cheng Gong, virólogo de la Universidad de Tsinghua.

«Toda la evidencia conocida hasta ahora sugiere que este tipo de receptores existe solo en mamíferos, no en peces».

Sin embargo, el epidemiólogo jefe de los CDC, Wu Zunyou, dijo que los peces no podían atrapar el virus en su hábitat natural, pero agregó que era posible que los trabajadores los contaminaran durante su captura o transporte.

En general, todavía no está claro cuál es la fuente original del virus, o de dónde podría haber venido, aunque la OMS ha dicho que no se puede transmitir a los humanos a través de alimentos y bebidas.

«Los coronavirus no pueden multiplicarse en los alimentos; necesitan un huésped animal o humano para multiplicarse», dijo el organismo de salud global en un documento publicado en su sitio web.

También dijo que era «altamente improbable» que pudiera propagarse a través del envasado de alimentos.

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