The discovery of genetic material from both the virus and an animal known to be susceptible to it, as is the case with raccoon dogs, is a strong indication that an infection of that animal may have taken place at the market at the time the pandemic began. This isn't exactly a smoking gun, but it's the strongest evidence for a natural origin of COVID, casting doubt on the sinister theory that it originated from a lab leak.
This latest development doesn't actually offer any substance on how COVID originated; the report merely suggests that animals that can carry COVID were present at the market but offers no proof that they transmitted it to humans. The analysis is further weakened by its lack of corroboration within the scientific community — a fault that is likely here to stay as the data has suspiciously been removed. Until more conclusive findings are shared, all theories, including the lab leak hypothesis, are on the table.
There's a 37% chance that by January 1, 2025, at least two public health agencies will claim that COVID more likely than not originated in a laboratory, according to the Metaculus prediction community.