The Huanan seafood and wildlife market has become a focal point in the search for the origin of the coronavirus.
However, this is the first peer-reviewed study of commercially available biological evidence in 2020.
The research reveals that swabs that tested positive for the virus contain genetic material from wild animals.
Some scientists say this is further evidence that the disease was originally transmitted from an infected animal to a human.
But others call for caution in interpreting the findings, and it remains unclear why it took three years for the genetic content of the samples to be made public.
Samples taken from the region where the animals are sold are positive.
The Chinese research team published an early version of their study online in February, but the full genetic information found in commercially collected samples has not been published.
This new analysis, which was confirmed by other scientists before being published in Nature, includes more important details about the contents of these samples collected from the counters, surfaces, cages and machines on the market.
The Chinese research team’s article showed that some samples collected from areas where wild animals are sold tested positive for the virus.
Their analysis also showed that animals now known to be susceptible to the virus, particularly raccoon dogs, were sold live at these locations.
However, Chinese researchers note that their discovery does not provide conclusive evidence of how the epidemic started.
The published findings come after the theory of lab leaks rose among US officials.
The Chinese government has vehemently denied claims that the virus originated from a scientific facility.
However, agencies such as the FBI and the US Department of Energy have announced that they now believe this scenario is the “most likely” scenario.