Why Does It Matter Where Coronavirus Originated
The main reason to know where COVID-19 originated is to stop a pandemic from happening again. While it doesnt change what we need to do to fight the current pandemic since its already here, learning what caused it can help us be prepared to prevent a pandemic like this from happening in the first place.
The last thing anyone wants is another pandemic, and learning how this one started will help us stay on top of future outbreaks that could become pandemics if we dont stop them.
Bats Mink Pangolins And Other Animals Are Suspects According To A Report By The World Health Organisation But Many Questions Remain Unanswered
IN LITTLE MORE than a year, covid-19 has spread to 192 countries, caused more than 128m recorded infections and over 2.8m recorded deaths. But it is still not clear where the disease came from. The question has caused diplomatic quarrels, notably between Donald Trumps administration and China, and excited conspiracy theorists who say the pathogen leaked from government-run Chinese labs. On March 30th a team of experts convened by the World Health Organisation published its report into the likely origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19. After a 28-day mission to Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus was first spotted in late 2019, the team claimed to have found important clues. But the report has been criticised by at least 14 countries, including America and Britain, which accuse China of withholding access and information. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, described the investigation as not extensive enough. What are the probable origins of covid-19 and when, if ever, might its source be established?
Although China recorded the first cases of the new coronavirus in Wuhan in December 2019, it could have circulated unreported before then. Transmission could also have occurred outside the city at the same time, or earlier. The WHOs report is circumspect, finding that no firm conclusion about the role of the Huanan market in the origin of the outbreak, or how the infection was introduced into the market, can currently be drawn.
Did The Coronavirus Come From A Lab
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A year and a half later, we still dont know for certain: How did the Covid-19 pandemic begin?
From the outbreaks early days, most scientists assumed that the virus, SARS-CoV-2, had jumped from an animal to a person in late 2019, possibly at a meat market in Wuhan, China, the city of 11 million where the first known Covid cases were identified. But in May, The Times reported that U.S. intelligence agencies were investigating another explanation that had been debated for months: that the virus had accidentally escaped from a lab.
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No Clarity On Virus Origin
Last January, the WHO sent a team of scientists to China to carry out an investigation, a process that was closely scrutinized by the Chinese government.
The team concluded that it was extremely unlikely that the virus leaked from a lab. The team also claimed that the virus may have jumped from animals to humans.
The results were met with skepticism and experts urged the WHO to launch further investigations after failing to provide clear evidence about the origin of the virus. Even though the WHO tried to revive the investigation, China has rejected the global health body’s plan, emphasizing that Beijing can’t accept another origin-tracing probe.
Risk Of Getting Covid
Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on airplanes. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, travelers should try to avoid contact with sick passengers and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contain 60%95% alcohol.
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Did The Virus Escape From A Lab
The lab-leak hypothesis usually points the finger at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is close to the Huanan Seafood Market, where the first major cluster of infections occurred. The institute has a long history of collecting and analysing bat coronaviruses. The leak scenario usually involves researchers tinkering around with a virus to investigate its properties, perhaps in gain of function experiments in which pathogens are modified to be more harmful in a bid to understand them better. This modified virus then somehow slipped through the labs biosafety net, which has been criticised by many for being full of holes. However, there is no documented evidence of such experiments taking place.
The World Health Organization and US intelligence are both taking the lab-leak hypothesis seriously. However, some scientists are concerned that this is a distraction from the most likely origin of the virus wild animals and that we are running out of time to determine the true origin of the pandemic.
What Is Known About Covid
There is no definitive evidence yet for any one of these hypotheses. If there is any consensus, its that this is a very complicated issue, says CFRs Yanzhong Huang. There needs to be further work done to find a conclusive answer.
Until recently, the idea that COVID-19 was transmitted to humans in a lab was largely viewed as implausible. In the first weeks of the pandemic, much focus was placed on a so-called wet market in Wuhan as a possible place of origin, but researchers in China soon quashed the idea after discovering earlier cases of the virus with no connection to the market. Several widely shared letters by small groups of scientists from different countries pushed strongly in the direction of a natural origin, calling suggestions that COVID-19 emerged in a lab a conspiracy theory. Following an early 2021 mission to China, a World Health Organization delegation called a lab leak extremely unlikely.
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Can Someone Who Has Had Covid
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.
How long someone is actively sick can vary so the decision on when to release someone from isolation is made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with doctors, infection prevention and control experts, and public health officials and involves considering specifics of each situation including disease severity, illness signs and symptoms, and results of laboratory testing for that patient.
What Name Does Who Use For The Virus
From a risk communications perspective, using the name SARS can have unintended consequences in terms of creating unnecessary fear for some populations, especially in Asia which was worst affected by the SARS outbreak in 2003.
For that reason and others, WHO has begun referring to the virus as the virus responsible for COVID-19 or the COVID-19 virus when communicating with the public. Neither of these designations are intended as replacements for the official name of the virus as agreed by the ICTV.
Material published before the virus was officially named will not be updated unless necessary in order to avoid confusion.
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Can Someone Who Has Been Quarantined For Covid
Quarantine means separating a person or group of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease but have not developed illness from others who have not been exposed, in order to prevent the possible spread of that disease. Quarantine is usually established for the incubation period of the communicable disease, which is the span of time during which people have developed illness after exposure. For COVID-19, the period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure, because 14 days is the longest incubation period seen for similar coronaviruses. Someone who has been released from COVID-19 quarantine is not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others because they have not developed illness during the incubation period.
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Zeng Yixin, the vice minister of the National Health Commission, said in July 2021 that China had always supported “scientific virus tracing,” but that Beijing was opposed to politicizing the tracing work.
Two years since China reported the first COVID death, public health experts have different views on whether it is still possible to trace the origin of the virus.
“If this is a naturally occurring epidemic and if China had no system to track and detect it in 2020, it will be impossible to trace what happened in Wuhan two years ago,” said Mei-Shang Ho, a research fellow at the Institute of biomedical sciences at Academia Sinica in Taiwan.
“Another scenario would be that the virus was leaked from a lab, and the only possible way for us to know more about the origin of the virus would be if someone is willing to share the information with the outside world,” she added, pointing out that “Chinese authorities may try to cover it up and the researchers may not have the power to disclose the information.”
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Where Did The Coronavirus Come From What We Already Know Is Troubling
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Dr. Tufekci is a contributing Opinion writer who has extensively examined the Covid-19 pandemic.
There were curious characteristics about the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 1977-78, which emerged from northeastern Asia and killed an estimated 700,000 people around the world. For one, it almost exclusively affected people in their mid-20s or younger. Scientists discovered another oddity that could explain the first: It was virtually identical to a strain that circulated in the 1950s. People born before that had immunity that protected them, and younger people didnt.
But how on earth had it remained so steady genetically, since viruses continually mutate? Scientists guessed that it had been frozen in a lab. It was often found to be sensitive to temperature, something expected for viruses used in vaccine research.
It was only in 2004 that a prominent virologist, Peter Palese, wrote that Chi-Ming Chu, a respected virologist and a former member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told him that the introduction of this 1977 H1N1 virus was indeed thought to be due to vaccine trials involving the challenge of several thousand military recruits with live H1N1 virus.
For the first time, science itself seemed to have caused a pandemic while trying to prepare for it.
How Have Chinese Officials And Scientists Responded
Chinese officials have consistently rejected not only the hypothesis that the virus originated at the Wuhan laboratory, but that it originated in China at all. Additionally, Shi Zhengli, the top bat coronavirus expert at WIV, has said the virus didnt leak from her laboratory. Meanwhile, Beijing has called on the WHO to investigate the possibility that the pandemic started in other countries, including in the United States.
The accusations come amid tensions between Washington and Beijing. Throughout 2020, the Donald Trump administration repeatedly blamed China for the pandemic, adding further friction to a relationship already strained by a trade war and U.S. responses to Chinas rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, among other issues. Many critics say Trumps use of inflammatory rhetoric such as China virus and kung flu contributed to a rise in anti-Asian bias in the United States amid the pandemic. President Joe Biden has tread more carefully, choosing not to support any one theory about the viruss origin but he and top officials in his administration have persistently called for further investigation in China, which has angered Beijing.
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But Wasnt There A World Health Organization Mission To Wuhan To Study The Origins Of Covid
There was indeed. But the terms of reference of that mission, agreed with China, were to study the potential animal origins of the coronavirus, a fact that was well known to the US and other countries.
It did not include provisions for an audit of the WIV laboratory or to look into so-called gain of function research at the lab into viruses, which the Chinese are unlikely to have agreed to. During that mission to Wuhan, researchers spent just three hours at the lab.
However, in public comments team members were sceptical of the lab leak theory after their visit, on the basis of what they were allowed to see although that does not rule other material having been hidden.
And China, as the WHOs head, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, made clear, did not provide all the information that many had been hoping for, including full epidemiological data on some 174 early cases.
What Are The Ramifications Of Covid
Since the real goal of finding the origin of COVID-19 is to prevent future outbreaks of infectious diseases, it would be important to know if a lab leak was responsible for the current pandemic. As Dr. Relman notes, if the pandemic started from a lab accident, then we would need significant changes to oversight of these labs, and a big increase in lab safety. Since this would take a lot of resources, its worth it to know if a lab leak was the source of the pandemic.
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Who Plans Mission To China Tedros Ghebreyesus & Michael Ryan Who
The story we’ve been told is that the coronavirus came from bats and jumped into humans some time late last year at a seafood market in the city of Wuhan, China. Its a neat tale – but the problem is, nobody actually knows whether its true, and the evidence is mixed. Which is why the WHOs Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus, speaking in July, said…
Tedros – Over the past few months, there has been a lot of discussion about the origins of COVID-19. All preparations have been finalised and WHO experts will be traveling to China this weekend, to prepare scientific plans with their Chinese counterparts, for identifying the zoonotic sources of the disease.
The two people the WHO sent were just the advance party for a much bigger group of scientists leaving soon for Wuhan, to start asking hard questions. From the WHO, Michael Ryan…
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The furin cleavage site in the COVID virus sticks out like a sore thumb because no other known member of its family a group called Sarbecoviruses possesses a furin cleavage site. So how did the virus acquire it?
A member of the Andersen group, Garry of Tulane University, remarks in the latest emails on the fact that the inserted furin cleavage site, a string of 12 units of RNA, the virus genetic material, was exactly the required length, a precision unusual in nature: I just cant figure out how this gets accomplished in nature its stunning. Of course, in the lab it would be easy to generate the perfect 12 base insert that you wanted.
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Why Is The Disease Being Called Coronavirus Disease 2019 Covid
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, CO stands for corona, VI for virus, and D for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization best practice external icon for naming of new human infectious diseases.
What Is A Novel Coronavirus
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 , is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.
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What Are The Main Theories About Where Covid
Recently, a team of scientists from the World Health Organization traveled to China to gather evidence regarding the origins of COVID-19. While the question has not yet been answered, two leading theories have emerged regarding its origin:
One theory is that the virus that causes COVID-19 leaped from animals to humans. COVID-19 is a coronavirus, and there are many other types of coronaviruses. Most of them affect animals, but there are other coronaviruses that affect humans. A coronavirus that infects animals could develop a mutation in its genetic material that allowed it to infect humans.
Another theory is that the first cases of COVID-19 came from a lab incident. A lab studying coronaviruses could have had an accident that exposed humans to COVID-19, after which it spread rapidly to the rest of the world.