Guru Gyan
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Guru Gyan

A Challenging Journey To Find The Origin Of COVID-19…

For the greater good, we need to know where it all actually started.

What’s New?

On February 9, 2021 in Wuhan, China, members of the World Health Organisation (WHO) team reported a series of conclusions from their month-long investigation in China for the origin of the coronavirus. The researchers from WHO eliminated a controversial theory that COVID-19 came from a lab in Wuhan. Liang Wannian, Head of the China team, was quoted by agencies, saying, “There is no indication of the transmission of the Sars-Cov-2 in the population of the period before Dec 2019.”

Meanwhile, the team also gave two hypotheses.
1) It is possible that the virus, or its most recent ancestor, came from an animal outside China
2) Once the virus was circulating in people it could have spread to others on frozen wildlife and other cold packaged goods

The interesting thing to note here is that this theory has been highly promoted by the Chinese media. You might be asking why we need to know the origin of the virus now because it has been over a year since the pandemic began.

Why Do We Need To Find The Origin?

To Design Interventions: When we find the source of a virus, it can sometimes lead to very simple interventions. For example) Scientists found that the flying fox bat in Bangladesh was the natural host of the Nipah virus. Researchers found that the virus carried in bat urine. People became infected with the virus when they consumed raw date palm sap from palm trees that had bat urine in it.

After that, interventions were made and these included education campaigns which discourage people from drinking fresh date palm sap. People were also encouraged to close collection containers to stop the sap from being contaminated.

Understand basic virological, epidemiological and anthropological data is desperately needed for known outbreaks and to reduce the burden of future potential outbreaks.

To Reduce Panic & Fight Misinformation: The origins of the virus have been politicized. Several government officials from different countries have been putting the blame on countries which they have a ‘not-so-smooth’ relationship with.

Just The Beginning

Even though the researchers have said that the virus couldn’t have been leaked from a lab, the U.S. has refused to accept the findings. Reuters wrote that Washington has said it wants to scrutinize data used by the team, which concluded that the virus causing COVID-19 did not originate in a lab in Wuhan and that bats remain a likely source.

Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Georgetown University told Nature, “There are still major stones that need to be unturned because any investigation into virus origins won’t be accomplished in two weeks…”

We agree with Ms. Rasmussen. It is difficult to understand how all this unfolded in a matter of two weeks and scientists from WHO need to take a closer look so that we can prevent such pandemics in the future. On the other hand, it is also important to note that countries should collaborate to find a solution for the problems and not politicize the COVID-19 origin any further.

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