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Current Affairs

Origins of Covid-19

Date: 29 May 2021 Tags: Disaster & Disaster Management

Issue

US President Joe Biden has ordered investigations into the origins of the SARS CoV-2 virus that appeared in China.

 

Background

Many conspiracy theories have emerged that have pointed out to deliberate or accidental release of harmful virus from Wuhan Institute of Virology.

 

Details

  • There are two possible theories for origination of the virus. One is that it may have jumped from animals to humans. The source is believed to be bats.

  • The second theory says that the virus may have escaped from a virology lab in Wuhan, the information that may have been hidden deliberately by the Chinese government.

 

Virology lab in Wuhan

  • The Wuhan Institute of Virology is a high secure area that studies pathogens that can infect humans and cause deadly and exotic diseases.

  • The lab has conducted extensive studies on the virus borne out of bats since the 2002 SARS-CoV-1 epidemic.

  • The lab collects various genetic materials from wild animals and cultivates them for future studies. It had previously collected bat samples from caves.

  • The lab also conducts experiments using live virus to study effects on humans. It follows strict security protocols but may not be completely secure.

  • The lab is very near to the Huanan seafood market that was the initial point of infection and later became a super-spreader event.

  • Nobel winning scientist has claimed to have found a “furin cleavage site” on the genome of SARS-Cov-2 virus. This is usually done artificially to increase infectiousness of the virus.

 

Supporters of natural infection theory

  • Some researchers believe that transmission may have occurred naturally. Such incidents have earlier been reported.

  • MERS-CoV (camels), Nipah virus (bats), SARS epidemic (bats) and Ebola (bats or non-human primates) are previous such incidents of transmission.