Study Confirms COVID-19 Has Natural Origins, Could Still Be Circulating in Animals and Might Jump into Humans Once Again
The world is in the grips of a COVID-19 epidemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Having emerged from Wuhan in Hubei Province China, the virus is now taking a heavy toll in Europe especially Italy and the US. It has also spread to 70 countries and according to an extensive study, it is a product of natural evolution contrary to what many are believing that the virus was engineered in a lab. The study published in the Journal Nature Medicine. The study was done by analysing the public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV2 and found no evidence that the virus was engineered or made in a lab.
1SARS-CoV-2 responsible for COVID-19, originated naturally
According to Kristian Andersen Ph.D. who is an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research and the co-author of the study, she says “By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes,”
2The coronavirus has been increasing
By now many will have already read accurate information regarding the coronavirus. The family of viruses first emerged in 2003 as the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic in China. The second severe outbreak was called MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. The present strain called SARS-CoV-2 surfaced in Wuhan and was revealed to WHO by China on 31st December 2019. As of today, 22nd March, there have been 332,134 cases so far yet experts feel that in countries around the world, several more cases are going undiagnosed. The virus has taken the life of over 14,000 people too.
3The genome sequence of the virus has been researched and analysed
The Chinese wasted no time in researching the virus after the epidemic began. They sequenced the genome of SARS-CoV-2 and shared the data with scientists across the world. The sequencing data revealed that the epidemic was rapidly detected and has increased by human transmission after being introduced into humans. It was this data that scientists like Andersen used to find out the origin of the new strain of the virus by studying its revealing features.
The genetic template of the virus was analysed for spike proteins which are armatures that the virus uses to grab the outer cell wall of animal and human cells and then penetrate it. Two types of spike protein were analysed RBD or receptor-binding domain which is like a grappling hook and a cleavage site which is like a molecule can opener that the virus uses to pry open and enter host cells.