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The 4 possible origins of SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2, according to the WHO

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Kamal Saini
Kamal S. has been Journalist and Writer for Business, Hardware and Gadgets at Revyuh.com since 2018. He deals with B2b, Funding, Blockchain, Law, IT security, privacy, surveillance, digital self-defense and network policy. As part of his studies of political science, sociology and law, he researched the impact of technology on human coexistence. Email: kamal (at) revyuh (dot) com

A group of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and China determines in a joint study the possible origins of COVID-19. Among them, the virus passed from bats to humans through another animal is the most plausible scenario, and the virus left a laboratory is “extremely unlikely.”

The results of the report raise many unanswered questions, but at the same time provide more details about the team’s arguments. The authors now propose to do more research on the possible hypotheses, except for the leak of the coronavirus from a laboratory.

A diplomat from a WHO member country presented the Associated Press with a near-final draft of the report. But it is not yet clear if they could modify the document before publishing it.

The researchers indicated four possible scenarios in the report and ranked them from most plausible to least plausible about where the SARS-CoV-2 came from. The theory of spread through a second animal tops the list.

The experts rated the idea of ​​direct transmission from bats to humans as probable and furthermore, they considered the spread through cold chain food products possible, but unlikely.

The closest relative of the virus that causes COVID-19 was found in bats, which are carriers of the coronavirus. However, “the evolutionary distance between this virus and SARS-CoV-2 is several decades, which suggests a missing link,” according to the report.

The specialists explained that they had found very similar viruses in pangolins, and minks and cats are also susceptible to COVID-19, suggesting that they could be carriers. The report is largely based on the results of a visit by a WHO team of international experts to Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus was first detected.

WHO expert Peter Ben Embarek, who led the mission in Wuhan, noted on March 26 that the report had been finalized and was in the process of verification and translation. 

“I expect that in the next few days, that whole process will be completed and we will be able to release it publicly,” he emphasized.

The draft report is not conclusive about whether the outbreak started in the Wuhan seafood market where one of the first cases was detected in December 2019.

Finding other cases before the outbreak in the Wuhan seafood market suggests that it may have started elsewhere. But the report notes that there were possibly less serious cases undetected, which could be a link between the market and previous incidents.

No firm conclusion therefore 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,” according to the report.

As the pandemic spread, China said it found samples of the virus in the containers of frozen food entering the country. The cold chain can help spread the virus over long distances. 

However, the WHO is skeptical. This risk is less than through the transmission of a respiratory infection from one person to another, according to the document, and most experts agree.

While there is some evidence for possible reintroduction of SARS-CoV-2 through handling of imported contaminated frozen products in China since the initial pandemic wave, this would be extraordinary in 2019 where the virus was not widely circulating,” says the study.

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