COVID-19 is not a laboratory construct
Why scientists know the virus wasn’t purposefully manipulated
Novel virus COVID19 was discovered in 2019. The scientific community classified a new virus last year as being one of now seven known coronaviruses, according to WHO ( World Health Organization).
The COVID19 causing virus appeared in China in late November — December 2019. The genome of COVID19 was immediately sequenced and made publicly available to researchers.
Seven known today coronaviruses can potentially infect humans, including the novel coronavirus identified in 2019. Yes, the rest of the world had 2–3 months to prepare. Among them are also SARS and MERS. Based on the genome of the novel 2019 virus, it was hypothesized that the origin of this novel virus is most probably a natural selection in animals before the virus jumped from an animal to a human host. One of the theories illustrated by research is a virus first appeared in bats and then jumped to another animal species at the Wuhan market in China.
Rhinolophus affinis bat is a carrier of a virus 95% similar to COVID-19. It served as a reservoir of viruses infecting Malayan pangolins being sold in Wuhan (and “known” in China to have “healing power”). Bat virus is the closest to human COVID19; pangolin coronaviruses present substantial similarity to COVID-19 as well. This observation may prove that the natural selection in animal hosts may have been the reservoir and the source of initial human infection.
After the initial animal to human transmission, the virus could have made a second natural selection cycle in humans explaining why some people are not getting an acute illness, but others are severely affected. Following its first human infections, many of which may have been asymptomatic, from at least November 2019, human diseases became widespread.
It is almost certain, this novel virus wasn’t created or manipulated in the lab. However, it may have been an unintentional spread from a lab that studies these viruses according to an article in Nature. In 2013, laboratories in China investigated similar viruses starting the 2002 outbreak and published in Nature the findings. SARS-like coronaviruses have been reported arising from bats in China, Europe, and Africa. It was established back in 2012 that Chinese horseshoe bats are natural reservoirs of SARS-CoV.
The danger of this 2019 novel virus is its binding to human angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2), a cause of acute respiratory distress in some cases. COVID19 uses ACE2 as a cellular entry receptor. There is a genetic predisposition in some individuals to hypertension. The genetic predisposition may explain the fact some individuals are likely to have severe illness while others are almost unaffected, as described in recently published articles. Human variability of the ACE2 gene leads to high expression of ACE2 in tissues in some but not others. It is still unclear the genetic predisposition of having more critical diseases after the infection occurs; some reports indicate there were no significant differences between Asian and Caucasian, or male and female. The only known risk factor for suffering a severe course of the disease, as of March 2020, is smoking; tobacco was shown to be associated with higher ACE2 gene expression in the lungs.
ACE2 acts as an entry point for coronaviruses. Importantly, it remains to be established whether ACE inhibitors, drugs used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease, are linked to a decreased risk of pneumonia and reduced risk of dying from pneumonia.
Scientist are attempting to identify vulnerable and susceptible groups for adequate protection and care
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The Value of International Air Travel Restrictions
And the potential cost to the U.S. economy