(Illustration from Ernst Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur, 1904)
The following text, is a collection of excerpts, possibly considered irrelevant to some (most?). Irrelevant not only because such speculation could be inaccurate, but also with the death toll of the global pandemic currently reaching 65,652 people, most are concerned with the current predicament and the future of their nations, as opposed to how this unfortunate series of events began in the first place.
However, as 10s of thousands die around the world, due to this specific respiratory virus, I believe there should be room for speculation and discussion. If I were stabbed in the night and left dying, I’d want to know who my killer was and why I had to die. If I were dying of COVID-19, as many are around the world right now, I’d want to know the story behind the virus. What fateful events led to this world being in the strange and sorry state it finds itself now? Was there one fateful act that led to this, amassing 65,652 lives to end here in 2020? (Seasonal flu alone kills 291,000 to 646,000 people worldwide every year, according to WHO.)
I cannot truly attest to the validity of the sources quoted, nor will I try to superimpose my understanding/interpretation over what is quoted. I toyed with the title “The Curious Case of Covid-19” but after some deliberation, I decided against that, because it makes the implication that everything mentioned here is directly linked to the specific novel strain of coronavirus, named so for its discovery in the year 2019. When I have no proof to definitively make that connection. The only thing I will suggest, is to pay attention to the dates.
“A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence.”
―NatureMedicine.com, November 9th, 2015.
“Bat cave solves mystery of deadly SARS virus — and suggests new outbreak could occur. Chinese scientists find all the genetic building blocks of SARS in a single population of horseshoe bats.”
―Nature.com, December 1st, 2017.
“Scientists trace 2002 Sars virus to colony of cave-dwelling bats in China. Genetic source found for disease that killed 750 round the world.“
―TheGuardian.com, December 10th, 2017.
“To clinch the case, a team led by Shi Zheng-Li and Cui Jie of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China sampled thousands of horseshoe bats in locations across the country. “The most challenging work is to locate the caves, which usually are in remote areas,” says Cui. After finding a particular cave in Yunnan, southwestern China, in which the strains of coronavirus looked similar to human versions, the researchers spent five years monitoring the bats that lived there, collecting fresh guano and taking anal swabs. They sequenced the genomes of 15 viral strains from the bats and found that, taken together, the strains contain all the genetic pieces that make up the human version. Although no single bat had the exact strain of SARS coronavirus that is found in humans, the analysis showed that the strains mix often. The human strain could have emerged from such mixing, says Kwok-Yung Yuen, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong who co-discovered the SARS virus: “The authors should be congratulated for confirming what has been suspected.” But Changchun Tu, a virologist who directs the OIE Reference Laboratory for Rabies in Changchun, China, says the results are only “99%” persuasive. He would like to see scientists demonstrate in the lab that the human SARS strain can jump from bats to another animal, such as a civet. “If this could have been done, the evidence would be perfect,” he says.”
―David Cyranoski, Nature.com, December 1st, 2017.
“Shi Zheng-Li, Researcher (Academic) – Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.”
“Longitudinal Surveillance of Betacoronaviruses in Fruit Bats in Yunnan Province, China During 2009–2016. This study highlights the importance of virus surveillance in natural reservoirs and emphasizes the need for preparedness against the potential spill-over of these viruses to local residents living near bat caves.”
―Virologica Sinica, March 2018.
“Cui and Shi are searching for other bat populations that could have produced strains capable of infecting humans. The researchers have now isolated some 300 bat coronavirus sequences, most not yet published, with which they will continue to monitor the virus’s evolution. And they warn that a deadly outbreak could emerge again: the cave where the elements of SARS were found is just 1 kilometre from the nearest village, and genetic mixing among the viral strains is fast. “The risk of spillover into people and emergence of a disease similar to SARS is possible,” the authors write in their paper. Although many markets selling animals in China have already been closed or restricted following outbreaks of SARS and other infectious diseases, Yuen agrees that the latest results suggest the risk is still present. “It reinforces the notion that we should not disturb wildlife habitats and never put wild animals into markets,” says Yuen.”
―David Cyranoski, December 1st, 2017.
Job listing discovered, translated and shared by Laowhy86.
Posted on the 24th of December, 2019.
WUHAN INSTITUTE OF VIROLOGY, CAS
Link to job: www.whiov.cas.cn (5/4/2020)
Excerpt of advertisement:
1. Recruitment positions: 1-2 postdoctoral.
Proposed recruitment direction 1: Ecological study of bat migration and virus transmission.
Proposed recruitment direction 2: Cross-species infection of bat virus and its pathogenicity.
“A pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO Country Office in China on 31 December 2019.”
―World Health Organization, April 2nd, 2020.
WHO DECLARES COVID-19 OUTBREAK A PANDEMIC.
―March 11th, 2020.
In the end, it isn’t about knowing who to blame, who to fault, what we should have done in hindsight. It’s about finding out what truly happened, so we can learn from the incidents/mistakes that were made. We can kick around conspiracy theories, about how overnight this virus turned the free world into an authoritarian nanny state, but liberties will/must be lost in exchange for lives (and further costs). We need to learn from this, otherwise we dishonor those that have been lost, because their deaths will have been in vain.
If this world fails the sick, the old, the young, the weak, the vulnerable, then what sort of world have we made for ourselves here?