In the present time, one of the most prominent questions among the community of doctors and scientist is how did the pandemic start and what is the origin of the virus that unleashed the catastrophe.
Unraveling The Truth; Origin Of The Virus And How Did The Pandemic Start
However, the quest to find the answers have largely been hindered by apprehensions about the international relationships, particularly for the US and conspiracy theories.
Two most popular theories:
Two theories regarding the origin of the virus and the spread of the pandemic were most widely debated.
One of the theories states that the virus, with bats as its original host, somehow entered the human chain through some unknown intermediate carrier, followed by which it rapidly spread across the globe.
It was further claimed that the virus must have spread due to improper handling of the animals at some wet animal market in Wuhan, China.
During the initial days of the spreading of the pandemic, this theory was widely circulated and believed, the theory also got acceptance to some extent.
The second theory states that it must have leaked from some laboratory in the Wuhan region, where actual studies are carried out of the novel coronaviruses on a regular basis.
most of the strains are very similar to the ones that wreaked havoc through the pandemic.
The theory of lab leak comes with two associated questions, that are, if it was an escape from some research facility then was it genetically modified to as a part of some research.
The second question asks if it indeed was a leak from some laboratory, was the Chinese authorities aware of it, or did some deliberate cover-up took place to hide the entire incidence.
Fuel for controversy:
The second theory of the virus is the result of a laboratory leak is outrightly denied by the Chinese authorities and it is loaded with political biases.
In the United States, there were many unsubstantiated claims around the theory and even the international bodies like the World Health Organization were careful about not offending anyone by making any major moves.
However, during a pandemic that killed 3.75 million people, the topic was not scientifically discussed to find the solution rather marked a taboo that prevented any strict scrutiny on the issue.
Beyond politics; where do the facts lead us?
Experts like Dr. David Relman, a professor at the Stanford University and a microbiologist, try to address the questions.
After weighing the evidence for both the possibilities of the origin of the virus, concludes that it can all be circumstantial.
However, he implies that finding the answers now for this pandemic can help prevent such a crisis in the future.
Relman states that almost all viruses that emerged in the oast and caused infection in humans originated in some animal host, so it is part of history.
As for the novel coronavirus, all of the strains have bats as their primary host, hence it can be safely assumed that, at some point this virus thrived in bats.
He further implies that there are activities that bring bats and humans in close proximity for the virus to spread. Activities like wildlife trade, or disruption of the natural habitat of bats, can be attributed to the spreading of viruses from bats to humans.
A closer look is needed:
There have are numerous indicators that call for a closer look at the lab leak theory.
Finding the initial source and how the virus jumped from bats to humans can help us understand the virus better while preparing to avoid such pandemics in the future.
As stated by Relman, we still do not know about the immediate ancestors of the virus, we only about the probability of it being originating at a laboratory.
Moreover, Relman adds that it is better to accept the possibility that the actual source of the virus might never be known, a better objective will be to have the willingness to accept that there can be multiple means of transmission of the virus.