Scientists are trying to know how the novel coronavirus jumped from animals to humans because this pandemic is spreading the globe and affecting humanity. Professor Edward Holmes, an evolutionary virologist is leading this joint scientific work with scientists in China and around the world to reveal the genetic code of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). While other scientists are trying to find a good vaccine. Their efforts may also assist in the prevention and monitoring of other viruses causing zoonotic diseases.
Determining the transfer of novel coronavirus from animal to human not only assists us to fight the current pandemic but also helps to identify future victims of other coronaviruses.
Professor Holmes revealed that genetic regions of pangolin viruses closely resemble the human virus but still the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 from pangolin is unclear. The receptor-binding domain shows the ability of the virus to attach and infect human cells.
Pangolins are considered as the intermediate hosts from where the novel human virus has emerged. To prevent zoonotic diseases these animals and others should be discharged from wet markets.
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Professor Holmes suggested that humans should decrease exposure to animals because there are many coronaviruses in animals that could potentially transfer to humans in the future. Trade-in wildlife and wet markets should be banned to stop the emergence of viruses in humans.
Professor Holmes along with the scientists from the University of Edinburgh, Tulane University, Columbia University in New York and Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla California in a paper revealed that COVID-19 was a manufactured biological agent but not a purposefully manipulated or a laboratory construct virus.
According to Professor holmes, it’s clear that the cause of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) was not constructed in a lab but is a natural emergence of disease and for many years researchers have been alarming about it. Altmetric measured that in the academic study of all time the paper has reached the highest rank and it shows the interest of the world on this topic.
Professor Holmes in collaboration with professor Yong Zheri Zhang from the School of Life Science at Fudan University and the shanghai public health clinical center highlighted the genomic data that reveals the emergence of COVID-19(SARS-CoV-2).
The detailed findings are published in the journal Cell.
Scientists took samples from the wet market of Wuhan which is believed as the site of virus emergence and phylogenetic analysis of genome sequences of environmental samples (obtained from the wet market) revealed that these viruses closely resemble those obtained from the earliest patients of Wuhan.
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Professor Zhang and Professor Holmes suggested that as all the early cases of novel coronavirus were not associated with the market, possibly the suspected story may be less complicated than the current story.
Coronaviruses can cross the boundaries of the species and accommodate new species and in the human population, SARS-CoV-2 may become the 5th endemic coronavirus. Scientists hope that due to this capacity of leaping from one specie to another more viruses will emerge in the future. More research is required to deal with all the viruses that may emerge in the future and to develop public health policy.
The policy and other measures that could help to stop health danger to humans due to other coronaviruses include the removal of avian and mammalian wildlife from all the wet markets. Supervision of animal coronaviruses in several mammalian species and severe initiatives against the illegal trade of exotic animals should be taken The study concludes that prevention is better than cure and taking all these measures could help to stop health dangers to humans.