Killing more than 37 lakh people worldwide origin of corona virus Couldn’t find out yet. Most countries and epidemiologists corona virus China is being held responsible for the infection. They claim that this dangerous virus was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology located in Wuhan city of China. Former US President Donald Trump has repeatedly described Corona as a Chinese virus. Benoit Barbeau, Associate Professor of the Université du Québec Montréal (UQAM), located in Montreal, Canada, explained why most of the
This virus was not identified in any animal
Benoit Barbeau said that since the start of the Kovid-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of speculation about the origin of SARS-CoV-2. So far, none of these ideas has reached any concrete result. It was said earlier that the virus spread rapidly due to the Wuhan seafood market. However, this does not make much sense now. Even after a year of intensive research, this virus has not been identified in any animal so far.
Infection has already spread from animals to humans
The hypothesis that explains the virus’s transmission from animal to human is believed to be the strongest so far: the coronavirus passed from bats to humans through a third medium. It’s not even the first time this has happened. In the case of mars-cove (Middle East respiratory syndrome), camels are seen as a possible medium of its spread. Similarly in the case of SARS-CoV-2, pangolins sold illegally in the Wuhan market may be the medium, although more concrete evidence is needed to justify this idea.
I am a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Université du Québec in Montreal, a specialist in virology, in particular in human retroviruses, and in human coronaviruses. SARS-CoV-2 has been reported to have been accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIY), a high-security bio laboratory with a biosafety level-4, since the beginning of the pandemic.
Controversy over US funding claim to Chinese lab
This possibility reappeared in recent weeks, embarrassing Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), with some newspapers claiming the US was funding the research lab. And it was also claimed that there are for-profit studies related to funding projects. An idea published in the Wall Street Journal claims that this NIAID may have supported some of these experiments going on at WIY.
Benefit experiments can have advantages, but there are also risks. So, what is this gain-of-function or gain-of-function study? From a medical point of view, it is associated with research on viruses. The goal of gain-of-function research is to create a virus with new properties that make it more pathogenic or more transmissible to humans.
Viruses can change their own behavior
Traditionally, this type of transformation focused on the growth of the virus in animal or human cells. Recently, there have been significant advances in animal models and molecular biology techniques to make some precise and desired changes to viral genes. This process can rapidly generate new viruses (in contrast to the natural evolution of viruses, which take many years) that are better adapted to humans and may change their ability to be transmitted between humans.
The rationale for this type of research is that by isolating these new viruses, researchers will be able to identify specific changes in the genome that are responsible for the new characteristics. This knowledge could make it possible for scientists to better predict the arrival of new pandemics. This could help scientists develop vaccines and treatments adapted to new infectious agents. However, the principle of gain-of-function research has been widely challenged in the past decade.
The research of American and Japanese scientists on the virus raised concerns
A frequently cited example that worries many scientists is Ron Fauchier and Yoshihiro Kawaoka’s research on the highly dangerous avian H5N1 influenza virus. Using a technique that allowed the virus to be transmitted multiple times from one medium to another, these researchers were finally able to create an H5N1 influenza virus that could be transmitted by air to species.
BSL-4 created controversy
The study was widely debated and the research was eventually halted. The US government also urged science journals not to publish the full results of this study, arguing that the information could be used by bioterrorists. The research was resumed in 2013. Gain-of-function research has the potential to help prevent animal-to-human transmission of viruses with pandemic potential. However, this type of research must be done in a highly secure laboratory, known as BSL-4.
Wuhan lab leak is more likely
These laboratories are designed to protect the staff and researchers from getting infected and to prevent any other leakage. However, documents from US Embassy officials showed that the biosafety standards at the BSL-4 laboratory at WIV were not stringent enough. In addition, several researchers suggested that the institute’s gain-of-function study on bat coronaviruses was risky and could be harmful to humans if left out. This is the reason why the hypothesis of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 due to leaks from Wuhan lab is now being taken seriously.
However, a WHO-constituted committee that visited the Wuhan lab concluded that there appeared to be no evidence to support the human-made origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with many leading scientists questioning whether it was during that visit. China was completely transparent. In an open letter published in May in Science, these scientists called for further investigation into this regard.