Despite all our good wishes at the start of the year, the first quarter of this year 2020 was marked by a war against an invisible adversary. This is the covid19. So what is the coronavirus and what is covid-19?
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What is the coronavirus?
The coronavirus is a large family of viruses which are recognized by the shape of their protein which resembles a crown. Corona viruses are all of animal origin. Although harmless, some coronaviruses transform into another type of virus to attack humans.
Their symptoms remain similar in humans. They usually start with a common cold and then progress to a very serious respiratory illness. Since the year 2002, we have known 3 cases of coronavirus:
- SARS-CoV (2002-2003): severe acute pneumonia respiratory syndrome coronavirus.
- The MERS-CoV (2012-2013): The coronavirus responsible for the Middle East respiratory syndrome
- Finally COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2: The latest coronavirus which is wreaking havoc around the world. Today he is responsible for many changes in habits and deaths around the world.
We have seen that a harmless virus can transform overnight into a more aggressive one, like the coronaviruses mentioned. To understand this phenomenon, let's study the origin a little.
The Origin of COVID-19
The COVID-19 virus was first reported by China on December 19, 2019. However, the first victims were noticed from December 8 of that year.
The genome of this coronavirus has been analyzed and studied by Chinese researchers. They found that it is a new form of the SARS-Cov virus that has infected Guangdong province in China. This new virus that we call COVID-19 is known in the scientific community as SARS-Cov2 because of its similarity to SARS-Cov. How did SARS-Cov finally turn into SARS-Cov2?
Is COVID-19 created by humans in laboratories?
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Analysis of the virus showed that it was composed of a molecule, too suitable to effectively infect our cells. The performance of COVID-19 infection at the microscopic level exceeded scientists' predictions. The hypothesis that this coronavirus would have been created by genetic manipulation in a laboratory was not lost on researchers.
Data from "reverse engineering analyzes (wikipedia)" showed that the molecules obtained do not correspond to any virus that could serve as a basis for genetic manipulation. The scientists therefore concluded that the coronavirus comes from natural selection and therefore is not created by humans. So how did nature go about creating such a virus?
Where does the coronavirus really come from?
The SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV viruses that preceded COVID-19 came from the same animal. The Rhinolophus affinis which is a species of bat that only exists in Asia.
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This species of bat according to scientists contains a virus called RaTG13. This virus has 96% similarity to SARS-Cov2 (which is COVID-19) then 4% of SARS-Cov. The RaTG13 virus, although very close to COVID-19, is incapable of infecting human cells. This time, the bat is not at the origin of this pandemic.
A more recent study would have found in pangolin a virus with up to 99% similarity to COVID-19. The latter can also infect human cells. A virus, even 99% similar to the known coronavirus, is not COVID-19. Scientists believe that pangolin is not the cause of this pandemic either.
To explain the origin of COVID-19, scientists believe that viruses similar to those found in bats and pangolin recombine to form COVID-19. This phenomenon is naturally possible and to do so, at least a 3rd “reservoir” is needed. It is the term used to designate animal species that can harbor one or more types of viruses without endangering their own health.
Scientists have developed two theories to explain the origin of COVID-19.
Natural selection in animals.
In theory, a 3nd reservoir would have been infected with these two types of virus which, by combining, would have created COVID-19. This organism harboring these viruses should have a genetic structure similar to humans. It was through this same process that SARS-Cov was born in 2002 in a province in China. The question that remains unanswered is who is this 3nd organism responsible for the mutation of coronaviruses into COVID-19? It is from this reflection that comes the second theory on the origin of the person responsible for this pandemic.
A natural selection in the human being.
In short, the 3nd or 4nd tank would be a human. When the first generation of the virus attacked its victim, it was harmless. According to scientists, it has mutated into their hosts to become a more dangerous virus that we know today.
The question of the origin of COVID-19 still remains open, but these theories have allowed us toapprendre interesting facts. We now have an idea of how viruses can naturally form to become more resistant.
In summary :
- A harmless virus can become, by mutation and association with other viruses, a deadly virus against men.
- A virus responsible for a disease can adapt or transform into another that is more aggressive and resists treatments that were effective at the start.
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Why are we looking for the origin of COVID-19?
Some readers among you will wonder why we are looking for the origin of this coronavirus when people die in the world? The main reason is that we are not just trying to beat the disease. But we also want to find a solution to prevent in advance the formation of any kind of virus of this kind in the future. The origin of certain problems includes at the same time the solutions and the means by which they can be resolved.
We are at the end of our first article on the coronavirus. We will not stop telling you, respect the confinement measures of your country. Apply the recommendations of the WHO and the health authorities of your country with care. See you next time for another ticket.