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The Origins of the SARS Covid-19

a civet

Photo courtesy www.thephuketnews.com/

The Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention was created as a result of the first SARS outbreak. This outbreak took place between the years 2002 and 2004. It originated from wildlife traders in Guangdong, China who caught the virus from “civets”, a wild mammal that looks like a cat or mongoose. Guandong is located about 900 km from Wuhan, but it is right next to Hong Kong.
In February, 2020, China declared an immediate and “comprehensive” ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals.

There are coronavirus precedents to SARS

The Henipavirus is a genus of viruses originating from various species of fruit bats.

  • The Hendra virus is naturally harboured by fruit bats in Australia. The virus spread to the flying fox, then to the horse. Humans catch it from direct contact with an infected horse. The outbreak there took place in 1994 (but outbreaks still continue). The fatality rate is 60% in humans and 75% in horses. A vaccine was developed for the horses in the year 2012 and finally approved in 2015. Outbreaks appeared in the cooler to warm months with more humidity.
    In 2009, three additional viruses related to the Hendra were found in fruit bats in Ghana.
  • The Nipah virus originated with fruit bats in Malaysia. The virus spread from the bat to pigs which then spread to humans. First discovered in 1998, the fatality rate is 50% to 75% in humans. There is no vaccine. There was an outbreak of this same variation of virus in Kerala, India, in the year 2018.

And there are others – Marburg, MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and Ebola.
SARS was the first emergence of a deadly coronavirus with pandemic potential. From this discovery, a global search for animal viruses began – not only in Wuhan, but in many capitals in many parts of the world. There is also EcoHealth Alliance, an international group.
The center in Wuhan is no different than the center in New York City.

Members of the center in Wuhan roamed the mountain terrain of China for five years taking thousands of samples from the many species of bat – blood, saliva, feces, and even the fungus on feces.

They found hundreds of bat-born coronaviruses with huge genetic diversity.

Most of them are harmless, but they found dozens belonging to the same group as SARS.
They also discovered the origin of the first SARS virus – in a cave on the Shitou mountain in Yunnan, 1,700 km from where the outbreak took place.
They also discovered that 3% of the people living in nearby villages carry antibodies against SARS-like viruses from bats. Members of the Center in Wuhan immediately began producing papers on the topic, the first produced in the year 2005 and the most recent in February of this year. All of these publications are easily obtainable on the internet.

Early errors in how the SARS virus was contracted (person to person) were based on previous experience with the coronaviruses mentioned above. Previous viruses were spread through the Australian horse or the Malaysian pig.
The first SARS epidemic was the first human to human contact. The death rate for persons over 65 years was as high as 55%.

The current SARS pandemic is much more transmissible, although reports are sometimes false or misleading. We know the virus doesn’t show symptoms for the first few days after it has been contracted (this is why there is a 14 day quarantine), yet some persons are called “asymptomatic”. There have been other occasions where the symptoms were present, but were overlooked.
The mutation of the virus can also affect how it manifests itself. These mutations are also commonly known among those who study it, and this does not mean that a vaccine is impossible.

The Spread of the Virus

The virus most likely came from one or more of the wild animals sold at the now-famous market in Wuhan. It is certain that the virus did not “escape” from the Center, because at that time, none of the sequences found in the patients matched those of the viruses her team had sampled from bat caves.

The rate of infection grew rapidly in the densely populated Wuhan and quickly spread to other areas of China, because of business and family travel. The largest population of Chinese in Europe is located in Lombardy. The climate of the region is mainly humid subtropical, which is historically why it was often the most ravaged by plagues.

Many of the Chinese immigrants there speak a particular dialect of Chinese, called Wenzhounese, because they were from Wenzhou, which is located in the southern part of Zhejiang. Zhejiang is the area just east of Wuhan. Another large population from Wenzhou is found in New York City.
Many unknowingly traveled to their destinations with little or no symptoms, completely unaware of what they had contracted.

The information for this article was very easily obtainable through internet resources, which demonstrates that there has been very little in the way of a cover-up by Chinese officials, as many news outlets have claimed. The Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention is currently working with other scientists for a means to defeat the virus.


Publications from the Wuhan Center

Wikipedia for various facts and figures.