Finally, the right question is being asked. In the Guardian this week, an article describes how scientists are tracing the path of SARS CoV-2 from a wild animal host, but says we need to look at the part played in the outbreak by industrial food production.
Like a detective novel, the story picks apart the mystery of where this new virus came from and why it was able to jump into humans.
First off, they smash the myth that SARS CoV-2 was made in a lab, there’s no evidence for that. Quite soon after it emerged, scientists were able to sequence the virus’s genome showing that it is the product of ‘natural’ evolution – although it evolved in very unnatural circumstances as you will see…
The virus is very similar to one found in bats, which are probably the natural host – bats are host to many viruses, usually with no symptoms, including those responsible for SARS, MERS and Ebola (which have all been transmitted to humans via civets cats, camels and primates respectively).
It’s not clear what the intermediate host for SARS-CoV-2 was if there was one, a scaly mammal called a pangolin is thought to be the most likely candidate, providing the bridge between bats and humans that the virus used to cross.