COVID-19: WHO Expert Reveals Reasons Why It Is Important To Look Into The Origins Of Coronavirus
COVID-19: If we find the source and the virus is still there, we can prevent future reintroduction of the same virus into the human population, says Dr Peter Ben Embarek, WHO scientist.
COVID-19: Looking at origins of coronavirus can help in preventing a similar pandemic in future
- Looking into origins of the virus can help reintroduction in humans
- It can prevent another pandemic of a similar kind
- It can facilitate more efficient treatment and vaccines for this disease
Vaccines are now being administered all over the world for COVID-19. But it is still important to look into the origins of coronavirus, say scientists. The World Health Organization's Dr Peter Ben Embarek explains why it is important for the public as well as the scientists to know about the origins of SARS-CoV-2 virus, in a video published on its official Instagram handle.
Why it is important to look into origins of coronavirus
"There are three key reasons why it is important to understand the origins of the virus- firstly, if we find the source and the virus is still there, we can prevent future reintroduction of the same virus into the human population," says Dr Embarek, WHO Scientist, expert on food safety and zoonoses.
Secondly, if it is understood how this virus jumped from the origin of bats into humans, it may be possible to prevent similar events in the future. A similar pandemic in the future can thus be prevented by knowing the origins of the virus.
Thirdly, if we can find out how the virus looked before it jumped to the human population, scientists can potentially be in a better position to develop more efficient treatment and vaccines for this disease.
"To look into the origins of the virus, a team of 10 international experts have been formed. This group will travel to Wuhan in the coming days and spend around a month there. Experts will work in close collaboration with their Chinese counterparts. The team includes experts in different fields who can help in finding the origins of the virus," Dr Embarek informs.
The team of experts will include veterinarians, medical doctors, epidemiologists, virologists who are experts in these viruses, there will also be experts in types of diseases that originate in animals and jump to humans. "We will work together on different studies that will hopefully help us better understand this virus," he adds.
What about the claims that the virus was manufactured in laboratories?
Dr Embarek explains that there are now tools that enable experts to look at the genetic makeup of these viruses. "Looking at the COVID-19 virus, there is nothing in its makeup which indicates that the virus has been manufactured. It is a clearly natural virus and there are many of these viruses seen in the past," he says.
Having said that, he agrees that laboratory accidents do happen once in a while and that scientists will look into the possibility of the same. "So far, there is no evidence that anybody was working with the virus in the past. There is no evidence to indicate that it would have escaped the laboratory in any way. But we will still have this in mind when we will look into the origins of the virus," Dr Embarek says.
(Dr Peter Ben Embarek is WHO Scientist, expert on food safety and zoonoses)
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