The novel coronavirus (also known as SARS-CoV-2) is known to have emerged in the city of Wuhan, China, last year, and it provoked a massive epidemic by spreading to over 70 other countries.
Recent findings published today in the journal Nature Medicine say that the virus is the product of natural evolution.
Advanced analysis of public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2 and similar viruses discovered substantial evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or genetically engineered in some way.
Kristian Andersen, Ph.D., an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research and corresponding author on the paper, wrote: “By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes.”
What Are Coronaviruses?
Generally speaking, Coronaviruses are a big family of viruses that provoke illness ranging greatly in severity. The first known severe illness ever caused by a coronavirus happened back in 2003 when the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (known as SARS) made a lot of victims. Another severe illness outbreak occurred in 2012 in Saudi Arabia with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
World Health Organization specialists were alerted on December 31 of last year by Chinese officials about an outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus capable of provoking severe illness.
As of February 20, 2020, more than 150 thousand cases of COVID-19 had been registered, although many more people might have likely carried on undiagnosed. The official death toll of the virus reached over 6,600 people.
Soon after the epidemic began, scientists from China sequenced the genome of the virus and made the data widely available for scientists around the world. The resulted data showed that the Chinese authorities quickly detected the epidemic.
Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.