Origins of Coronavirus in China
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization publicly characterized the 2019 Coronavirus or COVID-19 as a pandemic. It was New Year’s Eve 2019 when the health officials in China realized that a problem was brewing, a growing number of people were developing a rapid cough and fever before getting pneumonia. Doctors named the disease Coronavirus 19 or COVID-19 indicating a type of virus is causing the illness. so today we will discuss the Origins of Coronavirus in China.
Coronaviruses can cross from animals into humans. This has happened two times in the past. The first time happened was the so-called SARS coronavirus which emerged in China. The source was found to be bats possibly through an intermediary host to another animal that then got into humans. Recently, there was a virus called MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus that was found in camels. This emerged in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in people with close contact with camels and got into humans. This new virus (Coronavirus, Covid-19), the animal source is not yet known.
The thing we know is that the first cases of this virus were all identified in China, in people who had visited a market in the town of Wuhan. This market sold a lot of different animal products including seafood or aquatic products as well as different types of animals. There were both dead and alive animals including fish and birds. Such markets posed at heightened risk of the virus jumping from animals to humans so much so that you know the hygiene standards are difficult to maintain if live animals are being kept or being butchered at these markets.
Typically, these markets are densely packed in Wuhan and rest of the China. The animal source of the latest outbreak was not identified, but the original host is thought to be bats. However, the bats were not sold in the Wuhan market, but they may have infected live chickens or animals sold there.
Bats are a host to a wide range of Viruses like Ebola, HIV, and Rabies, but it’s not the case in this virus. This virus and infection which is still not certified whether it started with bats or not, but it was first reported at the World Health Organization’s office in China on 31st of December 2019. It was reported as a Pneumonia, it was not reported as a flu or a fever, it was proper pneumonia.
It was found when they investigated the market that this virus was found on the surfaces within the market. However, they were not able to identify exactly what the animal source was. Thus, for now nobody really knows exactly what animal this virus came from, but based on other coronaviruses, we think it is likely an animal source. Scientists are actively looking find out where it originated from.
The World Health Organization has been working with Chinese authorities and global experts from the day they were informed of the outbreak. This is mainly to learn about the virus and how it affects the people who are sick with it, how they can treat it, and what countries can do to respond.