Is the novel coronavirus, which is creating havoc all around the world, a man made one? Is it a bio weapon manufactured in a lab at Wuhan? What science has to say?
by Nirmal Jyoti Kapil
At the time of crisis, conspiracy theories popp up. The pandemic crisis created by SARS-CoV-2 a.k.a. the novel coronavirus can’t be an exception. Streets are talking. And serious allegations are being levelled against Beijing. Either accidentally or purposefully, did a man made bio weapon in the form of a deadly virus escape from a laboratory and now threatening the humanity? Is China taking the world to a third world war?
These are some serious allegations coming up in the wake of the pandemic created by SARS-CoV-2. The social media as well as the traditional media are not letting any stone unturned to fuel such speculations. In one of the worst global crises like this, one can’t be sure hundred percent which way the water is flowing. But based on some latest scientific discoveries, an attempt is made in this article to know what circumstantial evidences tell about the origin of SARS-CoV-2. Is the novel coronavirus a man made bio weapon or a naturally evolved deadly parasite?
But why these allegations?
Beijing was never transparent on COVID-19 outbreak. First, it’s initial response was very sluggish. Second, it tried to cover up the outbreak from the world in its initial stages. Moreover, the stern actions taken against the whistleblowers also did considerable harm to Beijing’s image. Suspicion grew all around. Why Beijing tried to hush up the fact that a humanitarian crisis was about to explode in Wuhan city? Beijing’s non-transparent attitude arose many questions.
Is this virus really lab made?
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world. Humanity is facing one of it’s worst crises in centuries. Emerging in Wuhan City, in the Hubei Province of China, the deadly virus has already travelled to more than 180 countries on this planet. Countries after countries are locked down to break the chain of infection and to bring the spread of the virus under control. Medical fraternity, the emergency service providers, the policy makers, all are battling to bring back normalcy in the world order. Scientific community is busy to find a cure to save the humanity. The scientists are also busy to find the root of origin of this deadly parasite. And one such research gave circumstantial evidences whether this virus was a man made or a naturally evolved one.
What is SARS-CoV-2?
• SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh coronavirus known to infect human.
• The other members of this family include SARS-CoV, which was responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome disease in 2003, MERS-CoV, responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome disease outbreak in 2012 besides the HKU1, NL63, OC43 and 229 E, those are associated with some mild symptoms.
What the latest research says?
A latest research published in prestigious Nature Medicine journal has categorically stated that novel coronavirus or the SARS-CoV-2 was not a man mad or a laboratory manufactured virus. It is a naturally evolved virus as like it’s other family members. Researchers Kristian Andersen from Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA and Robert Garry from Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans respectively used some sophisticated bioinformatics tools to infer that SARS-CoV-2 evolved naturally. They studied the genomic data of the new coronavirus and did a computational analysis. On the basis of these structural studies and bio chemical experiments the scientists had found that the molecular structure or the backbone of SARS-CoV-2 is significantly different from that of those known coronaviruses. This is a strong evidence to suggest that this new coronavirus is a naturally evolved one because if someone wish to create a new virus in a lab he will definitely use or engineer molecular structure of a known virus. But in this case, the molecular structure of SARS-CoV-2 significantly differs from other. Morever, studies found that the new coronavirus is almost 96 percent identical to SARS- CoV like coronaviruses found in Rhinolophus affinis bat, although, the bat coronavirus can’t bind to human on it’s own. Interestingly, some pangolin coronaviruses exhibit strong similarities to SARS-CoV-2 in this particular characteristics of binding to human. Thus from the sophisticated scientific studies it can be assumed that the SARS-CoV-2 might be the result of natural selection involving bat and pangolin as host and intermediate host respectively. This preliminary study leave aside the conspiracy theory that the deadly novel coronavirus is a man made one.