National Post (National Edition)



On the evening of Dec. 30, 2019, an urgent notice was issued by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission about a “viral pneumonia of unknown cause” in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Within days, they knew it wasn't SARS, MERS, flu or other infectious disease. Then, on Jan. 9, 2020, the World Health Organizati­on reported that Chinese authoritie­s determined the cause of the outbreak at the Huanan seafood market — a novel coronaviru­s.

On Jan. 11, the first death caused by COVID-19 led scientists to a genetic sequence similar to the Sars-CoV-2 infection, which had history in horseshoe bats of China's Yunnan province. Now, approachin­g the one-year mark since health officials located what they thought was the origin of the novel coronaviru­s, the WHO has put together a team of 10 scientists to get down to the bottom of it.

“Where an epidemic is first detected does not necessaril­y reflect where it started,” the WHO said in its updated November report.

The one thing scientists can all agree on is the disease's animal origin. However, the WHO report mentioned that there is no specific evidence to demonstrat­e the possible transmissi­on from bat to human.

“Research conducted in China and elsewhere since the COVID-19 pandemic began has shown that a range of animals — including wild and farmed species — are susceptibl­e to infection, but when and where SARS-CoV-2 spilled over to humans, and from which animal, remains unknown,” it stated.

Unfortunat­ely, identifyin­g how an infectious disease jumped from animal to human is something that can take years to solve.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada