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Need more attention to Labreak theory and formal investigation? -Technology News, Firstpost

It’s been a year and a half since the pandemic occurred, but it’s still unclear where the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 came from. The general view so far has been that the virus “spilled” from bats into humans. However, there are growing calls to investigate the possibility that Covid emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, where it first appeared at the end of 2019.

So what do we certainly know, and what do we still need to find?

We know how the virus arrived in Wuhan, how its sequence evolved to allow human infection, and under what conditions it infected people who first passed the route. not. And we don't know if there was any human contribution (direct or indirect) at each of these stages.Image Credit: Wikipedia

We know how the virus arrived in Wuhan, how its sequence evolved to allow human infection, and under what conditions it infected people who first passed the route. not. And we don’t know if there was any human contribution (direct or indirect) at each of these stages.Image Credit: Wikipedia

The sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is as follows: close To it Bat coronavirus. A few Decades ago Its “ancestors” circulated in South Asian bat populations.

However, there are still many unanswered questions. How the virus arrived in Wuhan, how the sequence evolved to enable human infection, and under what conditions it infected people who first passed the route. I do not know. And we don’t know if there was any human contribution (direct or indirect) at each of these stages.

The transmission route of zoonotic diseases, in other words, the passage of the virus from animals to humans, is now Widely documented In the world.This is what scientists say Main mechanism of diffusion Of a new virus.

However, the fact that the pandemic began near the Wuhan Virus Research Institute, a major virus research center specializing in the study of coronaviruses that could spread to humans, gave rise to another hypothesis, the Labreak theory. ..The accident in the laboratory Already led For human infectious diseases including 1977 H1N1 influenza pandemic, More than 700,000 people have died.

Which theory is correct? There is no conclusive evidence and it is necessary to have a serious international conversation about the origin of SARS-CoV-2 without promoting conspiracy theories.

Theory of zoonotic diseases

In the scientific community, the debate about the origin of SARS-CoV-2 began with the publication of the first two articles of development.

The first one dated February 19, 2020 was published in a medical journal Lancet.. Signed by 27 scientists, this article highlights the efforts of Chinese experts to identify the cause of the pandemic and share the results. The authors lamented “rumors and false information” about the origin of the virus, saying that they “strongly condemn the conspiracy theory suggesting that Covid-19 is not of natural origin.” The authors expressed their views based on the first published sequence data, but did not elaborate on the scientific arguments in favor of natural origin.

In March 2020, another article Nature medicine It provided a series of scientific discussions in support of natural origin. The author argued that:

  • The natural hypothesis is plausible as it is the usual mechanism of coronavirus emergence.
  • The SARS-CoV-2 sequence is too relevant to other known coronaviruses and it is not possible to envision the production of a new virus from the available sequences.
  • The sequence shows no evidence of genetic manipulation in the laboratory.

This final argument can be questioned as follows: There are ways scientists can change Virus sequence without leaving a trace. These can be combined later, or more recently, ISA protocol, Thus, the overlapping fragments, Homologous recombination: A phenomenon in which two DNA molecules exchange fragments. Moreover, genetic engineering is not the only scenario compatible with laboratory accidents and leaks.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus sequence is known to be close to that of the bat coronavirus. Decades ago, its “ancestors” circulated in South Asian bat populations.

On the other hand, intensive studies that have been conducted for over a year to prove zoonotic scenarios have so far been unsuccessful. 80,000 animal samples, The test was negative from about 30 species. Samples are from livestock and wildlife in various states of China. However, it is important to note that this large number of negative samples does not refute the zoonotic scenario.

Laboratory theory

The first articles claiming laboratory accident theory received little attention, probably because they came from. A group like the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Tend to critical Technical or outsiders such as the DRASTIC team (an acronym for “Distributed Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating Covid-19”).

It is configured 24 self-proclaimed “Twitter detectives” The DRASTIC Group, which is almost anonymous except for a few scientists who participate under their real names, was formed on Twitter in 2020 and has set a mission to explore the origin of SARS-CoV-2. Information and discussions from the group were considered on their own and picked up and developed by some people. Virologist, microbiologist And Science communicator.

The first scientific article discussing the possibility of a laboratory accident was published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. July August 2020 – One of the co-authors of the author of this article, Etienne Decroly. Labo Leak theory is Journal May 13 Articles ScienceSigned by 18 scientists, again urged to investigate the origin of SARS-CoV-2.

So is it possible? Some factors regarding the emergence of the virus raise questions.In particular, the Wuhan Institute of Virus Research Close virus processing To SARS-CoV-2 collected in southern China.

In addition to direct genetic manipulation, laboratory accidents may have occurred as a result of infection during wild-collection or experimental testing of evolved viruses. Cell or mouse In the laboratory, it is not always necessary to directly manipulate the genome.

How can I be sure to find it?

In a survey earlier this year, a joint committee of China and the World Health Organization (WHO) was unable to identify the cause of the pandemic. Conclusion It is most likely the origin of zoonotic diseases, and there are few hypotheses of accidents in the laboratory. However, WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Still question It “will need to be addressed by further research.”

To determine if SARS-CoV-2 has escaped from the laboratory, researchers can not only access the sequence database, but also Chinese researchers, including lab notebooks, submitted projects, scientific manuscripts, and virus sequences. More thorough research is needed to gain access to the various resources used. , Order list and biological analysis. Unfortunately, the SARS-CoV-2 sequence database has been inaccessible to scientists since September 2019.

In the absence of direct evidence, alternative approaches may provide additional information. Detailed analysis of the available sequences of the SARS-CoV-2-like coronavirus may allow the scientific community to reach consensus based on strong clues, as in other outbreaks. Contains the 1977 H1N1 virus.

Biological black box

Safety protocols for the industrialization of intensive reproduction, the collection and testing of potentially pandemic viruses, and high security research as a result of interaction with ecosystems, whether or not they originate from zoonotic diseases. We need to question the surge in places. Especially near big cities.

Virus research facilities should be equipped with as demanding safety systems as those used for nuclear research. For this “Biological Black Box”, It’s similar to a flight recorder that allows investigators to recreate the last moment of a plane crash. Access to certain high-risk laboratories can be made by relying on a detailed digital description of the experiment. Sequence data can be systematically archived. Laboratory air filters can be collected and, if pathogen spread is suspected, the genetic material on their surface can be sequenced.

Such new security measures should be implemented internationally to limit the risk of future pandemics. For SARS-CoV-2, it is important to track its exact origin in order to understand exactly what defects led to its spread.conversation

Virginie Courtier, Directrice de recherche CNRS, génétique etévolution, Université de Paris and Etienne Decroly, Directeur de recherche en virologie, Aix-Marseille University (AMU)

This article has been republished by The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Please read the original article.

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Need more attention to Labreak theory and formal investigation? -Technology News, Firstpost

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