COVID-19: Scientist Search for the Source, Animal Zero.

As of today, total numbers of people identified with COVID-19 are more than 1.6 Million. The death toll is at 105,952 as reported by the WHO. The rate at which the disease is spreading is worrisome. The virus has spread around the globe affecting 213 countries/ territories. WHO declared this virus a pandemic in March. COVID-19 is new for the humans and scientists are trying hard to search its source. Although, till now the animal zero is not 100% confirm but the possibility is quite high.

COVID-19 is new for the humans and scientists are trying hard to search for its source

According to scientist and researcher, it is the natural process of Evolution that resulted in COVID-19. Each incident has a story where there is always a beginning. For example, in case of last pandemic, HIV-AIDS. This disease first identified in 1976 had its origin traced back somewhere between 1910-1930.

The virus, COVID-19, belongs to a broad category of Coronavirus family. Previously, the viruses of the same family resulted in SARS and MERS outbreak. SARS outbreak happened in 2002. This disease originated from horseshoe bat and transmitted to cat like civets. They acted as intermediary animals. From them, the disease transmitted to humans.

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Scientist found that COVID-19 has a similar genome to SARS which is found in horseshoe bats. Scientists also believe that just like SARS this disease must also have an intermediate source before infecting human.  Some Studies show that the intermediate source could have been a pangolin which is the most illegally traded animal. The concept of intermediary source applies strongly because the virus found in bat cannot directly affect humans. It was observed that the virus found in pangolin have a similar genome that of COVID-19. Recently, a tiger in a zoo was found to be affected with COVID-19. This shows how easily the virus can spread between different species not just from human to human.

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The virus found in bat cannot directly affect humans

Till now, multiple theories have been presented. Some suggest that a recombination must have happened between two viruses. Although, two theories considered more acceptable. Firstly, the virus must have transmitted to an intermediate source from bats. The virus evolved there and became more capable to affect a human being. Secondly, the virus must have entered human species long ago. It further suggests that the virus must have evolved in the human bodies to a point that it is affecting the humans worldwide. There are multiple reasons to support each theory. History of SARS and MERS support the first theory. But the fact that virus has barely changed since its outbreak shows that the virus is well adapted for human environment.

Knowing the source of a disease matters a lot. It helps to provide scientists and researchers with bigger picture of the disease. If the scientists can find the animal zero, they may be able to uncover the mysteries of the virus. They will also be able to prevent and contain current spread of virus. This may also help in future to prevent another pandemic.

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