Where did COVID-19 come from?

Here conspiracy theories abound, as the reality is the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is only a scientific assessment. However, based on over 50 years research into coronaviruses and that the international scientific community is quick at checking and commenting on all of the relevant works and studies in the scientific community, their current assessment is probably accurate; it is certainly extensively peer reviewed.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) situation report of 21st January 2020 said that on 31st December 2019, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) China office heard the first reports of a previously unknown virus behind a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, a city in Eastern China.

On 11 and 12 January 2020, WHO received further detailed information from the National Health Commission China that the outbreak is associated with exposures in one seafood market in Wuhan City.

In February nature magazine reported that, “Chinese scientists suggested, on the basis of genetic analyses the prime suspect was the scaly ant eating pangolin.  However, it then went on to say that scientists have now examined that data and say that although the animal is still a contender, the mystery is far from solved.

Other animals that are known as host of various coronavirus strains are Bats and they, like the Pangolin, were sold live in the Wuhan market.  MERS and SARS were originally corona viruses hosted on bats, so it is now thought that they are the most likely contender.

Apportionment of its source is made slightly more conspiratorial by the fact that Wuhan is the site of China’s only facility designated at Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) and is known as the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control (WHCDC).  It was constructed in 2004 following the SARS emergency to conduct research into countering such viruses.  Level 4 facilities are designed to stop the escape of even the smallest particles, so accidental escape is highly unlikely. Despite sensational speculation in some press circles, there is no evidence in the scientific community that the COVID-19 disease is a result of WHCDC activity.