How scientists think about the ins and outs of the new coronavirus

Clarifying the source and transmission route of the new coronavirus is essential for winning the global epidemic prevention and control battle, and is of great significance for preventing the recurrence of similar diseases. Since the outbreak of New Coronary Pneumonia, scientific research at home and abroad has carried out related research work such as virus tracing at an unprecedented speed, and has achieved periodic results and certain consensus, which has laid a scientific foundation for finding the source of New Corona Virus as soon as possible and doing targeted prevention and control work. basis. In the course of research, the scientific community, based on facts, stood in the perspective of scientific laws and refuted the fallacies of politicization, stigmatization, and ideology of the source of the virus.

“Virus tracing itself is a scientific issue”

Virus tracing is a serious scientific problem, but also a complex scientific problem. The purpose of tracing the source is to cut off the chain of virus transmission from the source, fight the epidemic and prevent the global epidemic of the epidemic, and prevent the virus from making a comeback. It is not to blame or “throw the pot.” At present, some people with ulterior motives in the world put aside the regularity of scientific research and human cognition, maliciously speculate on the source of the virus, and throw out the so-called “artificial theory”, “concealment theory”, “apology theory”, “compensation theory”, and give the virus The issue of traceability has been marked with a distinctive political and ideological mark, and even racist attacks have been seriously distorted and poisoned the scientific value and significance of virus traceability itself. Many scientists in the world have come forward to clarify the facts, tell the truth, and refute the fallacy.

Virus tracing is “significant for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.” The earliest discoverer of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, Dr. Ali Mohammed Zaki, an Egyptian virologist, believes that human understanding of the virus is far from enough, and the most powerful weapon to fight back rumors is further scientific thinking and verification. Japanese virologist Nagasaki University Nagasaki said that virus tracing, finding intermediate hosts, and studying the transmission of viruses into the population are of great significance to completely cut off the spread of the virus. Richard Houghton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, pointed out that we really need to understand the origin of this virus, know where it came from, understand its transmission process, and then reduce the risk of spreading to humans. Zhao Guoping, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a researcher at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that virus tracing “is of great significance to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. Finding the source of the virus and understanding how the pathogen develops into a virus that causes human disease can only answer whether the virus will recur. That is, whether everyone is concerned about whether it will make a comeback. “

Tracing the origin of the virus is a very challenging scientific problem. Dr. Adriana Egi and Dr. Van Bucker of the International Association of Viral Historians said that tracking viral mutations requires sequencing all the genetic material of the virus, the genome, which needs to be extracted from thousands of patients through research The genetic material of the virus, from which to find historical clues of the outbreak. Dr. Zhao Yuqi, an academician of the American Academy of Microbiology and a virologist at the University of Maryland, pointed out that virus tracing research is a scientific problem with great uncertainty. Scientists need to go through the epidemiological survey, genomic analysis, host (intermediate host and natural host) screening and identification, field sampling, virus isolate homology research, and final bioinformatics analysis and certification to track the virus The source. Shi Yi, a researcher at the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that virus tracing itself is a scientific issue. Judging from the whole process of virus traceability scientific research, this is a scientific problem that requires a long time and requires in-depth research by scientists from various countries.

The research team of the University of London Institute of Genetics has analyzed data on more than 7,500 viral genomes from people infected with New Coronavirus worldwide, and found that New Coronavirus may have spread around the world by the end of 2019. Published by Xinhua News Agency Zhu Yu / Drawing

“The investigation of the source of the virus should be ‘science-centric’.” An editorial published in “Nature” magazine pointed out that many national leaders hope to listen to the scientific opinions of experts, and take action accordingly to respond to the new coronary pneumonia epidemic and save lives. Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergency Program, said that the investigation of the source of the new coronavirus is very important to prevent the recurrence of the epidemic. The investigation of the source of the virus should be “science-centered” and let scientists lead. Zhong Nanshan, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and leader of the high-level expert group of the National Health and Health Commission, pointed out that the source of the new coronary pneumonia is a scientific problem, and it is irresponsible to draw conclusions at will without evidence. Shada Islam, director of the policy research department of the “Friends of Europe”, a well-known Brussels think tank, said: “Conspiracy theory is one of the worst things that the epidemic brings. The lesson we learned from the conspiracy theory about the epidemic is that we We must listen carefully to the opinions of public health experts who know how to deal with the raging of the virus and how to find the true source of the virus. “

“The place where the case was first reported is not necessarily the source of the virus”

From the perspective of epidemiological investigation, the earliest reported case is not necessarily the source of the virus. Historically, the place where the virus was first reported is often not the source. The so-called “Spanish flu” of the global pandemic at the end of World War I, although the first report in Spain, was actually spread throughout the United States, Europe and other places, and some studies have directed the source directly to the United States, Falcon, Kansas Military camp. The World Health Organization and “Nature” have repeatedly emphasized that the earliest reported cases are not necessarily the source of the virus. Although the New Coronary Pneumonia epidemic was first reported by Wuhan, China, there is no evidence that the source of the virus is also in Wuhan. Scientists said that the virus is the common enemy of all mankind, and some people in the world have accused China unreasonably of being the source of the spread of the New Coronary Pneumonia epidemic. It has no meaning and lacks scientific basis.

On January 26, 2020, Science magazine quoted Daniel Lucy, an infectious disease expert at Georgetown University, as saying that the Wuhan seafood market may not be the origin of the new coronavirus. Photo courtesy of People’s Network

“There are some cases in the South China seafood market, but they are not the source of the virus.” “Science” magazine published an article on January 26 that Wuhan seafood market in South China may not be the origin of the new coronavirus. On February 21st, researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden and other institutions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences published a paper comparing the genomic data of 93 virus samples from 12 countries on four continents with data from patients related to the South China Seafood Market, and found many derived viral genes The shape comes from the South China seafood market, which also confirms the view that the South China seafood market is not the origin of the virus. A research report published in the “World Health Organization Bulletin” on February 24 pointed out that the virus has three branch variants, and patients infected with the initial variant virus have never had any contact with the South China seafood market. In early March, “Nature Medicine” also published a paper to study the origin of the new coronavirus. Robert Garry, a professor at the Tulane University School of Medicine, one of the authors of the article, said that many people believe that the virus originated in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, which may be a misunderstanding. “Our analysis and some other analyses point to an earlier origin than that.” “There are some cases in the South China seafood market, but they are not the source of the virus.” The French “Liberation Daily” article pointed out: It should stop accusing China of being the source of the virus. Studies have shown that the virus strain that broke out in Wuhan is not the source of the virus, or that this virus strain is just one of many virus sources.

On May 3, 2020, the International Journal of Antibacterial Agents published a research paper written by the Seine-Saint-Denis Hospital Group in the northeastern suburb of Paris, France. The study pointed out that a case that was regarded as a flu patient at the end of December 2019 had new symptoms of coronary pneumonia. The patient had no history of Wuhan travel and contact. This shows that the new coronavirus has spread in France in late December 2019 and has no connection with China. Photo courtesy of People’s Network

“Viruses may appear first anywhere.” At present, more and more countries have found cases with no history of Chinese exposure and earlier onset. The medical journal International Journal of Antibacterial Agents published a paper titled “The New Coronavirus Has Been Spread in France at the End of December 2019”. The researchers checked 14 flu diseases from December 2, 2019 to January 16, 2020. The nasopharyngeal swab in the intensive care unit was tested for nucleic acid, and a man who came to the hospital on December 27, 2019 was tested positive. This case is not related to China, and there is no history of travel before the onset, which indicates that the new coronavirus has spread in France at the end of December 2019. Massimo Galli, director of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the Milano Sacco Hospital in Italy, said that the scientific research team he led has isolated the virus strains of patients with new coronary pneumonia in Italy and compared them with 52 new coronavirus sequences in China. It is found that the infected patient virus in Italy has no connection with China. It is a new coronavirus circulating in Italy. Dr. Ashish Jaha, director of the Global Health Institute at Harvard University, said that two residents of Santa Clara County, California, died of the new coronavirus in early and mid-February, and the death cases have not traveled or traveled. China, which means that as early as mid-January, or even earlier, the virus began to spread in the California community. Dr. Jaha believes that it is necessary for the United States to go back to the cases in January and even December 2019 to find out when the new coronavirus first appeared. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control, publicly admitted in mid-March that “in the United States, some deceased” flu “may actually suffer from new coronary pneumonia.” Mayor Michael Melham of Belleville, New Jersey, said he had been infected with the new coronavirus in November 2019, and the test results also showed that he already has the new coronavirus antibody, which is the first case reported by the United States on January 20 this year. The confirmed cases of New Coronavirus are more than two months ahead of schedule. Cambridge University geneticist Peter Foster said that based on genetic data, Wuhan is not the origin of the new coronavirus. It is not surprising that cases were discovered earlier than in China. The first infection of the virus is 95% likely to occur between September 13 and December 7, 2019. As pointed out by Michael Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization ’s Health Emergency Program, the new coronavirus is a global challenge. The source is uncertain, and the virus may appear first in any place.

Those infected with the original virus type are “mainly located in the United States”. The Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences published a paper co-authored by German and British research teams, analyzed 160 new coronavirus genome data collected from around the world from December 24, 2019 to March 4, 2020, and found 3 The main variants of SARS-CoV-2, namely type A, B and C, of ​​which type A is the original virus type. The study found that the samples infected with type A are mainly located in the United States and Australia, and 2/3 of the samples in the United States are infected with type A, and the main infections in China and East Asia are type B. The research team of the Institute of Genetics of University College London conducted a genetic analysis of the virus extracted from patients with new crown pneumonia in many countries around the world and found that the spread time of the new crown virus in Europe and the United States and other places is longer than the first case discovery time reported by each country (1 Months or February) weeks or even months in advance. William Harnack, associate professor of epidemiology of infectious diseases at Harvard University, believes that the new coronavirus outbreak in the United States in mid-March is more likely to come from the United States than from overseas. Christian Anderson, an expert in microbiology and immunology at the Scripps Research Institute in the United States, said: “The vast majority of confirmed cases are caused by domestic transmission. I always hear people accuse this of being someone else’s fault, which is not true, This is our own fault. ” On March 10, US netizens launched a petition on the White House petition website asking the US government to announce the real reason for closing the Fort Detrick Biological Laboratory to clarify whether the laboratory is a research unit for new coronavirus and whether there is a virus Leak problem.

“Against the fallacy and conspiracy theories about the origin of the new crown virus”

At present, the fallacy of the so-called “new crown virus originated from the Wuhan Laboratory” circulating on foreign media and social platforms is called conspiracy theory by international people of insight. 27 well-known international scientists in a statement in The Lancet emphasized that conspiracy theories are of no use except to create panic, rumors, prejudices, and damage the work of the world to fight the disease together.

“The new coronavirus is derived from the theory of the Chinese laboratory that is” ridiculous and absurd “.” French immunologist and head of the New Crown Outbreak Scientific Committee Jean-Francois Del Fresi made it clear that the hypothesis that the new crown virus originated in the laboratory is “a conspiracy view that does not belong to the real scientific category.” Peter Dasak, chairman of the Eco-Health Alliance, which has been working with the Wuhan Virus Research Institute for 15 years and specializes in the study of the origin of the pandemic, said that the theory of the new coronavirus originated from the Chinese laboratory is “ridiculous and absurd”, Wuhan virus research We do not yet have the virus that caused the epidemic. Lipkin, a professor at the Center for Infection and Immunity Research at Columbia University, known as the “virus hunter,” pointed out: “So far, all the evidence has directed the source of the virus to wild animals. Perhaps there is some kind of unknown livestock as an intermediate host, but this It was introduced from wild animals, and now it has been passed from person to person. There is no evidence to prove the alleged misconduct of the so-called Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. ”Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, member of the White House Outbreak Response Team Anthony Fodge said the virus that caused the new coronary pneumonia outbreak did not come from a Chinese laboratory. Gregory Koblenz, a professor of biosafety research at George Mason University in the United States, said that after the outbreak, the Wuhan Institute of Virology released several early new coronavirus genome sequence information, which allowed other countries to develop diagnostic tools without evidence. It shows that Wuhan Virus studies all behaviors that cover the source of the virus. Olivier Schwartz, director of the virus and immunity department of the Pasteur Institute in France, also said in an interview with French media that the new coronavirus is not produced in the laboratory, which can be seen from the virus’s genes. Chinese researchers The viral genome was sequenced and subsequently verified by many other laboratories including the Pasteur Institute. The US National Interest magazine published the title “No!” The “New Coronavirus is not a biochemical weapon from China” emphasizes that there is no evidence that the New Coronavirus is a product of the Chinese Virus Laboratory. Dennis Carroll, the former head of the New Threat Department of the United States Agency for International Development, has also worked with Chinese scientists studying new infectious diseases for many years. He believes that there is no evidence that Chinese researchers are developing a new pathogen.

On March 17, 2020, a research paper by five authoritative scientists in the United States, Britain and Australia was published in the journal Nature Medicine, proving that the new coronavirus cannot be created in the laboratory, and may be the nature of the virus against human or animal hosts. select.

“There is no possibility that the so-called laboratory leak of Wuhan Virus Research Institute”. Jona Mazet, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Davis, believes that the spread of the new coronavirus cannot be caused by a leak in the Wuhan laboratory, and lists the main reasons. First, the laboratory samples do not match the new coronavirus; The second is that the laboratory implements strict safety protocols; the third is that the new coronavirus is the latest virus outbreak in zoonotic diseases. James Duke, director of the Galveston National Laboratory in the United States, clearly stated: “The Wuhan laboratory is as strict as the laboratory in Europe and the United States.” Yuan Zhiming, president of the Wuhan Branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said that the “malicious” accusation against the laboratory of the Wuhan Institute of Virus Research was “out of nothing” and contradicted all the existing evidence. Have the ability to design and create a new coronavirus. In addition, the new coronavirus genome does not show any signs of artificial transformation. ” Study all strict management systems and scientific research codes of conduct, “High-level biosafety laboratories have advanced protective facilities and strict measures, the purpose is to ensure the safety of laboratory personnel and the environment.” Daniel Anderson, a virologist at the Duke-National University of Singapore School of Medicine, said: I have worked in the laboratory of the Wuhan Institute of Virology at different times in the past two years, and I can personally prove that strict controls and Restraint measures. The staff of Wuhan Virus Research Institute is very capable and hardworking, is an excellent scientist and has an excellent track record. Gerald Koisch, deputy director of the National Institute of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Boston University, and professor of medicine and international hygiene, said: “As far as I know, the safety and security system and procedures of the Wuhan laboratory are the most advanced, and (Galveston National Laboratory in the United States) has helped train many researchers there, and there is collaboration between the two parties, I’m sure they are very professional. This makes the possibility of accidents very small. Will accidents happen? In my opinion, it will not. “Peter Dasak, chairman of the” Eco-Health Alliance “who specializes in the origin of the pandemic, made it clear that the so-called laboratory leak of the Wuhan Virus Research Institute is absolutely impossible.

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