If you are one of the laymen and do not belong to any healthcare professional such as belonging to a scientific or medical community, then you might still be wondering about the origin of the novel coronavirus. However, by watching television and other awareness programs, you must be aware of a little bit regarding the virus, but most of it is still unknown and seem mysterious. The virus appears to begin in a conventional animal bat, which is a part of Halloween decorations.
According to the CDC, The outbreak of coronavirus started with the first case that traced back from Wuhan City, China, in a live animal market. Further research and studies suggest that similar to other viruses, the coronavirus also originated within bats and then transmitted to humans.
HOW DID CORONAVIRUS FIRST APPEAR IN BATS?
Bats have been serving as the reservoirs of the two common deadly viruses which have attacked humans worldwide during the 21st century. These viruses include SERS-COV-2 and MERS-COV, which are believed to originate from bats.
It’s unclear how bats got picked with this virus, but it is known that they are carriers of coronavirus, and they transmit it to humans. COVID-19 is a type of infectious, zoonotic disease which occurs due to the transmission of the virus from animals to humans, as explained by Richard J. Kuhn, who is a professor of biological sciences at Purdue University. Kuhn further estimates that around 70-80% of the viruses that are present worldwide are zoonotic type, and they transmit from humans to animals or animals to humans, which means they are bi-directional.
The typical novel coronavirus, which led to today’s pandemic, belongs to the zoonotic viruses. Zoonotic viruses have led to flu and cold-like respiratory symptoms in the past within humans. These illnesses are also deadly within animals, according to the study conducted at the University of California, Berkeley.
The researchers further explain that when bats contract this coronavirus, they do not get ill because they have a more reliable immune system, which prevents them from any symptoms or infections leading to a deadly disease. It is because of this reason that bats can continue carrying this virus and passing it on to other animals and humans, making them sick and leading to deadly infections. Researchers also see that when the same virus contracts bats due to the healthy immune system, the virus replication is so fast that it adapts immediately. It further explains that if the virus infects humans or animals with the weak immune system, it leads to wreak havoc.
WHY BATS HAVE STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM?
The researchers think that bats have a strong immune system because when they fly high, their metabolic rates boost up. This elevation of metabolic rate is only seen in bats, which seems beneficial and helps them develop a more reliable immune system, which aids in the immediate repair of dead cells and helps in fighting off against infections. However, in other animals, such metabolic rate is harmful.
SO, HOW DID THE BATS RESULT IN TRANSMISSION OF NOVEL CORONAVIRUS IN HUMANS?
This novel coronavirus jumps from one species to another. It then results in a mutation of the genetic material of the virus. It is because of this purpose that researchers are unable to identify the exact copy of the virus transmitted from animals to humans. However, with thorough research and studies, it is seen that 95-96% of the genetic material of these viruses resemble each other. It means that the virus which is currently infecting the humans is somewhat similar to the one which affected the bats, according to the study which was recently published in Journal Nature during February.