|Source : https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-mutations.html|
The outbreaks of yet another (officially classified) pandemic, with vague origins have set a course of speculation and conspiracy theories flooding social media platforms and other news channels. Suggestions ranging from bat soup and snake dishes to Biological warfare weapons have dominated the discussions. Yet, no conclusion for the definitive source (patient zero) of the virus has come forth from the experts who specialise in the subject. But, what we do know thus far:
- The virus is named SARS-CoV-2 and is a family of the Coronavirus strains, specifically the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, SARS-CoV discovered in 2002/2003.
- The disease caused by this virus is classified as COVID-19.
- This strain is one of only three (out of 7 Coronaviruses) viruses that have caused a global pandemic in the last 20 years, with a fatality rate of up to 35% for one of the strains. These being SARS-CoV of 2003 (fatality of 10%), MERS-CoV of 2012 (fatality of 35%) and SARS-CoV-2 of 2019 (fatality of approx. 4%).
- Although its infection rate is higher than the other two strains, the rate of fatality is much lower, at around 3 to 5%.
- The genetic makeup of the virus suggests that its origins were found in bats (CoVZXC21), although it also assumes characteristics of the human SARS-CoV strain, thus giving its name SARS-CoV-2.
- Elderly citizens aged 60 and above with vulnerable immune systems, are mostly affected with a majority of the fatalities coming from this demographic.
- Person-to-person transmission is primarily through “respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing”. Thus, person-to-person transmission occurs mainly through close contact between individuals.
From the time of the first outbreak of the SARS pandemic back in 2003, the real source of the SARS/MERS strains have never been conclusive. The link of transmission between different species, ie. Animal and human has been mere speculation and assumption, rather than hard evidence and cold facts. For example, the transmission from bats to humans has been attributed to bat food consumed in China. However, the explanation for the virus assuming characteristics of the common coronavirus flu and that of the bat virus has not been offered. My knowledge of viruses and pandemics is zero to none barring what I read in the media, but even I know that two separate types of virus strains cannot “fuse” through mutation……? Or am I smoking something very strong?
Further speculation suggests that the origins of the current strain may have mediated between bats and humans via another mammalian host. This speculation is derived from another assumption that the original SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV had intermediary hosts in the Himalayan Palm civet (SARS-CoV) and Dromedary camel (MERS-CoV) before “jumping” to humans. But, there is no evidence to confirm this theory (Hence the continuous search for the source, patient zero). Speculation abounds!
Although the origin for the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus puts the food market of Wuhan in the spotlight and the likely cause, this explanation has been nullified with cases of the virus surfacing in the US and other regions where carriers had no connection to the Wuhan food market, ie. The source of their infection was not in China. With this new information discovered around February 26, the Wuhan narrative as the origin, makes the whole investigation of finding patient zero that much more complicated.
Given that there is a big gap in Academic theory and hard evidence to substantiate this theory, speculators and conspiracy theorists usually enter the discussion, because this is the gap where they ply their trade; this is where political maneuverings overlap with Science skepticism; and Geopolitics for political points scoring, takes over. That said, the suggestion that the COVID-19 outbreak could possibly be a Biological weapon unleashed between players for Geopolitical dominance was right up there with some other conspiracy theories. In fact, this theory was endorsed and confirmed to be a very high possibility by one Francis Boyle, who authored the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989. When someone with his credentials makes statements like this, the idea is taken very seriously with dire implications. Then there is the theory that the virus was developed in a Lab in Canada, and transported to China to be released in Wuhan. Other theories suggest that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation may have been involved because of an exercise hosted by the John Hopkins Centre for Health Security, in which the Gates Foundation participated. The exercise focused on emergency preparedness in the event of a “very severe pandemic” that may occur as a result of a Coronavirus outbreak. The allegation is that participants had inside knowledge of an impending outbreak…..
The fact that there is little evidence to conclusively prove the origin and source of the SARS series of strains, speculation will take over and drown out the very little facts the wider global audience knows. I, for one, started believing alternative narratives, because of this lack of conclusive evidence. However, given the current Geopolitical and Geo-economic climate between the major superpowers, being the USA, China and Russia, bio-weapon warfare may not be ruled out (stay with me on this). The fact that the US is currently at war, not only militarily, but economically, politically and even culturally with most nations in the East, the prospects of the US government doing the unthinkable, may be very possible. That said historically, the US is the only country to have used weapons of mass destruction in Wars in Asia and elsewhere, for example, Nagasaki and Hiroshima (August-1945), North Korea (1953) and Tokyo (March-1945). Ironically, none of these acts of brutality (over 4 million civilians dead) was necessary because the relevant wars, (WW2 and Korean war) was already over at the time those incendiary bombs were dropped. Not to mention the endless wars in the Middle East where Phosphorus and depleted Uranium weapons were used on civilians. The scale of brutality unleashed on populations who just happened to be in the way of the US war machine (as exposed by Julian Assange in Iraq) is arguably unrivaled by any other empire in history.
Ok, where was I…….so given that the US government is capable of unleashing terror on the global population like they have been doing for decades since the second world war, who is to say they are not capable of a bio-weapons raid on an unsuspecting public for political and economic gain? Finally, it’s a well-known fact that the US economy and its place in the global leadership hierarchy is declining, with China and Russia slowly taking over economically and militarily.
However, conspiracy theories will abound until gaps in academic theory is concluded with evidence and hard facts.
But as always, in times like these, the question remains, Cui Bono?