As the coronavirus continues to spread itself across various countries all over the world (causing infections, lockdowns and fear along the way), scientists and health experts are still racing to determine just where it actually came from as well as a vaccine to help stop it.
Unfortunately, we still don’t have all the answers we need. What we do know, however, is enough to put to rest a recent conspiracy theory that says its genetically bioengineered in a lab to serve as a biological weapon for warfare. It also disproves another one that says it came from outer space since the research in question has proven that it’s natural and is therefore not man-made nor extraterrestrial in nature.
With that in mind, new research suggests some new interesting possibilities regarding the origin of this new virus, with one of them stating that the virus itself may have already been circulating harmlessly in us humans for quite some time now, all before it became a pandemic that suddenly placed most of the world on hold.
“It is possible that a progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 jumped into humans, acquiring [new genomic features] through adaptation during undetected human-to-human transmission,” the team behind this new research wrote in the study.
“Once acquired, these adaptations would enable the pandemic to take off and produce a sufficiently large cluster of cases. By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes. Two features of the virus, the mutations in the RBD portion of the spike protein and its distinct backbone, rules out laboratory manipulation as a potential origin for SARS-CoV-2,” Kristian Andersen
, one of the researchers and immunologist at Scripps Research
Per the team, the first theory is that the natural selection occurred in an animal host and was then transferred to humans, while the second hypothesis suggests that the natural selection happened in humans after we have contracted the virus from an animal host.
Of course, both hypotheses are still just that: hypotheses, and much is still needed in order to test whether one or the other caused this pandemic. Still, it raises new possibilities regarding the current pandemic.