Amid all the chaos, questions are being asked by scientists on whether the pandemic currently terrorizing the world was inevitable or preventable.
The novel SAR-CoV-2 Coronavirus that emerged in the city of Wuhan the capital of the Hubei province, it is the largest city in Hubei and the most populous city in central China with a population of over 11 million and the origin point of the current pandemic.
Scientists have determined that the virus originated through natural processes, The scientists found that the RBD portion of the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins had evolved to effectively target a molecular feature on the outside of human cells called ACE2, a receptor involved in regulating blood pressure. The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was so effective at binding the human cells, in fact, that the scientists concluded it was the result of natural selection and not the product of genetic engineering.
Was Covid-19 Preventable?
To understand if the virus was preventable, we need to look at how the virus transferred from animals to humans. It is undeniable that the exploitation of animals creates the environment in which viruses can spill over into the human population. Part of the problem stems from our uncontrollable need to consume meat. The meat industry is not sustainable, so they resort to unethical practices to produce the copious amounts of meat needed to feed the demand.
A good portion of viruses we have encountered in the past has been zoonotic by nature. They originated within animals before making the jump to humans. Ebola, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, vCJD and HIV have all came from the consumption or production of meat. From the H1N1 of 1918 which originated in a Kansas chicken farm to the H1N1 strain that reached pandemic levels in the United States and Mexico in 2009 due to the unethical uses of pig farms, these infections obviously would have been preventable had the human race not been consuming meat (as with HIV and Ebola) which transferred from primates to humans through consumption.
In December 2019, the Coronavirus has been traced back to a wet market in Wuhan. Research has suggested that the virus originated in bats and was transferred to an unknown intermediary before infecting humans. Without the existence of unethical wet markets in China, the virus might very well have never made the jump to humans - the chance of it happening in the wild would have been of low probability.
China and the rest of the world need to learn from past mistakes and reduce the chances of future outbreaks of this kind. Note that this isn't the first coronavirus to come out of China. WHO (World Health Organization) has confirmed that the SARS virus identified in 2003 first infected humans in the Guangdong province of Southern China in 2002 and the west are just as guilty of unethical practices when it comes to agriculture.
Our planet needs to find a solution to produce the amount of meat needed to feed the demand without resorting to the measures farmers and markets have come to. Once a common goal is reached, will we be able to proactively remove the potential for viruses like the Coronavirus from ever reaching the human population. Until that time comes, we will have to settle to reacting to outbreaks and trying to contain them before they spread. Buckle up, this isn't the first and it most definitely will not be the last.
“COVID-19 Coronavirus Epidemic Has a Natural Origin.” ScienceDaily, Materials Provided by Scripps Research Institute, 17 Mar. 2020, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200317175442.htm.
“2019–20 Coronavirus Outbreak.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Mar. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_coronavirus_outbreak.