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Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19

Pdf Book Name: Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19
Author: Ridley, Matt, Chan, Alina
Publisher: Harper
ISBN-10, 13: 9780063139121,006313912X
Year: 2021
Pages: 416 Pages
Language: English
File size: 10 MB
File format: PDF,EPUB

Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19 Pdf Book Description:

For the people who have suffered and lost during the Covid-19 pandemic, those who have cared for and provided aid to others during the pandemic, and those brave whistleblowers, doctors, scientists, journalists and sleuths who have persisted in seeking and sharing the truth. The authors of this book, Alina Chan, a scientist in the United States, and Matt Ridley, a science writer in the United Kingdom, have found ourselves inexorably drawn into the mystery of how the Covid-19 pandemic began. Over the past year, we have each pursued surprising revelations and rumours swirling around the origin of the virus. These took us deep into details of bats and SARS viruses in southern China, sick pangolins confiscated from smugglers, and cutting-edge gain-of-function virus research carried out in laboratories in Wuhan and elsewhere. In particular, Alina’s life has been forever changed after plunging into the question of the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of Covid-19, in May 2020. Her social media has since been transformed into an open forum where prominent scientists and internet sleuths spar, publicly, on the topic.

In April 2020 Matt wrote an essay for the Wall Street Journal about the virus’s origin, headlined ‘The Bats Behind the Pandemic’, focused on the puzzling similarity of part of the SARS-CoV-2 genome to that of a virus from a pangolin a small ant eater while most of the genome resembled that of a bat virus. (A genome is the full genetic sequence of a creature.) He then read the preprint of a paper by Alina and two colleagues, Shing Hei Zhan and Ben Deverman, which came to the stark conclusion: ‘Our observations suggest that by the time SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in late 2019, it was already pre-adapted to human transmission to an extent similar to late epidemic SARS-CoV.’ Noticing that Dr Zhan was an expert on genomic analysis and the other two were specialists in viral vector engineering at the elite Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Matt judged that this preprint – a scientific paper yet to be peer reviewed for publication was probably a careful and reputable study. It had come to an electrifying conclusion: the virus causing the pandemic was evolving more slowly than one newly arrived in the human species from another animal normally would. This implied it was already well adapted to human beings from the moment it was first detected in Wuhan in December 2019.

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