Is Corona Virus (Covid-19) a Biological or Man-Made Weapon as many netizens are speculating? A new study published in the journal — Nature Medicine on coronavirus found no evidence that Covid-19 was a biological, man-made weapon in some laboratory.
Shortly after the Covid-19 began, Chinese scientists sequenced the genome of SARS-CoV-2 and made the data available to researchers worldwide. The first known severe illness caused by a coronavirus emerged with the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in China followed by a second outbreak in 2012 in Saudi Arabia with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Based on their study, the researchers deduced two possible outcomes for the origination of SARS-CoV-2. According to the first scenario, the virus evolved to its current pathogenic state through natural selection in a non-human host and then jumped to humans as it did previously with SARS and MERS outbreaks after human beings came in direct contact with civets (SARS) and camels (MERS).
In the case of coronavirus, researchers have proposed bats to be the most likely vectors for the virus. However, there are no historical cases suggesting direct bat-human transmission which gives credence to the theory that an intermediate host was likely involved between bats and humans.
In the other proposed scenario, a non-pathogenic version of the virus is supposed to have jumped from an animal host into humans and then evolved to its current pathogenic state within the human population.
For instance, some coronaviruses from pangolins, armadillo-like mammals found in Asia and Africa, have an RBD structure very similar to that of SARS-CoV-2. A coronavirus from a pangolin could possibly have been transmitted to a human, either directly or through an intermediary host such as civets or ferrets.
Corona Virus (Covid-19) Not A Biological Weapon?
As world blames China for the spread of Covid-19 pandemic and many netizens thought of it being a biological or man-made weapon, India has followed the United States to remind the world about their commitment to prevent the development, production and stockpiling of biological weapons days after the 45th anniversary of the biological weapons convention.
Currently, there are more than 183 countries who are signatories to the accord. India on Friday urged all the nations to recommit themselves to the accord with full and effective implementation and full compliance in letter and spirit.
The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) officially known as Convention on the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of the bacteriological and toxin weapons and on their destruction was signed on March 26, 1975. 183 nations including China, the United States and India are signatories to this accord.
The statement issued by India comes in the backdrop of a similar statement issued by the United States highlighting the importance to the adherence of global Biological Weapons Convention norms.
India Supports China Over Biological Weapon Allegation
India has however thus far abstained from calling the Covid-19 outbreak as Chinese virus lending support to unsubstantiated theories that the virus was developed in a Chinese laboratory as a part of its secret biological warfare programme.
The United States Government too has as of now not accused China of intentionally developing the Covid-19 virus, but a section in the US media and current Republican Senator Tom Cotton and former aide of President Donald Trump Stephen Bannon have supported the theories with some in Trump administration putting the blame at the doorsteps of the Chinese Government for their failure to contain the deadly virus.
Beijing has refuted all the charges and has started efforts to garner support. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke to India’s External Affairs Minister on Tuesday and sought India’s support in discharging US allegations.
India reiterated its call for the Biological Weapons Convention’s institutional strengthening, including “negotiation of a comprehensive and legally binding protocol, providing for an effective, universal and non-discriminatory verification mechanism to strengthen the implementation of the convention by state parties, ensuring full compliance and deterring non-compliance.