(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — It is widely believed that COVID-19 was transmitted from an animal to a human being, which sparked the global pandemic. Nine months later, scientists may have finally solved the mystery how that happened.
Researchers were able to compare the mutations of the novel coronavirus — known as the SARS-CoV-2 virus — to other known illnesses and created a map, eventually discovering a “single lineage responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.”
That particular virus has been documented in bats for 40 to 70 years.
Dr. David Robertson, head of viral genomics and bioinformatics at the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow, said, “While the new virus looks like coronaviruses that circulate naturally, it’s unique in ways we didn’t know about before the pandemic.”
As for how the virus jumped to humans, it’s believed the illness mutated and infected another intermediary animal — like a pangolin — before evolving again.
Either way, Robertson says the research proves the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic now that a clear genetic code has been mapped out — meaning the science debunks the conspiracy theory that the virus was man made.
He also believes this research will be critical in helping to better prepare for the next global pandemic.
COVID-19 isn’t the first, nor will it be the last virus that originated in animals before passing onto humans. West Nile virus and Ebola both originated in animals before spreading to mankind.