“Hypotheses still open to 50%”

“Hypotheses still open to 50%”
“Hypotheses still open to 50%”

Did Covid come out of the Wuhan laboratory or does it have a natural origin? “Hypotheses still open to 50%”. It is therefore more urgent than ever to determine the origin of Sars-CoV-2, to know the vulnerability of the system but also to implement actions to prevent the risk of future pandemics. However, China needs “transparency and collaboration” because this virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic in the world has “peculiarities”. And politics plays an “important role” in pushing China to this collaboration. To take stock is the president of the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa), Giorgio Palù, in the informal hearing at the joint Foreign and Social Affairs Committees as part of the examination of the proposal for the establishment of a Commission of inquiry into the causes of the outbreak of the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic and on the congruity of the measures adopted by the States and the WHO to prevent its spread throughout the world ‘.

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Did Covid come out of the Wuhan laboratory? Palù in pressing on China

Therefore Commission of inquiry but, he says, “it would be appropriate that Europe, within its ambit, should be univocal and that there is a concordant political unity in making this request as it seems to me that we are now addressing”, underlining the need for an “investigation across the board “. “Questioning the origins of this Pandemic – he says before the Italian parliamentarians – is a task not only for scientists who do their best, but above all for politics” and “shedding light on this is a duty”, but we need the “collaboration of China “which must be” empowered “through politics and collaboration between countries. Because this virus has peculiarities «despite being 98% identical to the horseshoe bat virus, Rhinolophus sinicus».

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At least 4-5 the ‘oddities’. Sars-CoV-2 recognizes 10 times more human receptors than other coronaviruses; lack of an intermediate host (“usually these viruses do not pass directly to humans”); some “strange, unique sequences” not subject to recombination, which may have been acquired by the virus by replication in human culture; if the bat was the natural host of this coronavirus it can no longer return to it (“if it evolved from the bat, it did so in a way that we do not know and therefore it is no longer able to return to its host”). Furthermore, “around the cave where this virus was first identified, people have no antibodies so at least it hasn’t spread there” and, finally, the lack of data. “We know these viruses have been cultivated for years in Wuhan. We have no knowledge of data from the Chinese because since 2019 the registers that are kept in all high protection laboratories have not been found anymore », Palù recalls, citing the results of the latest reports released.

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Palù: “Hypotheses still open to 50%”

Therefore, he says, if we do not have “collaboration and transparency” on the part of China, the two hypotheses that the virus is of natural origin or that, a possibility that cannot be excluded, is the result of an accident in the laboratory, “remain open”, at 50 %. According to Palù, it is necessary to organize a system of “registers, reviews and monthly inspections” when dangerous experiments are carried out with dangerous viruses or with pandemic potential and, by science, inspection of all databases. «Today – he says – we have very powerful means to modify a virus. We have molecular scissors that allow us to insert sequences where we want without being able to trace the method used or the intervention, but it is also enough to cultivate the viruses, and an accident can occur “, as” in the United States itself, in China with the virus of 2002, with brucellosis “. “The important thing is that we know.” Finally, Palù concludes, there are three lessons from this pandemic: investing in territorial medicine; investing in evolutionary virology studies to understand viruses with pandemic potential; learn to communicate science.

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