Why in news?
The World Health Organization said on 4th May that Washington had provided no evidence to support “speculative” claims by the U.S. president that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese lab.
Existing Zoonotic theory, and other ideas
- Scientists believe the killer virus jumped from animals to humans, emerging in China late 2019, possibly from a market in Wuhan selling exotic animals for meat.
- But U.S. President Donald Trump, increasingly critical of China’s management of the first outbreak, claims to have proof it started in a Wuhan laboratory.
What are zoonoses?
- A zoonosis is any disease or infection that is naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans.
- The issue of pathogens crossing species to cause diseases is not a new concept. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 60% of all infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, and about 75% of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in nature.
- Emerging pathogens are more likely to be viruses, than any other kind — bacteria, parasites, fungi — and are more likely to have a broad host range.
- All SARS-CoV-2 genomes sequenced so far have the genomic features described, and are thus derived from a common ancestor that had them too.
- As well as being a public health problem, many of the major zoonotic diseases prevent the efficient production of food of animal origin and create obstacles to international trade in animal products.
-Source: The Hindu