Health

Global Task Force to Investigate Origins of COVID-19 Pandemic to “Ensure History Does Not Repeat”

Some proof suggests SARS-CoV-2 originated in bats.

Worldwide taskforce introduced to look into origins of SARS-CoV-2, which sparked COVID-19 pandemic almost one 12 months in the past. Named to taskforce is scientific director of Duke-NUS’ ABSL3 facility, which supplied early benefit to Singapore by rapidly isolating, characterizing SARS-CoV-2, enabling swift improvement of diagnostic checks, analysis of potential therapies.

Practically a 12 months because the world first discovered of the novel coronavirus illness 2019, COVID-19, many questions stay about SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind this pandemic: The place did it come from, how did it unfold so extensively and quickly, and the way can we cease related outbreaks sooner or later?

Just lately, EcoHealth Alliance, a worldwide nonprofit working on the intersection of animal, environmental and human well being, introduced the institution of a world process pressure to examine these questions as half of The Lancet COVID-19 Fee. Dr. Danielle Anderson, scientific director of Duke-NUS Medical Faculty’s Animal Biosafety Stage 3 (ABSL3) analysis facility in Singapore, is among the many taskforce’s 12 members, who hail from a various set of scientific disciplines and backgrounds, with experience in One Well being, outbreak investigation, virology, lab biosecurity, and illness ecology.

“This is a vital investigation not solely to perceive the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, however to guarantee historical past doesn’t repeat,” mentioned Dr. Anderson, who can also be an assistant professor in Duke-NUS’ Rising Infectious Illnesses Programme. “As a virologist who has labored in high-biosecurity containment labs worldwide, I look ahead to bringing my expertise and experience to bear within the seek for solutions.”

The Duke-NUS ABSL3 facility and its professional scientific workers have been central within the response to COVID-19 in Singapore. In truth, Dr. Anderson performed a key function within the early isolation of the virus (making Singapore the third nation on the planet to achieve this) and subsequent work to develop a serological take a look at that may particularly detect antibodies in a position to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“Understanding the origins of the coronavirus pandemic is important for growing preventive measures for the long run,” mentioned Professor Thomas Coffman, dean of Duke-NUS Medical Faculty. “We’re happy that Dr. Anderson will likely be representing Duke-NUS and Singapore on this taskforce, and we’re totally dedicated to supporting its essential work.”

The duty pressure is led by Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, and chaired by Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor and director of the Heart for Sustainable Improvement at Columbia College

“We intend to conduct an intensive and rigorous investigation into the origins and early unfold of SARS-CoV-2,” mentioned Dr. Daszak, a illness ecologist who has spent years finding out coronavirus transmission in China and Southeast Asia. “Our group will use the findings to formulate One Well being options for managing future zoonotic illness threat.”

In its investigation, the duty pressure will recreate a whole timeline of the outbreak of COVID-19, ranging from the invention of RaTG13—the closest identified viral relative of SARS-CoV-2—in 2013 and up to the WHO’s declaration of COVID-19 as a Public Well being Emergency of Worldwide Concern on January 30, 2020. They are going to analyze the obtainable proof for every of the hypotheses put ahead on the origins of COVID-19, and evaluate its early unfold and outbreak management to earlier outbreaks to determine methods which may help future pandemic prevention.

“There’s a nice deal of curiosity in understanding how COVID-19 emerged and unfold, however there’s a deeper cause for this taskforce’s work,” Dr. Sachs, The Lancet COVID-19 Fee chair, mentioned. “If we will perceive why this pandemic started, we will design options to forestall the subsequent one.”

Extra data on The Lancet COVID-19 Fee and this taskforce might be discovered at covid19commission.org/origins-of-the-pandemic.

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