As the world braces for what could still be a global health emergency thanks to 2019-nCoV or the Wuhan coronavirus, scientists are not only searching for a cure, treatment, or even a vaccine–but where the disease came from.
Several hypotheses have been floating, and an official publication from the Lancet showed that of the first batch of identified infected individuals, more than half had contact with the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan.
But a part of the first group of identified infected persons had no contact with the seafood market.
Out of the first 41 patients that were identified on December 1 as having the novel coronavirus, 13 were noted by the publication, stating that, ” No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases,” they state. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace. “
Where did the Wuhan virus come from?
Reports said that the most likely source of the virus is the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which is known to sell wild animals and game, aside from the usual seafood and farm-sourced meat.
Since Wuhan is landlocked on all sides, the trade in wildlife is quite popular, especially as the Chinese New Year came along. Chinese have been known to eat wild game, especially bats, rats, and cats as delicacies for the most important round of holiday feasting of the year.
But a report from the Washington Times mentioned that not far from the market that many see as the epicentre of the disease is a laboratory working under China’s biological warfare program.
There’s a biowarfare lab in Wuhan?
The report said that Radio Free Asia broadcasted an old 2015 report that featured the covert operations done in a Wuhan biolab, touted as the only facility in all of China capable of handling and studying disaeases like Ebola, SARS, MERS, and a whole host of others.
Known as the Wuhan Institute of Virology, it was linked to a covert bio-weapons program. An Israeli military intelligence officer made the link, as he had knowledge and experience on the Chinese biological warfare.
The same report mentioned that while China denied that they were researching biological weapons, some documents revealed a trail that indicated otherwise.
Disease timeline still unclear
Thanks to the fact that the virus is completely new (albeit featuring similar characteristics to SARS which is also a coronavirus), scientists are still deciphering what the genetic sequence of the virus entails.
But as more details emerge from China and more scientists are paying attention to every single detail, people could have been infected as early as November 2019, since it’s now known that 2019-nCoV has an incubation period that could vary from a couple of days to a fortnight.
While earlier data showed that there did not seem to be any human-to-human transmission, a recent report mentioned that a man with no travel history to Wuhan has contracted the disease.
Who is the Wuhan coronavirus-infected man with no Wuhan travel history?
A report from Channel News Asia said a tour driver who took two busloads of Wuhan tourists earlier this January had contracted the disease. The 60-year-old man from the Nara District was hospitalized on Saturday, January 25 with flu-like symptoms. He tested positive for the virus on January 28.
As of publishing, Johns Hopkins has been tracking the progression of the disease based on official reports, with 106 as the current number of deaths, with over 8,000 people infected all over the world.