Popularly called Coronavirus in reference to the city where it originated and where most cases are being registered in 2019-nCoV reminds us of infections such as the Middle East coronavirus respiratory syndrome (MERS) or acute severe respiratory syndrome ( SARS).
These types of epidemics are usually caused by viruses from animals that mutate and end up being transmitted to other living things.
A group of researchers from the Agricultural University of South China (SCAU) has determined that pangolins, mammals similar to armadillos whose meat is considered a delicacy in China, have been able to act as “intermediate hosts” of the coronavirus.
A first investigation carried out by Chinese scientists suggested that the virus could come from a snake. After locating the germ they have managed to study it to try to determine where it came from and the reasons for its virulence.
After comparing it with other known coronaviruses, they soon found that the virus was a mixture of one originating from bats but mixed with another of unknown origin. And that recombination of RNA went to snakes, as explained in the study published in the ‘Journal of Medical Virology’.
Although it is not yet known precisely, the coronavirus is transmitted mainly through contact with infected animals or through close contact with the respiratory secretions that are generated with the cough or sneeze of a sick person.
On the other hand, the Chinese National Health Commission has just discovered that physical contact is another way of spreading. The World Health Organization (WHO), which a week ago declared a global health emergency, has asked the international community to redouble its efforts, especially considering that the data of deaths from the outbreak of the new coronavirus exceed those registered because of the outbreak of SARS or acute respiratory syndrome, which in 2003 caused the death of 765 people worldwide.