Experts warn of the risk of a pandemic from SARS-CoV-3

One challenge that countries may face in the future is the emergence of a new virus called SARS-CoV-3 that can be transmitted from humans to animals, Singapore epidemiologists warn.

The Straits Times quoted Professor Wang Linfa of the National University of Singapore as saying that a new pandemic could occur when viruses from humans are transmitted back to animals. This warning was raised by Mr. Wang at the ASEAN Special Ministerial Meeting on Public Health on October 6.

According to Professor Wang, most scientists believe that the original strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 exists in bats in Asia. The virus then passed on to an intermediate animal, possibly a pangolin or civet, before being transmitted to humans at a seafood market in Wuhan, China in late 2019.

“This virus will still spread from person to person. But what surprised us is that this virus can also be easily transmitted from humans back to animals. It would be very worrying if humans could infect objects. New hosts like bats in the US mainland are not a natural source of the virus,” Wang said. This scenario could happen when the bat eats a fruit left unfinished by an infected person, he said.

The Singaporean expert added: “Bats have a special immune system that allows them to catch the virus without getting sick. However, the virus can still mutate and be transmitted to intermediate animals X, Y, Z and spread to humans, making us infected with X, Y, Z disease, also known as SARS-CoV-3 ( SARS-CoV-2 virus mutates when transmitted from person to animal)”.

Every time a virus spreads between species, he explained, it will genetically change to adapt to a new host, and it will mutate even more as humans spread the virus to other species, one of the most common viruses in the world. that could become SARS-CoV-3. The above hypothesis is based on Professor Wang’s expertise in bat immunology and zoology. Therefore, he advised countries to prepare.

Firstly , at the stage when the virus has not appeared, scientists need to study the viruses present in different animals and the animals that humans trade and consume the most. They also need to coordinate with government agencies and international organizations to as‌sess risks and prepare measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

The second is the early warning phase. When severe, unusual cases appear in intensive care units or local clinics, it may be a sign of the emergence of a new virus.

Finally , once the virus has spread, vaccines and treatments are important measures to deal with the epidemic.

He was part of an expert team that successfully recreated the new corona virus in the laboratory last year after it appeared in Wuhan. This helps Singapore start production of Covid-19 test kits. He is also a member of the emergency committee set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) during the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak. This committee on January 30, 2020, advised the WHO to declare Covid-19 a global health emergency.

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