Tag Archives: laboratory

The likely origin of the coronavirus came from animals, laboratories, frozen food, according to reports | Instant News

By Maggie Fox and Sandi Sidhu, CNN

(CNN) – Covid-19 probably came to humans via animals, and likely began spreading no more than a month or two before it became known in December 2019, according to a draft World Health Organization report.

The most unlikely source: a laboratory leak, the WHO’s joint international team concluded.

The WHO is scheduled to release a final report on its investigation into the origins of the coronavirus on Tuesday, but a draft version of the report obtained by CNN suggests there is still no smoking gun and no evidence to suggest the virus spread earlier than late 2019.

The report provides four possible sources of the virus and the most likely scenario is through an intermediate animal host, possibly a wild animal captured and then raised on a farm.

But investigations have yet to find out what other animals were infected by the bats – which are thought to be the most likely original source of the virus – and then may have passed it on to humans. “The possibility of an intermediate host for SARS-CoV-2 remains elusive,” the statement read.

The next possibility is direct transmission from one of the animals known to carry a similar coronavirus, such as bats or pangolins. Likely but unlikely was transmission from frozen or chilled food, and less likely to be accidental laboratory release, the report found.

Former Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield said Dr. CNN’s Sanjay Gupta that his personal opinion was that the virus was released from the laboratory.

The report said this was “very unlikely”. “There is no record of the virus being closely related to SARS-CoV-2 in any laboratory prior to December 2019, or that the combined genome could produce the SARS-CoV-2 genome,” he wrote. “Given the above, the laboratory origin of a pandemic is considered very unlikely.”

Independent researchers have been saying this for months. Viral genome testing shows it was not engineered in the laboratory but transmitted naturally from animals – as did the SARS virus which infected 8,000 people worldwide in 2002-2004 before being discontinued.

Frozen food is also unlikely to be the source, the report said. “There is no conclusive evidence for foodborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the likelihood of cold chain contamination with the virus from a reservoir is very low,” he said.

The role of the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan is also unclear. It is possible that the market is not the original source of the outbreak, but the crowds gathered in the market – which is crowded, with open roofs and gutters – may have amplified the spread of the virus.

Market sampling raises the virus on the surface but not samples taken from animals or food sold in the market. Plus, there is evidence the virus was circulating before the Huanan market outbreak – including in other markets.

“Many of the early cases were linked to the Huanan market, but a number of similar cases were linked to other markets and some not to any market. Transmission in the wider community in December could explain cases not related to the Huanan market which, together with the initial cases unrelated to the market, could indicate that the Huanan market was not the original source of the outbreak, ”the report is added.

“Therefore, no definite conclusions about the role of the Huanan market in the origin of the outbreak, or how the infection entered the market, can at this time be drawn,” the report concluded.

The report recommends more testing of blood samples taken and stored before the first outbreak in December, more animal testing from Southeast Asia, and more in-depth studies of mass encounters that could help spread the virus.

The report was written by a joint international team of 17 Chinese experts plus 17 experts from other countries, WHO, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) participates as an observer.

“After the initial online meeting, the joint study was carried out over a 28-day period from January 14 to February 10, 2021 in the city of Wuhan, People’s Republic of China,” reads the report.

The team looked for evidence the virus was circulating in China before anyone knew it.

“The epidemiology working group is closely examining the possibility of identifying early cases of COVID-19 through studies of surveillance of respiratory disease morbidity (disease) in and around Wuhan by the end of 2019,” he wrote.

“It also uses national sentinel surveillance data; laboratory confirmation of disease; reports on purchases of retail pharmacies for antipyretics (fever relievers), colds and cough medicines; the convenience part of the sample housed more than 4,500 research project samples from the second half of 2019 that were housed in various hospitals in Wuhan, throughout Hubei Province, and other provinces. Neither of these studies has demonstrated the impact of the causative agent of COVID-19 on morbidity in the months preceding the COVID-19 outbreak. “

The report suggests further inspection of farms as a possible source of the virus.


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The British SARS-CoV-2 variant will soon become dominant in Switzerland | Instant News

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) variant B.1.1.7, also known as the UK variant, is spreading globally. With high contagion observed, it is and can spread faster than previous variants.

To date, the variant has reached many countries, with the United States reporting more than 3,000 cases.

Researchers at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and other institutions estimate that the B.1.1.7 variant may have been dominant in Switzerland in March.

In the study, published in medRxiv* server, the researchers performed whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 samples obtained from large diagnostic laboratories each week for genome surveillance.

British variant

In December 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) variant, also called B.1.1.7, was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Various variants were also reported at the same time as the appearance of variant B.1.1.7. These include the South African variant (B.1.351) and the Brazilian variant (P.1).

The B.1.1.7 variant spreads faster and more efficiently throughout the population than the previous strain. Although preliminary research suggests that the variant causes only mild to moderate illness, new evidence suggests that this variant may be associated with an increased risk of death.

Meanwhile, variant B.1.351 is likely to be more resistant to vaccines and some therapies against the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The P.1 variant, on the other hand, appeared in early January and has already reached other countries, such as the US and Japan.


The researchers conducted whole genome sequencing based on samples from Violler AG, an extensive diagnostic laboratory that processes SARS-CoV-2 samples from all over Switzerland, to arrive at the research findings.

Each week, SARS-CoV-2 samples were randomly selected to be sequenced among all positive test samples in the laboratory. For each sample, the researcher knows the date of the test and the area where the test was carried out.

Furthermore, the team also used data from Dr.’s medical laboratory. Risch, who screened their samples for the 501Y mutation with a variant-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. They conducted analysis for the seven economic regions.

The team calculated the British variant’s transmission fitness gain for two data sets. The first data set allowed researchers to obtain estimates for seven regions of the Swiss economy.

The study findings suggest that the logistic growth rate is around 0.09 to 0.10 per day for Switzerland. In March, B.1.1.7 will be dominant in Switzerland, based on Swiss data tracking the 501Y mutation.

Currently, most new infections may have been caused by variant B.1.1.7 since the case was confirmed 8 to 11 days after infection.

The team also points out that in the first half of January, the absolute number of British variants increased, while the absolute number of all other cases decreased.

Overall, the research shows a consistent signal for the superiority of the transmission of the British variant in Switzerland. The estimate coincides with tariffs from the UK, Denmark and Switzerland.

B.1.1.7 transmission rates appear to have slowed in February globally, which may be due to compliance with and adherence to mitigation measures against COVID-19.

About 4.9 percent of all cases confirmed during the study period were characterized by whole genome sequencing. The team plans to continue the sorting effort every week with all data going to GISAID.

This team aims to assist and facilitate the global response to SARS-CoV-2 and monitor the spread of the new variant.

To date, the number of cases worldwide has reached 117.60 million, with more than 2.61 million deaths. The United States reported 29 million cases and approximately 527,000 deaths.

* Important Notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer reviewed and, therefore, should not be construed as conclusions, guidelines for health-related clinical / behavioral practice, or are treated as defined information.


Journal reference:


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COVID-19 variant first discovered in UK confirmed in Douglas County | Country and Regional News | Instant News

The first known Nebraska case of a COVID-19 variant originally identified in Britain has been confirmed in Douglas County, health officials announced on Friday afternoon.

The variant, known as B.1.1.7, was identified through genome sequencing at the Nebraska Public Health Lab on the campus of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. The variant was detected in a sample from a woman in her 20s living in Douglas County.

Dr. Gary Anthone, Nebraska’s chief medical officer, said health officials had suspected that a new variant of the virus was circulating in Nebraska and has stepped up genome sequencing efforts to quickly identify a variant.

As of Thursday, 2,102 variant cases had been identified in 45 states and territories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The list includes all of the states around Nebraska except South Dakota.

The variant is easier to transmit than the original strain of the corona virus.

“This is another good reason for people to continue to cover up, practice social distancing and get vaccinated,” Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour said in a statement.


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VCU Medical Center lab testing for the UK’s new COVID-19 variant | Instant News

“We basically ran three tests in the COVID-19 test to detect three different genes of SARS-COV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19. One of these genes shows us a “spike” protein in a virus. In the British strain, this gene mutates and creates a “signature” on our test results. Basically, the signature tells us that a patient may have a new variant of COVID-19, ”Christopher Doern, Ph.D., director of microbiology at VCU Health, said.


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Are We Ready to Make Changes to Food Produced in the Lab? | Instant News

Recent successes in creating meat in the laboratory represent a not-too-long future in which large quantities of food will be available without the need for farming, transporting and slaughtering animals.

Besides the plans that I have already commented in that now produce A kind of meat from stem cells in laboratory, a process that is still difficult and expensive, it is now possible to make such dairy products ice cream, cheese or maybe human milk, by creating molecular structures in the bioreactor that are identical to those in real milk, without the need for a cow.

Perfect day, a San Francisco-based company founded in 2014 intends to “change the process, but not the food”, by developing a process for making milk proteins, including casein and whey, by fermentation in microbiota, specifically from Trichoderma fungi in the bioreactor, instead of extracting them from cow’s milk. Using this protein, the company makes yogurt and ice cream that are sold directly to a large proportion of the vegan community.

Like a Perfect Day, Remilk highlighted the fact that the product is not a “milk substitute,” but milk, with identical molecular structures and that can be used to make one of the foods that, in all its versions, my heart likes best: cheese. Company recently raised $ 11.3 million to continue its work in developing processes for creating products that, at least in theory, should be biochemically identical to the original. New Culture is another player in the vegan dairy market, synthesizes casein to make dairy products with original taste, texture and organoleptic characteristics.

Given that our preferences for the taste, smell, and texture of the foods we eat are largely rooted in our education and culture, they are very capable of evolving over time or generations. The current process of trying to make something very similar to a particular food may change in the future, as we become accustomed to new textures and flavors.

The production costs for these types of products are still much higher than their “natural” alternatives (whatever “natural” means, taking into account the conditions under which animals are kept on most farms), but as this process develops, prices will fall: in the case of laboratory meat, in its relatively short history we have seen the price dropped by a factor of 30,000, put them within reach from a growing public; the cost of so-called laboratory foods will no doubt continue to fall as technological barriers are lowered.

The only question now is how many of us will be ready to make changes. What percentage of the food we will eat in the future comes from cell multiplication or molecular synthesis in the laboratory?


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