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For as long as 70 years, bats have been carrying the genetic precursors of the COVID virus, according to a team of Chinese, European, and U.S. scientists that reconstructed the virus’s evolutionary history.
The study found the COVID structure enabling it to lock onto human receptors is shared by other coronaviruses found in horseshoe bats living in remote parts of Asia and Africa.
The family of viruses has the ability to infect a range of human cells, which made it easy for one member of this virus clan to jump to humans. Other members of the virus family “may do so again,” the study said.
The current crisis “will not be our last coronavirus pandemic,” the research team said. “A much more comprehensive surveillance system needs to be put in place to catch viruses like this when case numbers are still in the double digits.”
Another investigation by a consortium of universities and nonprofit groups quantified the benefits of doing so.
Researchers concluded the virus and economic shutdown will cost the world $8.1 to $15.1 trillion, as much as 500 times more than the $22 to $30 billion nations could invest annually to reduce the spread of new diseases out of tropical areas, they said.
The study recommends using the money to expand wildlife anti-poaching and trade monitoring programs; end the wild meat trade in China; develop programs to reduce deforestation – which drives animals out of the wild into contact with humans – by 40 percent; and create methods to prevent the transmission of diseases from wild animals to livestock.
The scientists also urge the creation of a global library listing the genomes of known viruses, which could allow scientists to quickly spot the source of new viral outbreaks and quickly devise the best ways to treat and contain the illness.
TRENDPOST: COVID-19 has been an introduction. There are lessons to be learned from it that can show us how to snuff an outbreak without panicking the world and crashing the global economy.
by Bennett Daviss

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