Avian Flu Diary: Science Perspective: The Animal Origin of SARS-CoV-2

Humans are now the dominant SARS-CoV-2 host species. The danger is that SARS-CoV-2 could spread from humans to other animal species, termed reverse zoonosis, as is suspected for white-tailed deer in the United States. The promiscuous infection of various host species by the sarbecoviruses means that future spillovers of SARSr-CoVs from wildlife are very likely, and current vaccines may not be protective against novel variants. The sampling intensity of sarbecoviruses needs to be urgently increased to gain a better understanding of this spillover risk.
The recent finding of sarbecoviruses, not dissimilar to SARS-CoV-2, dispersed in Southeast Asia emphasizes the urgency of monitoring coronavirus diversity. Humanity must work together beyond country borders to amplify surveillance for coronaviruses at the human–animal interface to minimize the threat of both established and evolving variants evading vaccines and to stop future spillover events.
         (Continue . . . )
While I don’t completely discount the possibility of a lab-leak origin for SARS-CoV-2, we’ve been expecting another `SARS-like‘ spillover from bats – likely via an intermediary host – since the mid-2000s.
It was the scenario behind 2019’s The JHCHS #Event201 (Fictional) CAPS Table Top Exercise, and throughout the last decade we looked at numerous `bat-borne’ zoonotic threats, including:

Emerg. Microbes & Infect.: Novel Coronaviruses In Least Horseshoe Bats In Southwestern China 

PNAS: SARS-like WIV1-CoV Poised For Human Emergence

Sci Rpts: Avian & Human Influenza Compatible Receptor Cells In Little Brown Bats

Study: Hotspots For Bat To Human Disease Transmission

Six weeks before the Wuhan outbreak, in African Swine Fever’s (ASF) Other Impacts; Pharmaceuticals, Bushmeat, and Food Insecurity, I even speculated that China’s ASF outbreak could  lead to increased `bushmeat’ consumption, which in turn might spark another SARS-like outbreak (one of the possible scenarios discussed in today’s article).

Admittedly, more of a lucky guess than prescience, since we’ve been expecting a SARS redux – or the emergence of Virus X – for years.

Regardless of how SARS-CoV-2 emerged, today’s perspective is a reminder that nature’s laboratory is open 24/7 – and future spillovers are all but guaranteed.  We either prepare as if it will happen, or we will be caught flat footed and unprepared again.

Source: Avian Flu Diary: Science Perspective: The Animal Origin of SARS-CoV-2