The origins of viruses: discovery takes time, international resources, and cooperation – The Lancet

Revealing the origins of SARS-CoV-2 is a prerequisite for cutting off the virus from the root and preventing future spillover of the virus. This work is of great significance in infection disease prevention and control in the face of Disease X.

Although scientists around the world are searching very hard, the origins of SARS-CoV-2 remain elusive. In fact, for many infectious pathogens, although their origins have been traced back decades, the debate around the origins remains alive.

HIV is a good first example. The first official report about AIDS was made on June 5, 1981, by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 5 years later, Nahmias and colleagues

discovered a human serum sample collected in Léopoldville (now Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo) in early 1959 that suggested exposure to HIV. Phylogenetic analysis subsequently suggested that an HIV ancestor had been introduced to Africa before 1959,

and a relatively recent report, from 2008, revealed that the HIV-1 M group originated in about 1908 (CI 1884–1924) and has been circulating in the population for about 100 years.

Source: The origins of viruses: discovery takes time, international resources, and cooperation – The Lancet