Over 6 months into Covid-19 crisis, 5 mysteries that still shroud coronavirus
The virus which first broke out last year in China’s Wuhan is yet to see a potential vaccine or treatment options and has many mysteries associated with it that need to be demystified.Updated: Jul 08, 2020 08:43 IST
More than half of the year has already passed and the coronavirus pandemic does not seem to be slowing down with the global tally crossing 11 million recently. More than 50 percent of the patients ( more than 6 million) across the globe have recovered from the deadly contagion while over 5 lakh people have succumbed to death. With over 7 lakh patients, India stands at the third spot after the US and Brazil.
The virus which first broke out in China’s Wuhan last year is yet to see a potential vaccine and treatment options and has many mysteries associated with it that need to be demystified.
In its latest entry, science journal ‘Nature’ calls for a pressing need to unearth answers to five mysteries linked to coronavirus. So far, science has managed to figure out how the virus “enters and hijacks cells, how some people fight it off and how it eventually kills others. They have identified drugs that benefit the sickest patients, and many more potential treatments are in the works. They have developed nearly 200 potential vaccines — the first of which could be proved effective by the end of the year,” the journal read.
However, the journal sheds light on some of the key questions that researchers still don’t have answers to with respect to the disease. These include the following:
1. Why do people respond so differently?
It is a well-known fact that children and the elderly, especially those with comorbidities, are more susceptible to the virus and experience the severity of the disease, however, it still needs to be understood what makes people respond differently to the virus.
2. What’s the nature of immunity and how long does it last?
Immunologists and experts have been trying to determine what immunity to coronavirus disease look like and how long it might last. “Studies have found that levels of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 remain high for a few weeks after infection, but then typically begin to wane,” the journal entry titled, ‘Six months of coronavirus: the mysteries scientists are still racing to solve,’ read.
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3. Has the virus developed any worrying mutations?
Much speculation is around the possible mutation of the virus as it travelled across the continent after first taking shape in China last year.
4. How well will a vaccine work?
A growing body of experts and scientists believe that the Covid-19 vaccine would not be for the masses as most people end up recovering on their own from the contagion. The vaccine may target the vulnerable lot of the society, like the elderly and the children and those with co-morbidities. But how effective will it be against the virus is still being assessed.
5. What is the origin of the virus?
This remains the million-dollar question. From bats to pangolins, much speculation has stemmed around the theory of the genesis of the virus that was birthed in China.
“A comprehensive analysis of more than 1,200 coronaviruses sampled from bats in China also points to horseshoe bats in Yunnan as the probable origin of the new coronavirus,” the paper stated.