The source of COVID 19 is still unclear. There is however a chance that it emerged or was transmitted through Pangolins, which are on endangered species lists, played a role. If so, the illegal and non-compliant trade of Pangolins in China may have led to thousands of deaths and massive economic downturns. Ensuring compliance in your markets, communities and businesses is becomeing ever more critical. This article does shed some light on the theory that bats from Yunnan, China were the source and it has some skepticism on the Pangolin theory, where it states,
For example, in the 2002/2003 SARS-CoV outbreak civets were identified as the intermediate host. In the most recent outbreak pangolins have been implicated. But there are huge gaps in this theory given that the coronavirus identified in pangolins has only a 90% similarity with the human viruses.
This Nature article provides a bit more details on the Pangolin theory, where it states,
Three similar comparison studies were posted on bioRxiv last week. One of those papers — by an international research group , posted on 18 February — found2 that coronaviruses in frozen cell samples from illegally trafficked pangolins shared between 85.5% and 92.4% of their DNA with the virus found in humans.
Two other papers published on 20 February, from groups in China, also studied coronaviruses from smuggled pangolins. The viruses were 90.23%3 and 91.02%4 similar, respectively, to the virus that causes COVID-19.
The genetic similarity should be higher than reported in these studies before the host can be identified, says Arinjay Banerjee, who studies coronaviruses at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. He notes that the SARS virus shared 99.8% of its genome with a civet coronavirus, which is why civets were considered the source. If pangolins are the origin of the current outbreak, says Banerjee, it is not the pangolins in these studies.
Only time will tell where COVID came from (or we may never find out). However, it is clear that the compliance with regulations and standards will reduce the risk of future contamination. As organizations are struggling to find solutions, we have gathered a few resources on COVID here.