Worldwide taskforce introduced to look into origins of SARS-CoV-2, which sparked COVID-19 pandemic practically one yr in the past. Named to taskforce is scientific director of Duke-NUS’ ABSL3 facility, which offered early benefit to Singapore by shortly isolating, characterizing SARS-CoV-2, enabling swift growth of diagnostic checks, analysis of potential remedies.
Practically a yr for the reason that world first realized of the novel coronavirus illness 2019, COVID-19, many questions stay about SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind this pandemic: The place did it come from, how did it unfold so extensively and quickly, and the way can we cease comparable outbreaks sooner or later?
Lately, EcoHealth Alliance, a world nonprofit working on the intersection of animal, environmental and human well being, introduced the institution of a world job power to research these questions as a part of The Lancet COVID-19 Fee. Dr. Danielle Anderson, scientific director of Duke-NUS Medical College’s Animal Biosafety Degree 3 (ABSL3) analysis facility in Singapore, is among the many taskforce’s 12 members, who hail from a various set of scientific disciplines and backgrounds, with experience in One Well being, outbreak investigation, virology, lab biosecurity, and illness ecology.
“This is a crucial investigation not solely to know the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, however to make sure historical past doesn’t repeat,” stated Dr. Anderson, who can also be an assistant professor in Duke-NUS’ Rising Infectious Ailments Programme. “As a virologist who has labored in high-biosecurity containment labs worldwide, I sit up for bringing my expertise and experience to bear within the seek for solutions.”
The Duke-NUS ABSL3 facility and its skilled scientific employees have been central within the response to COVID-19 in Singapore. The truth is, Dr. Anderson performed a key position within the early isolation of the virus (making Singapore the third nation on the earth to take action) and subsequent work to develop a serological check that may particularly detect antibodies capable of neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“Understanding the origins of the coronavirus pandemic is essential for creating preventive measures for the longer term,” stated Professor Thomas Coffman, dean of Duke-NUS Medical College. “We’re happy that Dr. Anderson might be representing Duke-NUS and Singapore on this taskforce, and we’re absolutely dedicated to supporting its necessary work.”
The duty power is led by Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, and chaired by Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor and director of the Middle for Sustainable Growth at Columbia College.
“We intend to conduct a radical and rigorous investigation into the origins and early unfold of SARS-CoV-2,” stated Dr. Daszak, a illness ecologist who has spent years learning coronavirus transmission in China and Southeast Asia. “Our group will use the findings to formulate One Well being options for managing future zoonotic illness danger.”
In its investigation, the duty power will recreate an entire timeline of the outbreak of COVID-19, ranging from the invention of RaTG13—the closest recognized viral relative of SARS-CoV-2—in 2013 and as much as the WHO’s declaration of COVID-19 as a Public Well being Emergency of Worldwide Concern on January 30, 2020. They are going to analyze the out there proof for every of the hypotheses put ahead on the origins of COVID-19, and evaluate its early unfold and outbreak management to earlier outbreaks to determine methods that may help future pandemic prevention.
“There may be quite a lot of curiosity in understanding how COVID-19 emerged and unfold, however there’s a deeper cause for this taskforce’s work,” Dr. Sachs, The Lancet COVID-19 Fee chair, stated. “If we will perceive why this pandemic started, we will design options to stop the following one.”
Extra info on The Lancet COVID-19 Fee and this taskforce might be discovered at covid19commission.org/origins-of-the-pandemic.