The origins of COVID-19 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 07, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 07, 2021

The origins of COVID-19

The World Health Organisation (WHO) team on its visit to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak first emerged at a seafood market in late 2019, said the team's work had uncovered new information. The WHO said that there was still insufficient evidence to determine how the virus entered Wuhan, but that it was clear it was circulating elsewhere in Wuhan at the same time. WHO ruled out the lab leak and accepting that COVID-19 could have originated outside of China. The team also considered that the first human transmission took place across the border in Laos or Vietnam.

According to Professor Tom Jefferson at the University of Oxford, pointed that rather than originating in China, COVID-19 may have been lying dormant across the world until emerging under favourable environmental condition. Traces of COVID-19 found in sewage samples from Spain, Italy, and Brazil, which pre-date its discovery in China. Recent reports suggest that this virus might have been responsible for a spike in pneumonia cases in France, and few researchers believe it could have entered Wuhan from Europe.

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In 1918, around 30% of the population of Western Samoa died of the Spanish flu, and they had not had any communication with the outside world. "The explanation for this could only be that these agents do not come or go anywhere. They are always here and something ignites them, maybe human density or environmental conditions, and this is what we should be looking for," he added. Coronavirus traces found in Spanish sewage samples from March 2019.

An internationally renowned medical microbiologist and recipient of the first-ever Independence Day Award of Bangladesh, the late Major General Mahmudur Rahman Choudhury was an eminent medical scientist and physician of Bangladesh. The late Professor Emeritus Dr Mahmudur Rahman Choudhury was a pioneer of immuno-electron microscopy in Bangladesh in 1978.

Professor Choudhury mentioned in his book 'Modern Medical Microbiology' in the section 'Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases' that "the myth that infectious diseases are being controlled and are fading away has evidently been found to be incorrect. There exist definite indications that alterations, which we make in our lifestyles and environment, could have profound impacts on the dynamic biological changes in the microbial world. The results can be disastrous. It is quite obvious that microbes can strike us back whenever the delicate ecological balance is disturbed".

Professor Choudhury's prediction, University of Oxford Professor's observation and recent WHO findings in Wuhan - all theories are similar. 21 years ago, Professor Choudhury was correct, since he speculated that this might happen if we do not keep the ecological balance intact. Hence, it is evident that to eradicate this paradox of pandemic, the ecological balance needs to be restored in the global atmosphere, otherwise, humans will suffer more in the future from microbes. Human behaviour needs to be changed when it comes to environmental issues. It is an injustice to nature, in other words, not doing a natural justice to nature. The relationship between humans and nature should be harmless. "Do no harm" – not only to humans but also to nature. It appears that human behavioural change is the key to prevent all domains of infections by viruses and microbes.

The writer is a PhD Candidate at the University of Newcastle, Australia. E-mail:


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