Explainer: Chinas Mojiang mine and its role in the origins of COVID-19 – Reuters

People using face masks walk on a street market, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 8, 2021. REUTERS/Aly SongTop U.S. transmittable disease professional Dr. Anthony Fauci has advised China to launch information about six labourers who fell ill after operating in a mine in Yunnan province in 2012, and are now seen as an essential part of efforts to find the origins of COVID-19. The employees, ages 30 to 63, were scrubbing a copper seam clean of bat faeces in April 2012. Weeks later, they were confessed to a medical facility in the provincial capital of Kunming with consistent coughs, fevers, head and chest discomforts and breathing difficulties. 3 ultimately died.The mine remains in Mojiang in southwest China, about 1,500 kilometres from Wuhan, where COVID-19 was very first identified.WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE SIX MINE WORKERS?Though the complete biographical information of the six workers have not been released, their surnames, ages and medical records were published in a 2013 thesis written by a Kunming Medical University postgraduate student called Li Xu.Lis research study, still available on Chinas clinical paper archive at cnki.net, examines each patients symptoms and concludes they were victims of a “SARS-like” coronavirus contracted from horseshoe bats.Scientists returning to the mine at the end of 2012 discovered samples of a pathogen that became referred to as the “Mojiang virus”, discovered in rats and unrelated to SARS-CoV-2. Subsequent research study was unable to confirm whether it triggered the miners illness.According to the Wuhan Institute of Virologys Shi Zhengli, Chinas leading bat coronavirus scientist, the employees pneumonia-like symptoms were caused by a fungal infection. Shi and her group also stated in research study published last November that they had retested 13 serum samples from four of the clients and discovered no indication they had been contaminated with SARS-CoV-2. WHY ARE THE CASES IN THE PUBLIC EYE?Since the middle of in 2015, Lis postgraduate thesis has been flowed online as supposed evidence that a coronavirus really comparable to SARS-CoV-2 might have been infecting humans as early as 2012. Some also think the paper offers inconclusive evidence for broader claims that WIV had recorded, studied and carried out “gain of function” experiments on infections found in the mine, including RaTG13.First determined in 2016, RaTG13 shares 96.2% of its genome with SARS-CoV-2, according to a paper released by Shi and other scientists early in February 2020, just weeks after the very first COVID-19 cases had actually been recognized in Wuhan.WHAT OTHER VIRUSES WERE FOUND IN THE MINE?From 2012 to 2015, WIV scientists determined as lots of as 293 coronaviruses in and around the mine.The institute in November 2020 revealed the presence of 8 other “SARS-type” coronavirus samples taken from the site.In a preprint last month, Shi and other scientists said none of the eight was a better match to SARS-CoV-2 than RaTG13. Most importantly, none possessed the key receptor binding domain that permits SARS-CoV-2 to contaminate human beings so efficiently.The paper concluded that “the speculative proof can not support” claims that SARS-CoV-2 was dripped from the lab, and called for “more organized and longitudinal tasting of bats, pangolins or other possible intermediate animals” to much better understand where the pandemic originated.Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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