Scientists in 2007 warned China was a ‘time bomb’ for COVID-19


NATIONAL | MARCH 24, 2020:

As the world battles growing new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has killed over 14,500 people, a study that appeared 12 years back then claimed that the situation in China was a "time bomb" for a dangerous virus outbreak.

Published by the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews in 2007, the researchers noted that the "presence of a large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China, is a time bomb".

The cause for concern was due to the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China.

"The possibility of the reemergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and other novel viruses from animals or laboratories and therefore the need for preparedness should not be ignored," warned the study.

Coronaviruses are well known to undergo genetic recombination, which may lead to new genotypes and outbreaks.

It's been 17 years since a respiratory virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) appeared in China.

By the time the global SARS outbreak was contained, the virus spread to over 8,000 people worldwide and killed almost 800.

The new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 which causes the disease COVID-19, surpassed the 2003 SARS outbreak long back. It has killed over 14,500 people and infected over 2.40 lakh people globally, according to the latest data from John Hopkins University's Coronavirus resource Center.