What We Know So Far About the Origin of COVID-19 and New Mutations

A joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 stated that the virus most likely spread from bats to humans.

1 min read

The Indian government warned in a statement on 30 March that the COVID-19 situation in India is going from ‘bad to worse’ and is a risk to the entire country.

India on 31 March, reported 53,480 new cases, taking the tally in the country to 1,21,49,335. The death toll increased by 354 to 1,62,468.

While new variants are emerging across the world, most recently in Israel, there is also news on the origin of the virus. The World Health Organisation on 30 March released a joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 and stated that the virus most likely spread from bats to humans.

However, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and 14 countries have raised concerns over the report and have demanded further investigation into the theory that the outbreak was the result of a laboratory leak.

As COVID-19 gathered steam once more in India, making its presence felt in Maharashtra, Punjab, and now even Delhi, the health ministry on 24 March announced that genome sequencing by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) has shown variants of concern (VOCs) and a novel double-mutant variant in India.

In today’s episode, we shall analyse the findings of the WHO report and also the variants of concern as this “second wave” gains speed in India.

To discuss the new variants and what exactly they mean, our guest today is Dr Shahid Jameel, who is a virologist and director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University.

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