As we begin the near year, experts are still working hard to learn more about COVID-19 to learn how to fight it. We caught up with a lead researcher in Taiwan about new information he has discovered about the origin of the novel virus.
As COVID-19 has stumped researchers for a year, new information continues to surface daily about the highly contagious virus. At top of that research are drug makers trying to figure out how to successfully treat it.
“One of the things you need to do in developing COVID therapeutics, which Atossa Therapeutics is involved in, is identify the origin of a virus, what it looked like at the beginning, and then how it began to change as it infected humans. So in investigating that process, I found an unusual pattern in what’s called a genetic cluster. Four patients with literally the same virus or only a tiny number of changes and viruses that represent both the very first version that entered humans and the second are called Clad A and Clad B. These four patients were seen at the end of December and early January, at the PLA Hospital in Wuhan China. PLA is the military hospital there. That was really the first genetic cluster and they are so close together, it’s very clear that they were passing the infection among themselves. So there’s lots of questions that raises probably more questions than answers: were they on a military mission together to southern China, what is the relationship? Why were they at the military hospital at that time? And then the second point is 100 meters from that hospital is a subway station,” explains Dr. Quay.