COVID CONTEXT (Project Context)

14.12.2020

Task 10: What do we know about virus genetics, origin, and evolution?

SUBTASKS: 

  • Subtask 1: Real-time tracking of whole genomes and a mechanism for coordinating the rapid dissemination of that information to inform the development of diagnostics and therapeutics and to track variations of the virus over time.
  • Subtask 2: Access to geographic and temporal diverse sample sets to understand the geographic distribution and genomic differences, and determine whether there is more than one strain in circulation. Multi-lateral agreements such as the Nagoya Protocol could be leveraged.

Nagoya protocol

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity, also known as the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) is a 2010 supplementary agreement to the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Its aim is the implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources thereby contributing to the conservation sustainable use of biodiversity.

  • Subtask 3:

Evidence that livestock could be infected (e.g., field surveillance, genetic sequencing, receptor binding) and serve as a reservoir after the epidemic appears to be over.

-Evidence of whether farmers are infected, and whether farmers could have played a role in the origin. -Surveillance of mixed wildlife- livestock farms for SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses in Southeast Asia. -Experimental infections to test host range for this pathogen.

  • Subtask 4: Animal host(s) and any evidence of continued spill-over to humans

  • Subtask 5: Socioeconomic and behavioral risk factors for this spill-over

  • Subtask 6: Sustainable risk reduction strategies

Why foccus on the genetics? 

Even if all the tasks are about important aspects about the virus, and any kind of information about it interesting, we consider that understanding the origin of the virus is probably one of the most interesting and vital parts of the problem, as it gives the key not only to fight the virus but also to prevent other outbreaks or similar illnesses; and at the same time, it's a complex matter that most of the time lacks information.