Researchers Had Warned of a Re-Emergence of a SARS-Like Virus in 2007

The culture of eating exotic mammals in parts of southern China meant it was just a matter of time.
Fabienne Lang

The probability of a SARS-like virus re-emerging in China was just a matter of time according to researchers in 2007. These experts are based in Hong Kong, where the 2003 SARS outbreak hit, and noted that the presence of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats in southern China was a "time bomb". 

Some believe that the COVID-19 outbreak was due to the virus passing from bats in a wet market in Wuhan, southern China, over to humans. 


Hong Kong research paper

"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 possibility of the re-emergence of SARS and other novel viruses from animals or laboratories and therefore the need for preparedness should not be ignored," stated a University of Hong Kong research paper.

The report was published in 2007 by the American Society for Microbiology

The research paper pointed out that keeping large numbers of exotic game food in overcrowded cages, without adequate biosecurity measures in place in wet markets, enabled the passing of the novel virus varieties to jump from animals to humans. 

The paper's authors stated that "The small re-emergence of SARS in late 2003 after the resumption of the wildlife market in southern China and the recent discovery of very similar viruses in horseshoe bats, bat SARS-CoV, suggested that SARS can return if conditions are fit for the introduction, mutation, amplification, and transmission of this dangerous virus."

It appears that the authors of the study, Vincent C.C. Cheng, Susanna K.P. Lau, Patrick C.Y. Woo, and Kwok Yung Yuen of the Department of Microbiology, Research Centre of Infection and Immunology at the University of Hong Kong, were, unfortunately, on point with their predictions.


message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron