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Scientific Evidence Hints at Pangolins being the Intermediate Host of the Wuhan Virus

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According to a report by Yang Zhang, Chengxin Zang, and Wei Zheng at The Conversation, pangolins may be the missing connection for the transmission of the Wuhan virus from bats to humans.

It was conventionally believed that snakes were the missing link.

Since the outbreak of the Wuhan Virus at Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China back in late 2019, it has gone on to infect more than one million people across the planet.

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To better comprehend and control the spread of the Wuhan Virus, scientists are frantically studying the strain of the Wuhan Virus causing the disease — SARS-CoV-2. This strain was previously named 2019-nCoV.

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SARS-CoV-2 is zoonotic. In other words, the virus originated in animals and spread to humans. One of the challenges has been to determine which animal was responsible for transmitting the virus to humans.

According to the researchers who penned the article they “.believe that pangolins, as opposed to snakes, may have served as the hosts that transmitted the coronavirus to people and caused the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pangolin, also known as a scaly anteater, is the only known mammal with scales and is found in Asia and Africa.”

Their lab research has brought them to the aforementioned conclusion.

Since January 2020, the current consensus present in the scientific community is that SARS-CoV-2 originally came from horseshoe bats. However, the writers noted that it is “unlikely that bats directly gave the virus to humans based on what’s known about transmission of earlier zoonotic coronaviruses.”

Instead, scientists then changed their assumption of the bat coronavirus infecting another animal, an “intermediate host”, which then transmitted the virus to humans.

The scientists noted the contrast between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2:

For example, SARS-CoV, which is the coronavirus that caused the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) pandemic in 2003, is a close relative of SARS-CoV-2. It was also found to have been transmitted from bats to an intermediate host – the masked palm civet – which subsequently infected humans.

They also mentioned how MERS-CoV, the coronavirus responsible for causing Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012, went from bats to another intermediate host, the dromedary camel, before humans were infected.

In this case, the scientist conducted a follow-up study that proved a connection of SARS-CoV-2 to pangolins:

Our follow-up study also found that the genetic sequence of a coronavirus, discovered in lung samples of Malayan pangolins, was highly similar to SARS-CoV-2. The two viruses shared 91 percent of their genetic sequence.

The bat coronavirus, which was the ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, has 19 amino acids on the spike protein that are different from SARS-CoV-2; the pangolin coronavirus only has five amino acids that are different from SARS-CoV-2.

Meanwhile, several other research groups have found further experimental evidence of pangolins being infected by coronaviruses highly similar to SARS-CoV-2.

Although pangolins are suspected to be the intermediate hosts for this virus, the scientists did argue that “other potential intermediate hosts should still be considered.”

They noted other animals that could possibly be intermediate hosts:

A coronavirus can use more than one kind of animal to infect humans: for example, while civets are best known for transmitting SARS, other animals such as raccoon dogs and ferret badgers are also able to carry SARS.

Similarly, cats and ferrets can also be infected by SARS-CoV-2; it is still unknown whether humans can get infected by the coronavirus residing within these animals.

Objective science on the Wuhan virus is desperately needed in a time when hysteria so high.

The quicker the scientific process is depoliticized, the easier it will be for us to get to the bottom of what caused this virus and how it spread so quickly.

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If Democrats Win, Will Guns Sales Go Through the Roof?

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No matter who wins in 2020, the biggest story of this election cycle has been the record levels of gun sales.  In a piece titled “Guns Sales Break Records With Gun Control Legislation Likely If Democrats Win”, Newsweek highlights the meteoric rise of gun sales in 2020 and how these sales will only go up under a Biden administration.

It’s likely that a Biden win on November 3, 2020 will give life to gun control measure such as universal background checks, assault weapons bans, and national gun buybacks. Scott Reeves of Newsweek noted that “coronavirus pandemic, urban riots and the likelihood of increased regulation if the Democrats win the White House, regain control of the Senate and hold the House” have led to the unprecedented firearms sales.  A Biden win would only accelerate this trend, as people become frightened by the prospect of gun control.

Through September, background checks recorded by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reached 28.826 million. This total surpassed 2019’s record of 28.369 million, representing a 28 percent increase, according to the FBI report. As of September 30, Illinois was leading the nation in background checks with 5.6 million. Reeves noted that other states such as Kentucky (2.364 million) checks, Texas (1.730 million), Florida (1.386 million), Indiana (1.203 million), California (1.187 million) and Pennsylvania (1.030 million), were also experiencing significant upticks in gun sales.

Since NICS came into effect on November 1998, a total of 361.830 million background checks for all purposes have been completed since the program began in November 1998.

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Zogby Analytics provided some more data showing how enthusiastic Americans are about buying guns:

Zogby Analytics in Utica, New York found that the number of gun owners increased 3.9% between October 2019 and October 2020 to 31.3% of the population. The number of individuals in a household keeping a gun at home, work, vacation cottage or club for personal protection, hunting or target shooting increased 7% to 42.2% in the last year. Membership in the National Rifle Association, a gun rights advocacy group, increased 6% to 17.7% in the last year, Zogby’s polling found.

“While there is fierce debate in Washington D.C. and among voters about what certain types of guns and accessories constitute ‘assault weapons,’ adults in the U.S. are buying and keeping more guns,” Jonathan Zogby declared.

Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, an anti-Second Amendment organization, is of the opinion that uncertainty brought about by the Wuhan virus pandemic, riots, and the election are contributing factors to the rise in gun sales.

“Typically, gun sales rise in times of fear,” he said to Newsweek. “We live in a time when there’s a lot of fear, including fear that there might be more gun regulation with a Democratic President and Democratic majorities in Congress. And, there’s been a lot of unrest.”

Americans actions speak louder than their words. Even if Joe Biden does the unthinkable (and the very unlikely) by winning on November 3, his administration will encounter stiff resistance from gun-owning Americans across the political spectrum.

 

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