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ScienceNostalgia101

COVID-19 outbreak (caused by SARS-CoV-2)

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Not sure whether this is better for here or Biology, but I'll put it here for now. I assume most of you have already heard of China's coronavirus outbreak, but in case you haven't, a little refresher...

 

https://www.businessinsider.com/wuhan-coronavirus-chinese-wet-market-photos-2020-1

 

A. So does this suggest doing farming within the city limits of a major city is more likely to spread disease than relegating the farming tasks to small towns? Does it depend on whether it's meat farming or just vegetable farming? Either way, how come China often does their farming in major cities, while in the United States, farming's considered a "small town" thing?

 

B. Within the idea of farming in cities in particular, is it safer to slaughter animals before bringing them to a market, or after? Does the former risk causing insects and/or microbes to get at them faster or something?

 

C. Within the latter, is it safer to cook the meat before bringing it to the wet market, or to leave the customer to cook it? Would "cooked" meat have only the illusion of safety since in an open air market insects and/or microbes could get at it?

 

D. Is there any animal that's dangerous to eat no matter how long you cook it for?

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There are reports the disease may be a result of eating soup made with bat.  (The flying mammal kind.)  Also saw a headline that eating snake might be involved.  I don't know if either has been confirmed. 

Having worked in China several times I have no doubt such consumption takes place.  I once saw a cartoon of a snake chasing a rat, and a Chinese chef chasing them both.  At one banquet, I saw people drinking snake bile.  One of my Chinese counterparts gleefully explained to me that the soup I was eating was made with scorpions.  I noticed no effects, positive or negative.

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As with all things, details matter here. We can not determine answers unless we know method of transportation, of slaughter, of sanitation, of disposal of waste, etc.

It’s not whether or not it’s fine near a city that matters. It’s how it’s done that matters. 

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I think a city environment is important just because of the numbers involved. If someone at a rural market comes into occasional contact with an infected bat (or snake, as most of the reports I have read suggest) the chance of a virus is low. And then the number of people they might pass it on to is also quite low. And so on.

In a busy city market, thousands of people might come into contact with multiple infected animals, every day. So the chances of the virus jumping the species barrier is higher. And after that happens, they will come into close contact with hundreds, maybe thousands, more people everyday. And they may travel larger distances, contacting people who are travelling by train or plane to other large cities, etc.

 

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It is one of the issues that are going to be increasingly difficult to contain due to increasing mobility of folks. Right now there are ca. 800 infections and the Chinese government has restricted travel in a possibly unprecedented scale. 

 

20 hours ago, Huckleberry of Yore said:

There are reports the disease may be a result of eating soup made with bat.

It should be noted that this at bets highly speculative. Bats are a suspected reservoir, but nothing is certain yet. A  cooked soup is less likely to be the culprit than direct contact with one. But again, it is not sure whether the virus originated from bats in the first place. It just has similarities to some known to be found in bats.

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On 1/24/2020 at 1:39 PM, CharonY said:

It is one of the issues that are going to be increasingly difficult to contain due to increasing mobility of folks. Right now there are ca. 800 infections and the Chinese government has restricted travel in a possibly unprecedented scale. 

 

It should be noted that this at bets highly speculative. Bats are a suspected reservoir, but nothing is certain yet. A  cooked soup is less likely to be the culprit than direct contact with one. But again, it is not sure whether the virus originated from bats in the first place. It just has similarities to some known to be found in bats.

But is eating bat or snake meat safe so long as it's cooked long enough? Is there any virus or other pathogen that'll be present no matter the temperature to which it is heated or the duration for which it's heated to that temperature?

 

While I'm at it, I know it's a distinct topic, but... does the same apply to human meat? I'm not considering trying it or anything, but I know a lot of people in desperate circumstances end up resorting to it, is that safe as long as it's heated enough or is there some other reason that's unsafe?

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23 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

But is eating bat or snake meat safe so long as it's cooked long enough? Is there any virus or other pathogen that'll be present no matter the temperature to which it is heated or the duration for which it's heated to that temperature?

Most pathogens should be destroyed by cooking. One exception may be prions which can cause dementia-like illnesses. Some can form spores that may be able withstand high temperatures. Also, some pathogens will create toxic compounds that won't be destroyed by cooking (e.g. C. botulinum, which creates one of the most toxic compound known. Which is why people like to inject it into their faces!)

27 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

While I'm at it, I know it's a distinct topic, but... does the same apply to human meat? I'm not considering trying it or anything, but I know a lot of people in desperate circumstances end up resorting to it, is that safe as long as it's heated enough or is there some other reason that's unsafe?

The prion disease Kuru was transmitted by people eating the brains of their deceased relatives. The Wikipedia page on this does not make it clear if this was cooked. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuru_(disease)#Transmission (Not for the overly sensitive.)

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1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

But is eating bat or snake meat safe so long as it's cooked long enough? Is there any virus or other pathogen that'll be present no matter the temperature to which it is heated or the duration for which it's heated to that temperature?

Almost by definition, if you cook long enough you can kill most things. But normal cooking is sometimes not long enough. Also note that often dry heat is less effective than wet heat. That makes heating of dry spices often inefficient in killing pathogens, for example. That being said, viral infection are uncommon with cooked food, but are more likely due to infected food handlers (especially in ready-to-eat-food), or undercooked/uncooked food.

However, there are also enteric bacteria that have acquired heat resistance that are on the rise. Boiling for a long time will kill them, but short heating steps as common in food processing, may not. As Strange mentioned there are also highly resilient sporulating bacteria. Prions, again are a different category, as they are not pathogens, just short peptides. And yes, human meat is especially bad for you. It carries a lot of pathogens that, well are good at infecting humans. The host may be resilient against them but the aspiring cannibal may not be. But again, if you cook or autoclave long enough much is theoretically safe (barring things like toxins, as Strange already pointed out), but you'd be basically eating protein goo. 

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how long can novel coronavirus survive in air ?  

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9 minutes ago, fresh said:

how long can novel coronavirus survive in air ?  

Quote

For the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV, while there are still important gaps in the information relevant to determining appropriate prevention and control measures (e.g. virus persistence in the environment), guidance for IPC has been developed by WHO drawing upon the experience with the SARS and MERS outbreaks in the past [6,35].

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/factsheet-health-professionals-coronaviruses

 

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the short term answer is isolation measures in hospitalised patients and suspects.

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Origin is unclear and Chinese media is state controlled so not that credible.   Latest reports claim to eliminate both bats and snakes.  https://www.sciencealert.com/the-pangolin-is-now-a-suspect-in-the-coronavirus-outbreak.  In any case, the claims of association are typically based on finding viral genetic signal of host fresident consistent that of the  epidemic  isolate - coincidence does not mean cause/source - e.g. folks are still arguing over armadillos as source of human leprosy.

There is little doubt that (esp.)  wet market food constantly exposes its vendors and customers to various microbes/viruses/prions and mabe stuff yet to be discovered - that occasionally take up residence with or without pathology.  Think the issue is persistence/pathology and communicability rather  than exposure.

Re. wet markets  - these are deep in Chinese urban food supply system and include both slaughtered and living animals.  Moving them are out of cities is not practical as it moves them away from customers, and vendors are small business men whose limited resources will likely be be exceeded  by requirement of cooking adequately all meats - and whose product will be limited to slaughtered and cooked flesh (even in  the unlikely even of effective and consistent compliance).

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How reliable the news is?? I have no access to the link .

C089A884-6740-4F74-BBEC-84E2A3E770EE.png

7F214F5C-BBA3-4B19-A754-172F09A8C160.jpeg

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44 minutes ago, fresh said:

7F214F5C-BBA3-4B19-A754-172F09A8C160.jpeg

You have highlighted the lie in that report instead of the truth in the headline. "No links to weapons research"

Don't do that.

45 minutes ago, fresh said:

How reliable the news is??

It seems the problem is with your desire to find conspiracies and bad news, not the reliability of the news. 

Stop trying to spread lies and conspiracy theories.

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There was no truth  in either of the above stories.  That it is or is not connected to biological weapons research is not verifiable, and the Wash Post claim that the association is false is not supported by the article.   Experts cited clearly doubted the association with weapons but none was in  a position to prove their expert opinions.  The headline should be unproven and doubtful.

 

Edited by PhilGeis

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2 minutes ago, PhilGeis said:

There was no truth  in either of the above stories.  That it is or is not connected to biological weapons research is not verifiable, and the Wash Post claim that the association is false is not supported by the article.   Experts cited clearly doubted the association with weapons but none was in  a position to prove their expert opinions.

Thank you. That is a much more balanced summary. (I would probably vote my own post down, if I were able!)

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On 2/11/2020 at 4:53 PM, PhilGeis said:

There was no truth  in either of the above stories.  That it is or is not connected to biological weapons research is not verifiable, and the Wash Post claim that the association is false is not supported by the article.   Experts cited clearly doubted the association with weapons but none was in  a position to prove their expert opinions.  The headline should be unproven and doubtful.

 

Proving a negative is quite difficult, though, and I'd argue that in the absence of any supporting evidence it should not be considered a likely alternative hypothesis to an animal origin. Was there a study eliminating bats? I thought that most just do not believe snakes to be a likely candidate (and the study supporting snakes was a bit shaky, mostly based on codon usage IIRC), at least compared to mammals or birds.

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On 2/6/2020 at 2:14 AM, fresh said:

how long can novel coronavirus survive in air ?  

Just a bit of background on air transmission of infectious disease with flu like symptoms.

While rat fleas were largely responsible for transmitting Bubonic plague between people the transmission via air was a rare situation found in septicemic plague.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubonic_plague

Bubonic plague is an infection of the lymphatic system, usually resulting from the bite of an infected flea, Xenopsylla cheopis (the rat flea). In very rare circumstances, as in the septicemic plague, the disease can be transmitted by direct contact with infected tissue or exposure to the cough of another human.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septicemic_plague

Septicemic plague is one of the three main forms of plague. It is caused by Yersinia pestis, a gram-negative species of bacterium. Septicemic plague is a life-threatening infection of the blood, most commonly spread by bites from infected fleas.

If the Coronavirus was in the blood sucked by a bat mite it would last as long as the bat mite was alive and potentially be transmitted if the bat mite bit another human or animal.

https://www.virginiabatpros.com/blog/how-to-get-rid-of-bat-mites/

Bat mites, also known as bat bugs, are very similar to bed bugs in that they also consume the blood of a host. ... They can transfer to other hosts; and when they move from a bat to the rest of the home, they usually survive by feeding off of the blood of humans or pets.

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Yersinia is a bacterium, not a virus. Whole different ballgame.

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On 2/17/2020 at 1:48 AM, CharonY said:

Yersinia is a bacterium, not a virus. Whole different ballgame.

Animal to human transmission of blood, entirely same ballgame.

Bat mites, also known as bat bugs, are very similar to bed bugs in that they also consume the blood of a host. ... They can transfer to other hosts; and when they move from a bat to the rest of the home, they usually survive by feeding off of the blood of humans or pets.

Latest figures from John Hopkins Uni, Total Confirmed: 73,335, Total Deaths: 1,873, Total Recovered: 12,745 and the ratio of Recovered/Confirmed has jumped from around 10% to around 17% in the past 6 days.

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Bacterial survival and propagation is hugely different from virus (esp as latter cannot multiply outside host cells). The virus in question is propagated facilitating direct transmission. It affects different organs in different ways. Treatment options are vastly different.

 So the comparison would make as much sense as any other two random infectious diseases.

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7 minutes ago, fresh said:

this website provides some information including coronavirus's genetic sequence which is too technical for me to understand. we need experts to verify it. 355673463_p41.thumb.jpg.9a8d7bd78c5a3c352e8373cbd5fe2435.jpgp4.thumb.jpg.94999f9cb06f8ce05e69c1f8119397fe.jpg

https://www.infowars.com/white-house-asks-scientists-to-investigate-whether-2019-ncov-was-bio-engineered/ 

 

infowars is a right-wing conspiracy site.

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