Over the years, a number of scientists have ventured into caves around the world that contain bats that have been believed to be the main source of the emerging corona virus, which has infected millions and killed tens of thousands.
According to a report by Canadian TV “CTV”, on Monday, in their most recent assignment, they wore suits of dangerous materials, face masks and thick gloves, and carried the lamps with them.
These precautions have been taken, as bats are likely to carry viruses that are not known to humans, and even contact with bats’ droppings or urine can be deadly.
The mission was in the caves of the mountainous Yunnan Province in southwest China, according to Sky News Arabia.
But how do you check for bats awake and moving fast?
The head of a non-governmental organization specializing in detecting and preventing the spread of new viruses, Peter Daszak, says a moderate anesthetic is being used, causing bats to sleep.
While these mammals sleep, scientists work to collect blood samples and swabs from their mouth and stool.
In 2013, it was discovered in a cave in China where bats live, a possible ancestor of the emerging corona virus.
By virtue of being a “virus hunter” a decade ago, Daszak visited more than 20 countries to explore the caves in which bats live, to find deadly viruses such as coronavirus to which Coruna belongs.
Daszak’s team was able to collect 15,000 samples of bats and found an amazing and frightening result at once: 500 new coronavirus.
The virologist in Singapore, Wang Linfa, said that these viruses found in bats reach humans through a medium, such as a civet cat and camel, until they change their nature to be able to enter human cells.
According to Daszak, Southeast Asia and China are an important place to search for bat viruses, as people regularly contact wildlife for hunting, consuming and selling animals.
The results were surprising for the Daszak team in 2015, who analyzed blood samples of people who lived near bat caves in Yunnan, China.
They found that about 3 percent of people had antivirals only in bats, which means that these people have already been exposed to viruses.
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Despite their bad image, to which fantastic literature has contributed since Bram Stoker, bats have a very positive role in nature: pollinate plants, eat disease-carrying insects, and help disperse seedsthat promote the regeneration of trees in tropical forests. However, their role in the COVID-19 pandemic causes them to be viewed with suspicion. The truth is that these mammals -although they are not the only ones- are natural carriers of the coronavirus, a very diverse family of viruses in which the cause of the current world situation is also found.
To learn more about this pathogen, an international group of biologists has compared the types of coronaviruses known in 36 species of bats from the western Indian Ocean and in nearby areas of Africa. This is how they discovered that there are species with their unique strains, revealing that these viruses and bats have been evolving together for millions of years.
“We discovered that there is a deep evolutionary history between bats and coronaviruses,” he explains. Steve Goodman, a biologist at MacArthur Field at the Field Museum in Chicago, and author of the article published in « Scientific Reports». “Developing a better understanding of how these viruses evolved can help us prepare for public health programs in the future.” The study was led by scientists from the Université de La Réunion (France), Léa Joffrin and Camille Lebarbenchon, who performed the genetic analyzes focusing on emerging infectious diseases on the islands in the western Indian Ocean.
Many people use the word “coronavirus” as a synonym for COVID-19. However the SARS-CoV-2 it is just one type within thousands of coronaviruses, most unknown, within the family. But despite this statement, we must remain calm: almost all are not a threat to humans, although learning about them can give us the key for those who yes they are a potential and real danger.
All animals have viruses living inside them, like coronaviruses and bats. Both live in harmony, and do not harm each other. The problem comes when they “jump” to other species. Specifically, the study examines the genetic relationships between different coronavirus strains and the animals in which they live, to chart the path that these pathogens have taken not only in recent months, but in the last centuries and even millennia.
Goodman and colleagues took blood samples from more than 1,000 bats to represent 36 species discovered on islands in the western Indian Ocean and coastal areas of Mozambique. 8% of them carried some type of coronavirus. “This is a very rough estimate of the proportion of bats infected. There is increasing evidence of seasonal variation in the circulation of these viruses in bats, suggesting that this number may vary significantly depending on the time of year, “he explains. Camille Lebarbenchon, Ecologist of diseases at the Université de La Réunion.
Their own strains as life partners
They then compared the coronaviruses among themselves and with those found in other animals, such as dolphins, alpacas (a llama-like animal), and humans, to build a family tree for the “viral” family. “We found that, for the most part, each of the different genus of bat families for which coronavirus sequences were available had their own strains. Furthermore, based on the evolutionary history of different bat groups, it is clear that there is a deep coexistence between bats (at the gender and family level) and their associated coronaviruses, “say the researchers.
The team found that, in rare cases, bats from different families, genera, and species living in the same small caves share the same coronavirus strain. But as this study reflects, transmission between species is the exception, not the rule. “It is reassuring enough that the transmission of coronaviruses in the region between two species of bats seems to be very rare given the great diversity of bat coronaviruses. Next, we need to understand the environmental, biological and molecular factors that lead to these rare changes, “he says. Léa Joffrin, a disease ecologist who worked on bat coronavirus during her doctorate at the University of La Reunion.
The importance of museums to tackle the pandemic
The study also highlights the importance of museum collections. The researchers used, in part, specimens of bats from the Field Museum to confirm the identities of the animals used in this study. Furthermore, the research also used genetic databases such as GenBank. “This information is important for public health, and the starting point is closely related to museum displays. We can use the museum material to study the evolution of a group of viruses and their possible applications in the world’s wildlife, “says Godman.
On the other hand, the biologist points out that despite the fact that bats are carriers of coronaviruses, they must not be harmed or sacrificed in the name of public health. “There is abundant evidence that bats are important to the functioning of the ecosystem, be it for flower pollination, fruit dispersal or the consumption of insects, particularly those that are responsible for the transmission of different diseases to humans. The good they do for us outweighs any negative potential. ”
A team of Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago has announced the discovery of at least four new species of leaf-nosed bats Africans, cousins of the horseshoe bats that served as hosts for the covid-19 virus. “There are 25 or 30 species of horseshoe bats in China, and no one can determine which was involved. We owe it to ourselves to learn more about them and their relatives, ”says Bruce Patterson, museum curator of mammals and lead author of the article. None of them have a troublesome disease today, “but we don’t know if that will always be the case. And we don’t even know how many species there are, “says Terry Demos, a postdoctoral researcher in Patterson’s lab and lead author on the paper.
The family’s leaf-nosed bats Hipposideridae They get their common name from the elaborate fins on the skin of their noses that they use as radar dishes to focus their calls and help catch their prey. The family spans Africa, Asia and Australia, but its African members are little known to science due to lack of research and political unrest in the areas where they are located.
To gain a better understanding of how leaf-nosed bats are distributed and how they relate to each other, researchers and their colleagues at Kenya’s Maasai Mara University and Kenya National Museums and the Field Museum conducted research. genetics with museum specimens collected in various parts of Africa over the past decades. In several cases, one supposedly widespread species proved to be several genetically distinct that just looked alike: they were new species hidden from the naked eye. Their DNA suggested their different evolutionary stories.
Genetic research indicated at least four new species of bats. They do not yet have official names, but, according to the authors, they give us an idea of how much we have left to learn about bats in Africa.
As the researchers explain, it’s not that bats are exceptionally dirty or covered in viruses. “All organisms have viruses. The roses in his garden too, “says Patterson. “We worry about viruses when it comes to the flu and pandemics, but they are part of nature and many are harmless.” But while all animals carry viruses, bats seem especially good at passing them on to humans. It may be because bats are some of the most social mammals, living in colonies of up to 20 million individuals. “Because they clump together and care for each other, it doesn’t take long for a pathogen to move from one end of the colony to the other,” says Patterson.
The other possible reasons why bats are prone to spreading disease can be attributed to their ability to fly. Flying is the most expensive way to move vigorously. If you skin a bat, it looks like Super ‘mouse’, they barely have guts, they are all shoulders and chest muscles. They are amazing athletes, “says Patterson. And since flying is such hard work, they have a high metabolism and a strong immune system, and their DNA is really good to repair when it is damaged. This additional resistance means that bats can harbor disease-causing agents without getting sick themselves; That same dose can be harmful to humans who come into contact with bats.
And while these bats typically don’t have much contact with humans, the more people destroy bat habitats and are exposed to them through hunting and consuming their meat, the more likely they are to get their viruses. “Unless you try to look for bats, either to harass or kill them, it is very, very unlikely that they will infect you,” says Demos.
The researchers also note that while horseshoe bats are related to the spread of covid-19, it is important to study leaf-nosed bats to help prevent future outbreaks. “Leaf-nosed bats carry coronaviruses, not the strain that is affecting humans at the moment, but it certainly is not the last time that a virus will be transmitted from a wild mammal to humans,” says Demos. “If we have a better understanding of what these bats are, we will be better prepared if that happens.”
The researchers also emphasize that we must ensure that humans do not harm bats in hopes of curbing the disease. “These bats have a place in nature and perform essential ecological functions, and we cannot allow our terror of Covid to disarm natural ecological systems,” says Patterson.
Researchers of the Smithsonian Global Health Program have discovered six new types of coronavirus in bats. Located in animals from BurmaThis is the first time that these viruses have been detected in the world. The finding was made while the PREDICT project of video surveillance of animals and people was underway, to better understand the circumstances of the spread of diseases. Financed by the US Agency. USA for International Development (USAID), aims to test the potential of certain diseases such as COVID-19 to spread from animals to humans.
However, the authors note that these six new pathogens “are not closely linked with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS CoV-1), the respiratory syndrome of the Middle East (MERS) or the SARS-CoV-2». In other words, at the moment they only attack bats, although the researchers suggest that further analysis would be necessary to determine at what point could they become harmful to people. The findings, published in the journal « PLOS ONE»Will help to understand the diversity of coronaviruses in bats and join in global efforts« to detect, prevent and respond to infectious diseases that may threaten public health, particularly in light of the pandemic of COVID-19 in progress”.
“Viral pandemics remind us of how closely human health is connected to the health of wildlife and the environment,” he says. Marc Valitutto, a former wildlife veterinarian with the Smithsonian’s Global Health Program and lead author of the study. “Throughout the world, humans interact with nature more and more frequently, so the more we understand about these viruses in animals, allowing them to mutate and how is spread to other speciesthe better we can reduce its pandemic potential. ”
The team focused its research on sites in Burma where humans are most likely to come into close contact with local wildlife. Since May 2016 until august 2018 collected more than 750 saliva samples and bat feces in these areas. In fact, experts estimate that thousands of coronaviruses, many of which have yet to be discovered, are present in bats.
The authors say these findings underscore the importance of surveillance for zoonotic diseases as they occur in wildlife. The results will guide future surveillance of bat populations to better detect potential viral threats to public health.
“Many coronaviruses may not pose a risk to people, but when we identify these diseases from the beginning in animals, at the source, we have a valuable opportunity to investigate the potential threat,” explains Suzan Murray, director of the Global Health Program at Smithsonian and co-author of the study. “Close surveillance, research and education are the best tools we have to prevent pandemics before they occur.”
Have at least two million people worldwide been infected with a new virus after it spread from animal to human in a poorly controlled exotic animal market in Wuhan? The most common lecture about the emergence of the pandemic was already disastrous for the Chinese authorities from a PR point of view. The badly hit United States is now drawing attention to an even more damaging theory for Beijing: the suggestion that SARS-CoV-2 may have escaped from a biomedical laboratory in Wuhan.
Chances are that it is never completely clear how the virus reached humans. That fact leaves room for conspiracy theories, one of which is persistent about the lab in Wuhan. On Wednesday, US President Trump and his foreign minister Pompeo called on the Chinese to be “open” about this. The origins of this global outbreak have thus become the focus of a high-profile geopolitical propaganda battle.
The question of debt probably makes little difference to the further course of this pandemic, but it certainly does not matter to the image of China in the rest of the world. Gross negligence in a prestigious lab where dozens of other sars-like viruses are stored would cost China more reputational damage than poor hygiene in a market.
Apart from the black pete, it is important to know everything possible about the origin of the disease, in order to prevent that an animal-borne virus can again cause so many victims in the future.
Concerned diplomats, in 2018
There are no hard facts for the lab lecture. But after previously the Trump administration and its friendly media such as Fox News pointed to supposed indications, progressive media such as The Washington Post and The Atlantic the story as a serious possibility.
The Post holds official messages that American diplomats in China sent back to Washington in early 2018. They were alarmed after a visit to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which was partly funded with American money. In their memos, classified as “sensitive, but not confidential,” they express concerns about vulnerabilities in the security and management of the IPH. In 2015, this was the first lab in China to obtain the highest degree of safety BSL 4.
Also read: Trump sees campaign opportunities everywhere in the corona crisis
Among other things, research has been conducted into coronaviruses in bats for years. This is aimed at preventing another sars outbreak, like the world experienced in 2003. Important, but also dangerous research. And in 2015 asked a group of researchers located in scientific journal Nature already wondering if too many risks were taken in Wuhan.
In the first diplomatic memo, dated January 2018, the Americans explicitly expressed concerns about this bat investigation. During their visit to the IPH, they saw “a serious shortage of well-trained technicians and researchers to safely manage this very closed lab”. A virus, they warn, could spread to humans and lead to a new sars-like pandemic. They therefore advocated more American support for the lab.
About a second visit by the American diplomats, on March 27, 2018, the IPH published a news item on its website, which has recently been removed. In the message, which is still to be found, states that Rick Switzer, technology and health adviser at the United States Embassy in Beijing, had an “in-depth discussion” with institute staff to “understand the demands of both sides.” According to the Post, there has been no additional American aid after the official reports.
On the Chinese side, too, a wild theory has circulated about the origins of the pandemic for a while. In mid-March, Zhao Lijian, a very outspoken spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, suggested that US military personnel have taken the virus to Wuhan. “The US owes us an explanation!”, tweeted he. The rumor went down when Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to Washington, put the theory into one interview Called “madness.” It is unclear to what extent the two officials in these contradictory statements have been driven by the party leaders.
On Thursday, Zhao said that the World Health Organization (WHO) has “repeatedly stated that there is no evidence that the new virus was created in a laboratory.” That statement will be of little value to President Trump: he suspended US funding from WHO on Tuesday because he thinks China has the organization in his pocket. He holds both WHO and China responsible for the magnitude of the pandemic.
Connection with the animal market
Also read: Is WHO really holding its hand over its head?
So far, the first manifestation of Covid-19 in humans is known to have many patients who visited the Huanan animal market in Wuhan. According to Chinese research published in The Lancet two thirds of the 41 first hospital patients had a connection with the market. But that idea is not entirely satisfactory, because the first known patient, who already reported to a hospital on December 1, has not been on the market.
However, there is no indication that the virus was created in the lab, let alone released on purpose for biological warfare. US intelligence agencies still believe the outbreak is likely to have a natural origin, US general Mark Milley, chairman of the unified chiefs of staff, said Tuesday.
But that the virus does not come from the WIV lab is therefore not excluded. And the leader of the conscious bat research was also initially awake, she told the magazine in mid-March Scientific American. This Shi Zhengli, nicknamed “Bat Woman”, was afraid that the virus had escaped from her lab. After genetic research comparing the now prevailing SARS-Cov-2 with samples in her own lab, she was able to say, she was relieved, that this was not the case.
In November of last year, when COVID-19 disease had not yet been detected in China, some researchers published an article it seemed more like a diversion proper to scientists locked in its ivory tower than an investigation that was of practical application.
A few months later, that basic research has been key to understanding the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 and, with it, its origin. This is essential for applied research in your career to find a drug or vaccine that defends us against the pandemic.
The article presented the results of an investigation into coronavirus infections suffered by malaysian pangolins. From the first sentence, the authors announced the reason that had prompted their research: «Pangolins are animals in Danger of extinction who need urgent protection. Identifying and cataloging viruses is a logical approach to understand their potential pathogens and help preserve them. “
Conservation. Nothing to do with the possible practical application to human pathogenic virology.
The Malay Pangolin (Manis javanica) is one of the eight existing species of pangolin. Four of them are Asian and four others are African. Due to the great demand for their meat as food and their keratin scales (like our nails) destined for use in traditional oriental medicines, they are the most hunted and trafficked wild mammals in the world.
The poor health status and low immunity that affects captive populations are a significant potential risk to human healthBecause infected animals could constitute a viral reservoir capable of infecting humans, as several metagenomic studies on pathogenic viruses transmitted by bats, cats, cows, birds, horses and wild pigs have already shown. However, very little is known about the diseases of threatened animals such as pangolins.
The results of that research, which seemed a scientific banality at the end of 2019, quickly went to the attic of oblivion where millions of publications of basic investigation that seem useless. But in this case, it took little time to go down from the attic to the main hall of the biosanitary research.
Proven and reliable information is more necessary than ever. As the new coronavirus causing COVID-19 spreads throughout the world, hoaxes, falsehoods and the most absurd hypotheses they spread almost as fast as the virus itself.
Although anti-vaccines, terraplanists, glued geostrategists, and other tribes in favor of apocalyptic conspiracies may not like it, there are more than enough scientific arguments to prove that SARS-CoV-2 is a viral zoonosis originated from bats and then transmitted through other mammals to humans. I myself, who am nowhere near an expert, i took care more than two months ago of that origin.
More than 70% of emerging infections of the last forty years have been zoonosis, that is, infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites what are transmitted from animals to humans. They can do so through direct physical contact, through air or water, or through an intermediate host. Often these zoonotic pathogens do not affect the animals in which they reside, but they can pose a tremendous risk to humans who do not have natural immunity to them.
The demonstration of the natural origin of SARS-CoV-2 was an investigation published on March 17 in Nature Medicine, the conclusion of which cannot be more emphatic: “Our analyzes clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory design or a purpose-built virus,” the researchers write.
SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-1), which spread around the world almost 20 years ago, and was controlled after causing 8,000 deaths in China. Scientists have concluded that SARS-CoV-1 differs from SARS-CoV-2 only by several key letter changes in the genetic code for both.
The overall molecular structure of SARS-CoV-2 is more like viruses found in bats and pangolins that had been poorly studied and were not known to cause harm to humans. If some diabolical doctor had wanted to design a new pathogenic coronavirus, they would have designed it from a virus known to cause disease.
Where did the virus come from? We can pose a double hypothesis. The first follows in the wake of the origin of some other recent coronaviruses that have wreaked havoc on human populations. We know that in some cases humans we get the virus directly from an animal: civets in the case of SARS-CoV-1 and camels in the case of respiratory syndrome in the Middle East (MERS).
In the case of SARS-CoV-2, research indicates that the animal was a bat that transmitted the virus to another intermediate animal, surely a pangolin according to the coronavirus genome found in these animals, which transmitted it to humans. According to that hypothesis, the genetic characteristics that make the new coronavirus so pathogenic to infect human cells resided in those animals before jumping into humans.
In the alternative hypothesis, those characteristics pathogens would have mutated after the virus passed directly or indirectly from a pangolin to humans. Then, inside the new host, the virus could have evolved to easily penetrate human cells. Once that ability was developed, the pathogen would be even more capable of spreading between people.
If the virus entered human cells pathogenically, that increases the probability of future outbreaks. He virus could still be circulating in the animal population and it could jump back into humans, perfectly prepared to cause an outbreak. On the contrary, the possibilities of such future outbreaks are less if the virus must first enter humans so that its pathogenic properties can later evolve.
A dilemma still to be solved, but that poses three urgent measures so that an infection of this nature does not recur: keep track of coronaviruses that infect mammalian species; ban wildlife trafficking, and reduce the human exposure to wildlife closing the markets where live wild animals are sold, a ban already adopted by China.
Manuel Peinado Lorca is a University Professor. Department of Life Sciences and Researcher at the Franklin Institute for North American Studies, University of Alcalá
Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2: Some animals are susceptible, others are not
After the novel corona virus first appeared in the city of Wuhan in China at the end of last year, speculation began as to where the pathogen came from and how dangerous it can become. It is known that the virus can be transmitted from person to person. Now there is new knowledge about which animals are susceptible to it – and which are not.
Even if some conspiracy theories claim otherwise: the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was not created in the laboratorybut, according to scientific studies, is the product of natural evolution. It could be from Bats through an intermediate host (possibly Pangoline) have been transferred to humans. Other animals are also susceptible to the virus.
Virus is thought to originate from bats
Like the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) in a current Message writes, SARS-CoV-2 appeared in China about three months ago, a new zoonotic coronavirus originally believed to come from bats in humans, which led to a pandemic.
Various research institutes worldwide are currently investigating whether the new corona virus will also be able to infect other animal species. The FLI started a few weeks ago with infection studies in pigs, chickens, fruit bats and ferrets.
Initial results now show that fruit bats and ferrets are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, but pigs and chickens are not.
In particular, the susceptibility of ferrets is an important finding because, according to the experts, they could be used as model animals for infecting humans to test vaccines or medicines.
Infection route in humans via the nasopharynx
According to the information, the animals were given SARS-CoV-2 in the nose in the infection studies to mimic the natural route of infection in humans via the nasopharynx.
As explained in the release, Nile fruit bats, which are bats, have been tested to gain knowledge of the suspected reservoir function of bats. Although these animals could be infected, they did not show any symptoms of the disease and were not effective in infecting their peers.
According to the FLI, ferrets are a good model for humans with other respiratory infections, especially from influenza viruses. Because the new corona virus multiplies primarily in the respiratory tract, ferrets could also serve as a model for this infection.
There is currently an urgent search for such an animal model worldwide, which reflects the infection of humans. The FLI’s experiments now show that ferrets can be infected efficiently with SARS-CoV-2, multiply the virus well and transmit it to other members of the species.
These animals multiplied the virus mainly in the upper areas of the respiratory tract, but showed no symptoms of disease. This means that an infection model is available that could help with the testing of vaccines and drugs against SARS-CoV-2.
No potential risk for humans from farm animals
As further explained in the communication, the FLI is dedicated to the health of food-producing animals as the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health. Central tasks are the prevention, diagnosis and control of animal diseases, the improvement of animal husbandry and nutrition as well as the research of livestock genetics.
Because farm animals are particularly in contact with humans, pigs and chickens were tested for susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. It was examined whether these animals are infected, multiply the pathogen and show symptoms of the disease.
The researchers also tested whether they could eliminate the pathogen and thus pose a potential risk to humans. Under the test conditions, neither pigs nor chickens were found to be susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2.
According to the FLI, according to the current state of knowledge, they are not affected by the virus and therefore pose no potential risk for humans. However, the complete evaluation of all test series will take some time, with the final results expected in early May. (ad)
Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI): New SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus: fruit bats and ferrets are susceptible, pigs and chickens are not (access: 04.04.2020), Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI)
Important NOTE: This article contains general information only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.
There is a lot of talk about bats right now. One of them would have contributed to the mutation of the virus which, by killing some, may allow others, perhaps not, to increase the hours of reading. Roshan, an academic from Calcutta, finds one when he arrives at his office, which surprises him: “It was not uncommon to see thousands of them in the city, at nightfall, hanging on the trees, along the avenues and along the Hooghly river. And even more in the Bengali countryside, in the barns, the temples. But in a university office, it was less trivial. The building was closed and air conditioned. How did this beast get there? Did she take cover because of the rain? ” Roshan knows, in any case, “That a single bat bite or scratch, or a simple contact with a food contaminated by it, could transmit nipah, a very disabling hemorrhagic fever, sometimes fatal”. Above all, do not touch it. As she reads a study, “The blind mammal began to beat a portion of the wall with its wing. Her very active radar had to emit ultrasonic waves in Roshan’s direction sufficiently precise to inform her of the distance at which she was exactly, also telling him what micro-movements the reading caused in a body. ” This is the art of Célia Houdart: it emits sufficiently precise waves, from one end to the other of a place and of the Earth, to feel and restore atmospheres, micro-movements, correspondences, on the surface of consciousness and skin. It’s a bat. His descriptions, his perceptions, animate the story and make it fly.
The Scribe takes place alternately in Paris and Calcutta. Roshan and Manoj’s son Chandra is a young mathematician. He moved to Paris, where he was recruited by the Henri-Poincaré Institute. This institute was directed by Cédric Villani. In the novel, it is directed by a woman named Françoise Stern. The young Indian’s maid’s room is in an old and splendid building on Saint Louis Island. Its owners, the Kowalski, are eccentric Poles who, beneath their austere exterior, turn out to be friendly and open. Aunt of Mme Kowalski comes from a family who alerted the West during the war to the plight of Jewish children in Siberia. A Maharajah saved them, and they made the journey from nothing to Bombay. The characters in the book are noble souls. Their access to the world is meticulous, conscientious, full of fantasy and without meanness. Chandra’s new companions are an American from Milwaukee, a Russian who listens to rock, both mathematicians, and the one who will become her friend, Margot. They will make love in the smell of samosas that he has prepared for a long time in his attic; but the deed is not written. Célia Houdart spares situations which could weigh them down: she stops at the door, before the gestures or the words that would spin her tapestry; that would make her claw and bleed what she perceives, touches. Everything is description, suggestion, speed. A prose in ultrasound.
The scribe is Chandra. Margot called him that the day he arrived home and found him sitting cross-legged among his papers. Consequence: he went to see the one in the Louvre. At dusk, Chandra “Observed the scribe once again with his round nipples like buttons. Her hair short. His fingers with tapered knuckles. Chandra tried to imagine his standing height and the weight of his head. Limestone body in a glass cage. At that moment a ray of sunshine was seen. The large dial and the caryatids of the Clock Pavilion were reflected in the window like a prism. Visitors in trekking attire stopped in front of this Egyptian, simply dressed in a piece of cloth rolled up at the waist. Night was falling, darkening caryatids and cobblestones outside. ” There are twenty descriptions like that, in Paris, India, and like Vermeer in the air. In Paris, most places are tourist, clichés, but these are the ones that Chandra discovers, the ones by which he enters his new life. He sees the monuments, the beauty of the quays, but also an environmental activist hit by a LBD shot and, in front of Notre-Dame that he has just visited, young Gypsies mistreated by the police.
In India, the descriptions fix the colors, the smells, the sensations, the threats, nature, pollution, everything that makes life so close to death, without ever taking precedence over the other. At night, Chandra calls her family by Skype. He mainly talks with his grandmother, who gets up before dawn to take care of fruits and flowers, and whom he sees growing live. Her father, Manoj, an engineer, runs a water treatment plant. His wife had discovered a bat in his office. He, one day arriving at the factory, sees a little monkey appear: “The animal – a young macaque – thought there might be something to nibble on or steal, or both. He climbed on the scraper bridge which was above the first tank. Its tail hung down, then curled, nervous, as if mounted on a spring. When the monkey soaks it in water, inadvertently or deliberately, it rises immediately, shivering. “ Manoj remembers another little monkey who, in Nepal, entered the room of the inn where he and his wife were. Very quickly, the animal had ransacked their belongings, opened the boxes of medicine and swallowed everything, before fleeing. Monkeys are like writers, if you let them in they search everywhere, take everything away, eat everything, and they can die.
A few days later, the little macaque from the factory was found dead in the tank, poisoned with arsenic. Who soiled the water? Who then sought to blow up the tank in this polluted place where water is essential? How will Chandra help her father fix it all, using mathematical models? You will see, but one thing is certain: the burial of the little monkey reminds that of the child bitten by a snake in the River, by Jean Renoir: “Manoj bought roses and three carnation necklaces from a street vendor. As during the Bengali festival of Durga Puja, where after several hours of procession in all the districts of the city, in the middle of the songs, sprinkles of water and firecrackers, one threw the effigies of the goddess in the river, Manoj and Anij Chatterjee, helped by the driver, transported the macaque lying on its bed of dead wood on the wide muddy steps. Manoj set it on fire, before gently pushing it into the water. ”
Serge Morand is a health ecologist, research director at CNRS and CIRAD and teaches at the Faculty of Tropical Medicine in Bangkok, Thailand. For him, it is urgent to preserve genetic diversity in nature and agriculture to avoid the multiplication of pandemics.
Several species of wild animals have been accused of having transmitted Covid-19 to humans (pangolin, bat, etc.). What about it?
Covid-19 is 98% certain to originate from a coronavirus of bat. But it is unlikely to have passed directly from the bat to the human, because it takes a small change in the structure of the virus’s genome to allow it to enter human cells. For this, other animals often serve as gateways to “humanize” viruses and other pathogens hosted in wild animals. This is called “the effect
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A video made by several members of the Mexican community living in Italy, narrates what the hours of confinement are like, and how the coronavirus took them distracted.
They call Mexicans to become aware of the pandemic and they urge you to stay home.
One of these Mexicans, moreover, crosses the city on a bicycle helping anyone who needs to make a purchase, for example, of medicines, and he lends himself to helping them.
In the most recent report, Italy added a further 627 deaths from coronavirus in the last 24 hours, a record figure since the first case was confirmed, bringing the death toll to above 4,000.
In addition, another 4,670 new cases have been recorded throughout the country, making the total count more than 45,700 infections.
In Lombardy, the region hardest hit by the pandemic, the total number of cases now rises to 22,264, after adding up to 2,380 in the last day, while the death toll rises to 2,549, after another 381 deaths have been recorded.
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