The corona virus responsible for the current pandemic jumped from wild animals to humans. Learning about its origins is crucial to the prevention of another catastrophic pandemic in the future. Where does the previously unknown virus come from, and exactly how and where was it transmitted to humans? Two perpetrators have been under suspicion for weeks: a small bat species and the pangolin. The crime scene for the first infection is thought to be a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan …

The Origin Story of the Coronavirus

22 min. | Reportage


The story isn’t that simple: even respected scientists argue about the emergence of this pandemic, which probably originated in the wild and is still holding the world in suspense. The WHO estimates that around 60 percent of all viruses that can infect humans come from animals. 75 percent of all new infectious diseases in the past ten years have been transmitted by animals. Veterinarian Christian Walzer, Executive Director of Wildlife Health of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York City, is currently at the forefront of research and reporting. The cultural anthropologist Clemens Grünbühel has been living and researching in Southeast Asia for 20 years. As an employee of the Stockholm Environment Institute in Bangkok, he deals with the relationship between humans and nature, with wildlife markets and the wildlife trade as a basis for securing livelihoods. The chemist and successful entrepreneur Zhou Jinfeng is the General Secretary of the NGO "China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation", which is China’s official arm for nature conservation, environmental protection and for a commitment to sustainable development. Chris Walzer: “We have to do something to keep a few steps ahead of the next animal-to-human virus outbreak. The aim is to support politics at an international level to close the Asian markets, which offer live or freshly killed wild animals, and to stop the trade in wild animals for these purposes – and to monitor all of this worldwide.

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