By Daniel Wood – KLTV Contributor
Scientists from the University of Huddersfield have played a key part in the discovery of why Covid-19 was able to spread at such a fast and severe rate.
In collaboration with the Portuguese University of Minho, their findings have pointed the finger at the region most responsible for the dramatic spread of the virus.
The virus has reached over 200 countries, causing a global pandemic with around 22 million infections and more than one million deaths. The kind of scale of which has not been seen in the last 100 years.
The university’s Archaeogenetic Research Group has now mapped out the dispersal of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
It was found that Europe was the main source of the spread, not China.
Research findings do confirm that the virus originated in China and most likely jumped into humans from horseshoe bats, but it was in Europe where the virus began to spread around the world.
Travel restrictions across Britain and Europe seem to have been too little and too late, according to the research.
They found that the actual spread of the virus to America and other parts of the world was mainly via Europe and not directly from China.
People returning home or Europeans continuing to travel to East Asia during March and April impacted the spread of the virus too.
The study focused on 27,000 virus genomes, sampled from all around the world. The researchers usually work on tracking ancient human migrations using mitochondrial DNA, and they capitalised on the fact that the virus genome is similar in crucial respects.
Nonetheless, the huge size of the database makes this one of the biggest analysis of its kind ever undertaken.
Professor Martin Richards and Dr Maria Pala of the University of Huddersfield called upon the knowledge of their colleagues in the UK to help make sense of the data and publish their conclusions as quickly as possible.
Prof. Richards stressed that researchers are trying to make their work available to the public as fast as possible, as they continue to understand the spread of the virus.
Dr Pala has a strong belief that a greater understanding of the virus will better inform and improve upon policies designed to control the spread.
She stressed that the need for scientific research is now more crucial than ever.