The sudden outbreak of a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV、新型コロナウイルス) causing a large cluster of pneumonia cases first in the Hubei(湖北省) province of China and shortly afterwards over a wider area, in our view, point tantalisingly to a space connection. The connection could have taken the form of a highly localised cosmic ray-induced mutation(突然変異) event on an already circulating virus in Hubei, or, more likely, in our view, to a new infective agent(病原体) external to Earth settling through the atmosphere in a clumpy way and possibly hybridising(異なる品種や種類の親を使用して、動物や植物を品種改良すること) or recombining with a pre-existing strain of coronavirus(既存のコロナウイルス株). A link to snakes in a Wuhan(武漢) market has been suggested but such a causal connection still remains tentative(暫定の). If a link with such animals is indeed to be justified we need to understand why it manifested(現れた) so suddenly, unless the animals (snakes) recently became the recipients(受給者) of a new or mutated virus. An alternative view is that the new viral outbreak followed the pattern of other similar recent outbreaks – SARS, MERS, Candida auris(カンジダ アリウス、真菌の一種) – strongly pointing to a space connection1,2,3 . As of the end of January 2020 well over 500 cases of nCoV were confirmed and these are now distributed over a considerable area of the Chinese mainland. (See Figure 1).
Figure 1: Distribution of Cases
For a cloud of micron-sized particles(粒子) introduced to the Earth from space its deposition(堆積物) at ground level is expected to be patchy(つぎはぎの) in regard to both time and place. It can be calculated that a cloud of 1 micrometre radius clumps(半径マイクロメートルの塊、1マイクロメートルは1/1000000メートル) of bacteria/viruses incident from space reaching the equatorial tropopause(赤道付近の対流圏界面。対流圏界面は地球の大気圏内にある対流圏と成層圏の境界領 。~ 20km) settles gravitationally(重力によって) over a timescale of 1-2 years4,5
Numerical modelling(数値のモデル化) shows that the preferred first landfall for particles in such a cloud of dust tends to be located somewhere in the Chinese mainland because the Himalayan Mountain range essentially punctures(穴を開ける) a hole through the troposphere(対流圏). In such a picture there will inevitably be a particular location (dark brown in Fig.1) of first descent(降下) followed by randomly(無作為に) distributed depositions thereafter. The most likely mode of descent will be for the infective(感染性の) particles in the troposphere to become nucleating(核生成) agents in rainclouds, and in this case a correlation(相関) with precipitation(降水量) and ground-level mist will be achieved5. It is interesting to note that this type of correlation is generally borne out(裏付けられた) in the average rainfall map for China shown in Figure 2 which is mainly concentrated in the winter months –December and January.
Figure 2: Annual precipation in China which is mainly concentrated in December and January (courtesy: ChinaMaps.org)
Many recent pandemics of viral disease, including influenza and SARS, are known to have followed a similar pattern of behaviour and a number have indeed first appeared in China5.
Following the initial deposition in a small localised region (eg Wuhan, Hubei province, China) particles that have already become dispersed(分散した) through the troposphere will fall to ground in a higgledy-piggledy(ひどく乱雑な) manner, and this process could be extended over a typical timescale of 1-2 years until an initial inoculant(種菌) of the infective agent would be drained(水がはけた). This accords well with many new strains of viruses including influenza that have appeared in recent years5. In the context of the new coronavirus subsequent(その後の) cases outside China that have appeared so far appear to be confined(閉じ込められた) to persons travelling from the infected provinces of China. There appears to be little or no evidence of person-to-person transmission except in instances of close contact.
We conclude by noting that we expect the pattern of further global spread of the new coronavirus (nCoV) to follow a similar trend until a high level of person-to-person infectivity
might possibly be achieved and the virus then acquires the status of an endemic virus. It is
prudent(賢明である) that Public Health Authorities the world maintain their state of high alert until more is discovered.
1.Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology, University of Buckingham, UK
2.Centre for Astrobiology,University of Ruhuna, Matara, Sri Lanka
3.National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka
4.Institute for the Study of Panspermia and Astroeconomics, Gifu, Japan
5.Department of Infectious Disease Control, Tianjin Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, China7.The
6.History of Chinese Science and Culture Foundation Conway Hall, London, UK
7.C. Y. O’Connor, ERADE Village, Foundation, Piara Waters, Perth 6112 WA, Australia
1 Wickramasinghe, C., et al., 2003. Lancet, 361, 1832
2 Qu, J., 2016. Rev.Med.Virol., 216, 309
3 Wickramasinghe, C., et al, 2019. Current Science, 117(10), 25
4 Kasten, F., 1968. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 7, 944
5 Hoyle, F. and Wickramasinghe, N.C., 1978. Diseases from Space, (Chapman & Hall, Lond)