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There is truly no end to the variety of creatures that inhabit our world. Some are so strange they defy logic. One, however, the pangolin–an endangerd, armored mammal native to various parts of Asia–may hold the key to ending our battle with coronavirus.

Apparently there is new research that is stating COVID-19, may be a recombination of bat and pangolin coronaviruses.

Thus, the creature may be able to tell us how the virus was transmitted, but may even hold a clue to eliminating it altogether.

via Hindustan Times

pangolin coronavirus

Pangolin

A new study has suggested that the Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, might have originated from a recombination of coronaviruses in a bat and pangolin. The findings strengthen the theory that pangolins could be the intermediate host for transmission of Sars-CoV-2 to humans.

The paper, published in the journal Nature by researchers from College of Veterinary Medicine, South China Agricultural University, also flags that pangolins, being the most trafficked mammal in the world, could be a future threat to public health if wildlife trade is not controlled because they harbour Sars-CoV-2-like viruses.

A coronavirus isolated from Malayan pangolins by a team of Chinese scientists showed 100%, 98.6%, 97.8% and 90.7% amino acid identity with Sars-CoV-2 in 4 genes.

The Malayan pangolin coronavirus was found to be particularly identical to Sars-CoV-2 in its receptor binding domain of the spike protein (which SARS-CoV-2 uses to bind to its host’s cells).

Genome sequencing found that the pangolin-CoV was very similar to both SARS-CoV-2 and Bat Sars-CoV RaTG13 (from which SARS-CoV-2 is suspected to have originated) but the only difference was the spike or S gene.

Further analysis of S gene sequences has suggested recombination events on May 8.

For this study, the team used lung tissues from four Chinese pangolins and 25 Malayan pangolins in a wildlife rescue center during March-August 2019. RNA from 17 of the 25 Malayan pangolins were found to be positive for Sars-CoV-2 like viruses and they gradually showed signs of respiratory disease, including shortness of breath, emaciation, inactivity, and crying.

Out of 17, 14 pangolins later died.

Generally, a natural reservoir host does not show severe disease, while an intermediate host may have clinical signs of infection, the authors said.

Pangolins and bats are both nocturnal animals, eat insects, and share overlapping ecological niches which make pangolins the ideal intermediate host for some Sars-related coronaviruses.

The paper recommended more systematic and long-term monitoring of coronaviruses in pangolins and a complete ban on illegal pangolin trade, international cooperation and strict regulation against consumption of game meat and wildlife trade.

“Of particular interest here is that the entire genome of the pangolin coronavirus is not similar to the Sars-CoV-2 but they’re almost identical in the receptor-binding area (which the virus uses to bind to its host’s cells). Interestingly, the genome of Sars-CoV-2 is 96% similar to the bat coronavirus RaTG13 (found in the intermediate horseshoe bat) but differs in the receptor-binding site (which means that the RaTG13 cannot directly infect human lungs because its receptor cannot bind to human lung cells). Put these two pieces of information together and you arrive at the hypothesis that has the most amount of support so far,” said Rohit Chakravarty, wildlife biologist and PhD student at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, Germany who read the paper.

“Which is, a bat coronavirus jumped from a bat to a Malayan pangolin (either in the wild or in captivity), the virus recombined in the pangolin and incorporated the pangolin coronavirus’s receptor-binding region, and then it evolved into Sars-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19 in humans,” he added.

Pangolins are trafficked because it is believed that their scales and blood have medicinal properties, and their flesh is considered a delicacy in some parts of southeast Asia.

“As many reports have shown, pangolins are now the most trafficked wild animal species in the world. As with all wildlife trade, the answer to how it can be controlled is quite complicated, because the flow chain goes through several layers of society. Ultimately, we are all culpable because the scale of operations is directly correlated to wealth in consumer countries. It is very easy to say that the eating habits of the Chinese are responsible for all the current problems we face. However, it is much harder for us to acknowledge, that actually the consumerist lifestyles of all developed and developing economies is actually the engine that’s driving this thriving trade,” said Abi Tamim Vanak, Fellow, Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance Program and senior fellow at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment.

As aforementioned pangolins are consumed in various parts of Asia, but so are bats. We hope whatever research is being done concerning these animals’ ties to COVID-19 can assist in eliminating it from the world. On a less serious note, pangolins look a lot like the Pokemon, Sandshrew and Sandslash!

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Two Ugandan Officials Face Arrest for Charges on Torturing Homeless LGBT Youth

Hate and homophobia have no borders, especially in the African country of Uganda, in constant violation of the human rights of LGBT people. Now, two Ugandan officials face arrest and charges for torturing homeless LGBT youth.

The two officials, who have repeatedly ignored court summons, have now been issued arrest warrants for over 76 acts of torture.

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ugandan officials charged with torturing lgbt youth

Hate and homophobia have no borders, especially in the African country of Uganda, in constant violation of the human rights of LGBT people. Now, two Ugandan officials face arrest and charges for torturing homeless LGBT youth.

The two officials, who have repeatedly ignored court summons, have now been issued arrest warrants for over 76 acts of torture.

via The G-Listed

ugandan officials charged with torturing lgbt youth

The arrest warrants came in the case of 20 LGBT Ugandans who spent 50 days on remand in a Ugandan prison on charges of violating Covid-19 orders by living in a homeless shelter run by the Children of the Sun Foundation (COSF). After their release, they accused Ugandan officials of mistreating them during the March 29 raid on the COSF shelter and during their incarceration.

The warrants were issued against Haji Abdul Kiyimba, the LCIII chairperson of Kyengera Town Council,  and Philemon Woniala, the deputy officer in charge of Kitalya Mini-Maxi Prison, for repeatedly failing to appear in court to answer charges of torturing LGBT youths.

The warrants were approved 14th October during a court session presided over by the Chief Magistrate of the central District of Wakiso, which is just outside the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

Kiyimba and Woniala had been summoned to attend court on 26th August and again on 14th October, according to a statement issued by Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF). They face charges of violating Sections 2 and 4 of the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act.

“The two accused persons, however, chose to ignore the Court Summons and never appeared personally in Court to answer to the charges, which conduct amounts to contempt of Court,” stated Patricia Kimera, HRAPF’s Programmes Director for Access to Justice.

We are praying that justice is served for these heinous acts and are asking the global community to do their parts to ensure their conviction. #AllBlackLivesMatter EVERYWHERE!

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Current Events

Freedom, GA! 19 Black Families Purchase 97 Acres Of Georgia Land for Safe Community

They have often said that owning land is having power. That still rings true in 2020, as nineteen Black families have combined their resources to purchase nearly 97 acres of land in Georgia.

The families have named the land, Freedom, Georgia, in hopes of creating a safe haven and community.

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freedom georgia

They have often said that owning land is having power. That still rings true in 2020, as nineteen Black families have combined their resources to purchase nearly 97 acres of land in Georgia.

The families have named the land, Freedom, Georgia, in hopes of creating a safe haven and community.

via TMZ

Renee Walters and Ashley Scott Freedom, GA

Renee Walters and Ashley Scott of Freedom, GA

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Current Events

[VIDEOS] TRAGIC! Atlanta’s “Unofficial” Black Gay Pride Rife w/ Fights & Their Viral Videos!

Atlanta’s Black Gay Pride was one of summer’s hottest spots, marking the end of summer and the beginning of fall festivities. However, due to COVID-19, the official Black Gay Pride was officially canceled. However, that did not stop the city’s nightlife as independent club promoters and planners took up the slack with a string of events throughout the city in gay friendly bars, lounges, clubs, and some restaurants.

Unfortunately, this “unofficial” Atlanta Black Gay Pride was rife with violence with multiple fights throughout the weekend at popular Black Gay spots like the Marquette Lounge, Bulldogs Bar, Piedmont Park, and Believe Bar & Lounge!

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atlanta black gay pride fights 2020

Atlanta’s Black Gay Pride was one of summer’s hottest spots, marking the end of summer and the beginning of fall festivities. However, due to COVID-19, the official Black Gay Pride was officially canceled. However, that did not stop the city’s nightlife as independent club promoters and planners took up the slack with a string of events throughout the city in gay friendly bars, lounges, clubs, and some restaurants.

Unfortunately, this “unofficial” Atlanta Black Gay Pride was rife with violence with multiple fights throughout the weekend at popular Black Gay spots like the Marquette Lounge, Bulldogs Bar, Piedmont Park, and Believe Bar & Lounge!

atlanta black gay pride fights 2020

Many of these fights were recorded by spectators and involved dozens of young and primarily Black Gay Men, who in turn posted the videos of social media. The reaction to these aforementioned videos has been largely an outcry denouncing the entire piecemailed event and feeling that there was no “pride” to be held in the gathering. Some have even called for there to a formal council to oversee future official and ORGANIZED Black Gay Prides in Atlanta.

Check out a few of these fights below:

We really hate to see there was so much violence this weekend. Black and gay people are among the most oppressed people on the planet, and to see them fight so much is just disheartening. More than ever before the Black LGBT community should be banding together.

Personally, we feel it was highly irresponsible for them to have an event of any kind during this pandemic. Lives are in danger. We remember years ago Freaknik went to similarly awry and was eventually and permanently done away with. Guys, let’s do better!

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