Source of the COVID-19 Pandemic is “Highly Unlikely a Lab Accident”

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Conspiracy theories claimed SARS-CoV-2, the main source of COVID-19, came from Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), based in Wuhan where the disease was first identified.  Researchers at the WIV carried out the study of infectious diseases, including coronaviruses, before the pandemic even started.

Trump’s deputy national security adviser asked intelligence agencies in January to look into the idea of a Wuhan lab leak. But CIA officers didn’t find any evidence, the New York Times reported.

According to Jonna Mazet, an epidemiologist, she worked with trained Wuhan virology lab (WIV) researchers in the past.  Mazet told Business Insider, “I know that we worked together to develop a very stringent safety protocol, and it’s highly unlikely this was a lab accident.”

Here are four reasons why:

  • The lab’s samples don’t match the new coronavirus.
  • The lab implements rigorous safety protocols
  • The coronavirus is the latest in a long line of zoonotic disease outbreaks
  • Every day people are more likely to get infected than researchers who wear protection

Mazet spoke with Shi Zhengli, one of the lead researchers in the lab recently, and confirmed with business Insider that Shi is positive that she had never identified this virus before the outbreak.

Shi said that she checked the records collected from the bats over the years as soon as the genome sequence of COVID-19 virus went out, and found they didn’t match.

For the safety concerns raised by those Conspiracy theorists, Mazet stressed WIV’s lab is above reproach. Mazet said, “In the field, they wear extreme personal protective equipment, including multiple layers of gloves, eye protection, full bodysuits, and masks.”  

And lastly, Conspiracy theories are common during epidemics. Russian scientists claimed the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003 originated in a lab. HIV/AIDS in the late 1970s, some political groups also claimed the virus had been “spliced” together by government scientists.

As new coronavirus identified in Wuhan, conspiracy theories suggested the virus originated there.

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