Conspiracy of The Escaped Wuhan Virus Unresolved – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious disease, on Friday, rejected a conspiracy theory that the novel coronavirus was created in and escaped a Chinese lab.
At the daily White House press briefing, a reporter asked: “Mr. President, I wanted to ask Dr. Fauci: Could you address these suggestions or concerns that this virus was somehow manmade, possibly came out of a laboratory in China?”
“There was a study recently that we can make available to you, where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolve. And the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human,” Fauci replied.
He underscored in his remarks that studies of the virus’ genome have strongly indicated that it was transmitted from an animal to a human rather than created or enhanced in a laboratory setting, as a review in a scientific journal found.
“We do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible,” an analysis published in Nature Medicine in mid-March said. The study, led by computational biologist Kristian Andersen of the Scripps Research Institute in California, compared COVID-19 to the six other coronaviruses known to infect humans.
The analysis explicitly states that the evidence shows SARS-CoV-2 “is not a purposefully manipulated virus.”
The US intelligence community has also been investigating whether the virus was collected by researchers and then accidentally leaked from a Chinese lab but has found no evidence to date backing it up, according to Politico, which cited multiple sources familiar with the matter.
US officials reportedly raised issues about a Wuhan-based lab’s security procedures in 2018, according to the Washington Post.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also said that the origins of the virus appear to be linked to “a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread.”
But the president and his allies in the right-wing media continue promoting the theory that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab.
“More and more, we’re hearing the story, and we’ll see,” Trump said on Wednesday.
Scientists and authorities have not come to a firm conclusion about where the animal-to-human transmission first occurred and what role the wet market may have played.
On Friday, when asked “how active” the investigation was into whether the virus escaped a lab in Wuhan, China, Trump said: “We are looking at it. A lot of people are looking at it. It seems to make sense.”
“A lot of strange things are happening, but there is a lot of investigation going on and we’re going to find out,” Trump added.