A US Study Claims Covid-19 Was Spread by Accident in Chinese Lab, But Others Disagree
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill and left millions dead. Despite the best efforts of scientists, there is still much we don’t know about the virus, including how it originated. While American agencies attribute it to a natural contagion and the World Health Organization (WHO) claims it came from an animal source in Wuhan, a recent study by the United States Department of Energy suggests that the virus was spread by an accident in a Chinese laboratory.
According to the study, Sars-CoV-2, the virus that caused the pandemic, is likely to have originated in a lab in Wuhan. The researchers believe that the virus was accidentally released from the laboratory, either through a breach in the safety protocols or through an infected worker.
However, other reports from the same department contradict this conclusion and give it “low confidence”. These reports suggest that the virus is of natural origin and was transmitted to humans through an intermediate host.
The FBI, on the other hand, maintains its position that the pandemic was the result of a lab leak with “moderate confidence”. In a statement released in August 2021, the FBI said that “the virus could have been accidentally released from a laboratory with a good or poor safety culture, either in China or elsewhere.”
The WHO team that travelled to Wuhan to investigate the origins of the virus concluded that it was of animal origin and there was “no evidence” of transmission before its detection in December 2019. The team visited the Huanan market, where the first known case occurred, as well as the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Despite the differing views, WHO’s food safety and animal disease specialist and Wuhan Research Team President, Peter Ben Embarek, believes that the virus could have come from a direct jump from an animal to humans, a bat to animal species to humans, or from frozen products. The WHO is ruling out further research into the lab theory, as they believe it is “extremely unlikely” to explain the introduction of the virus in the human population.
The controversy surrounding the origin of the virus has been further fueled by geopolitical tensions between the US and China. Former US President Donald Trump was among those who suggested that the virus came from a Chinese lab, and there are concerns that these accusations are part of a broader effort to blame China for the pandemic.
As the search for the origins of the virus continues, it is clear that there is still much we don’t know. The debate surrounding the lab theory is likely to continue, and it remains to be seen whether we will ever know the true origin of the virus.