Global experts skeptical of Chinese-lab origin theory

Global experts skeptical of Chinese-lab origin theory


The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has been repeatedly suggesting the virus was created in a laboratory in Wuhan. But scientists and virologists across the globe have reached consensus that COVID-19 evolved in nature.

“Look, the best experts so far seem to think it’s man-made, I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last Sunday backed Donald Trump’s theory that the novel coronavirus came from a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan. He cited “the best experts,” but many of the best experts don’t agree.

On Monday, Doctor Anthony Fauci, the most prominent member of the U.S. task force against COVID-19, stated “the virus could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) also dismissed the assertion by the Trump administration as “speculative.” Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Program, said on Monday during a briefing, “We haven’t received any data or specific evidence from the U.S. government related to the reported origin of the virus, so from our perspective this remains speculative.”

Italian Professor Fabrizio Pregliasco has been studying virology for nearly 30 years. Back in March, he refuted the rumor that coronavirus was man-made in a lab. He still believes that the coronavirus is of natural origin, “Either resources from the database, or studies of individual cases, show that the virus is a result of natural evolution.” He also said the biology of the latest coronavirus is complex and it takes time for scientists to piece together how COVID-19 operates.

Professor Ian Jones of the University of Reading, agrees about an animal origin, “My view is very clear. It does not come from the Wuhan laboratory. And the reason for that is that the genetic sequence of the virus has been determined and it’s quite clearly an animal virus. If it’s an engineered virus, it would have some marks that show the points where the engineering had been done. But that is not the case.”

On Wednesday, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai called for a science-based investigation. “About the origin of the virus, there are many claims at the moment. However, the common view by scientists is that the virus is of natural origin, rather than coming from any lab. I hope we can all believe in facts and science.”

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