Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Internet has been teeming with provocative conspiracy theories that the novel coronavirus was (1) created in a Wuhan, China, lab and deployed as a bioweapon or (2) derived from bats, grown on tissue culture, intentionally or accidentally transmitted to a researcher, and released into the community. Politicians have touted these theories in an attempt to blame China for the pandemic, and a discredited US scientist recently released a book and now-banned video claiming that wealthy people deliberately spread COVID-19 to boost vaccination rates. And late last week, an unsubstantiated NBC News report on cell phone location data suggested that the Wuhan lab temporarily shut down after a “hazardous event” in October. Even Kristian Andersen, PhD, a professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and lead author of a research letter published Mar 17 in Nature Medicine on the origins of the virus, first thought that COVID-19 was just as likely to have been accidentally released from a lab as it was to have come from nature.

 

Credit CDC

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