As fun as conspiracy theories can be, all the theories around the COVID-19 pandemic are mostly poorly written, racist or outrageous.
One of these outrageous stories is that China leaked the coronavirus. Now, there are two variants of the same rumour. Here's what they are:
What Is The Conspiracy Theory?
In one version of the rumour, the virus was engineered in a virology lab by humans as a bioweapon. In another version, the virus was being studied in the lab (after being isolated from animals) and then “escaped” or “leaked” because of poor safety protocol.
The only real part of this rumour is that there is in fact a huge virology lab called The Wuhan Institute of Virology. But the virus did not "leak" or "escape" or be "engineered."
Where Did The Virus Come From, Then?
A new study suggests that COVID-19, which emerged from China's Wuhan city is a product of natural evolution. The study was published in the journal - Nature Medicine. The analysis of public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered.
"By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes," said the lead researcher Kristian Andersen in an interview.
Soon after that, scientists saw that the virus closely resembled viruses that circulate in bats. “If you look at the genetic sequence of the virus, it’s closely related to a bat virus, about 96 per cent the same,” Jim LeDuc, head of the Galveston National Laboratory, said in an interview with Vox.
Chinese officials also reported that the first few cases of the virus had ties to a live animal market where seafood and other wildlife were sold as food.
Is It A New Virus, Then?
A paper, which was uploaded onto Virological.org in February, written by several leading microbiologists closely examined the SARS-CoV-2 genome.
They found the unusual biochemical features of the virus could only have come about two ways after the virus jumped from animal to humans.
In other words, nature came up with these weird characteristics in the genome, which cannot be engineered because it changes only after contact.
So basically, there is no possible way to create or engineer the virus. So the virus is a naturally occurring element. But will all this change the fact that the rumours are out and about and people are believing it? Probably not. If we understand that trying to control the pandemic is more important than looking at conspiracy theories and throwing around the blame - maybe then we can solve it.