Is the coronavirus man-made?

COVID-19 by Martin Sanchez From Unsplash

Many conspiracy theories boil down to this. Meanwhile, the question of the origin of the coronavirus is being asked not only by people far from science, but also by epidemiologists, doctors, and even intelligence officers. Scientists are trying to understand where and when the new type of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19, emerged, as well as when it began to spread from person to person. And even among epidemiologists, there is no consensus on this score yet.

Scientists argue about when and where a person first became infected with coronavirus, whether there are signs of recombination in it – the appearance of new combinations of genes, whether the virus was transmitted to us directly from bats or through an intermediate host, as well as why SARS-CoV-2 turned out to be so successful.


Research results, which are periodically published in the press, often contain terms and explanations that are not always clear to us, non-specialists. However, you can try to figure them out. For example, the authors of one of the studies confirm that until recently, COVID-19 affected bats. Their cells are unusually well protected from the accumulation of various aggressive molecules that can mutate new copies of the RNA of the virus. When SARS-CoV-2 moved on to infect humans, it lost that protection. As a result, as scientists suggest, mutations began to accumulate rapidly in the genome of the coronavirus. On the one hand, this speaks in favour of the natural origin of SARS-CoV-2, and on the other hand, it still does not answer the question of why something similar did not happen with the causative agent of SARS, which was also a source of bats.


Coronavirus appeared not a year ago

Another study by scientists suggests that the coronavirus COVID-19 could adapt to the human body back in 2012. Virologist Jonathan Latham and biologist Allison Wilson wrote about this in an article for the Independent Science News.

Scientists have discovered the thesis of a doctor who treated miners from the Chinese province of Yunnan. Eight years ago, miners cleared bat faeces from a mine located several thousand kilometres from the city of Wuhan for two weeks, after which they developed symptoms characteristic of COVID-19 (pneumonia, dry cough, limb pain and high temperature) … The sick required ventilation, and three out of six workers died. “The evidence contained in the dissertation forced us to rethink everything we thought we knew about the origin of COVID-19,” the article says.


There are also statements by doctors in social networks that there are references to coronaviruses in the textbooks of the past century, and many of them studied this information, just starting their journey into epidemiology and infectious diseases. And it is possible that this virus began to show its activity because humanity has learned to cope with the flu, which occupied a leading position before.

Finally, here’s what the scouts have to say about the origin

Excerpts from the report of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which includes the intelligence agencies of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, were published in the middle of this year.


What did the American intelligence statements say? There is not the slightest evidence that the coronavirus was created artificially or spread by someone’s malicious intent. Such delusional ideas are similar to those used by conspiracy theorists who claim that this is how the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) spread around the world in the 1980s.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Australian intelligence report was the background information on research with bat coronaviruses, which has been carried out by a group of Chinese scientists for 15 years. Of the existing 5 thousand types of viruses, they studied at least fifty samples. However, this research was in no way a Chinese secret project. Scientists have collaborated, for example, with the Animal Health Laboratory at the Australian Alliance for Industrial and Applied Research (CSIRO), with the University of North Carolina in the United States.


Almost four years before the onset of the current pandemic, a study by a Chinese doctor, project leader, in collaboration with the University of North Carolina, concluded that viruses genetically similar to the SARS virus can be transmitted directly from bats to humans and are not treatable.

And in March 2019, a team of Chinese scientists published a review in the medical journal Viruses entitled “Bat Coronaviruses in China.” It said, verbatim, “There is a high likelihood that diseases like SARS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) will be caused by bat coronaviruses in the future, and there is an increased likelihood that this will happen in China.”


Thus, Australian intelligence rejected all speculation and accusations that the virus was artificially created in a laboratory. But despite all this, the reports of the US and Australian special services allow us to come to another conclusion: it would be unfair to shift responsibility for the scale of the pandemic’s spread exclusively to China. After all, the results of scientific research with coronaviruses and their danger have been known to the international community for many years. Exercises to deal with natural disasters caused by such scenarios have also been held in many countries.

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