So, have you also received a WhatsApp forward claiming that Covid-19 is not a natural virus, but a chemical weapon made by China to unleash terror in the world? Yes, you aren’t alone.
The sheer amount of hate and mistrust in the Chinese government and its people has increased ever since Coronavirus spread to European countries where the situation started getting out of hand, while Hubei province of China where the virus originated, slowly went back to normal.
See, I understand why trusting the Chinese government is hard. They have had a history of hiding information not just from foreign countries but even from their own citizens. But creating a biological weapon to destroy other countries by sacrificing thousands of their own people sounds a bit too harsh. Even for China.
But is the virus natural or man-made? Let’s dive right into the world of science to find out.
In a report published by Nature Medicine on March 17, Kristina Anderson and his colleagues revealed that Covid-19’s virus’s genetic makeup is not a mixture of known viruses, which would have been the case if the virus was man-made.
Instead, what they found was that the virus contains some unusual features, recently identified to be found in pangolins, those scaly anteaters. This proves that this virus did not come from any human lab, but from nature itself.
When Anderson heard about the pandemic caused by a new virus, he wanted to test the original routes of the virus. The numerous theories behind the virus being an artificial weapon of mass destruction intrigued him enough to assemble a large ensemble of researchers together online to test this theory to test.
The Science News quotes him as saying, “We said, ‘Let’s take this theory — of which there are multiple different versions — that the virus has a non-natural origin … as a serious potential hypothesis,’ ”
What they found from their research was that there is no proof that this virus is artificial or man-made. All proofs pointed towards this being a natural virus. This is because the SARS-Cov-2 virus, the virus that causes Covid-19 has certain distinct characteristics that have not been found anywhere before this, thus, they had to come from an unknown source, that is the nature. In his study, Anderson writes: “Genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone.”
Garry, one of the researchers in Anderson’s project said, “It looks like SARS-CoV-2 could be a mix of bat and pangolin viruses”.
Finding genes related to pangolin viruses was the best way to prove that the virus is natural. Confused? Well, this is because the genetic makeup of the pangolin virus found in SARS-Cov-2 was unknown before it came to light in the form of Covid-19. If it didn’t even exist before, how can it be used to create a virus?
Emma Hodcroft, an independent molecular epidemiologist at the University of Basel in Switzerland, agrees with this finding. “Similarity of SARS-CoV-2 to bat and pangolin viruses is some of the best evidence that the virus is natural”, she says. “This was just another animal spillover into humans,” she adds.
With this scientific evidence about the origin of SARS-CoV-2, you can finally say goodbye to all those conspiracy theories that you have archived on your WhatsApp.