It’s been a long time since I posted anything about science denial. This post isn’t so much about denial, but rather, about conspiracy a theory. That’s the thought floating around mostly the hard right-wing. As many know, I grew up in a very conservative area, which is story for another time. But, it does give me visibility that yes, people really think that.
Because SARS-CoV-2, aka the novel coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, originated in Wuhan, China–a city with a laboratory that works with deadly pathogens–the conspiracy theory says it’s a manufactured virus that either escaped or was intentionally released.
A few google searches while looking for resources to write this post revealed most of the hits are scientific sites debunking the conspiracy theory. The “pro” hits tended to be either Republican politicians with a reputation for science denial, such as Tom Cotton, or religious right figures with no science background, like Jerry Falwell.
The most cited article I found appeared in the online magazine Live Science, which itself cites the journal Nature Medicine. Both discuss the evidence that the novel coronavirus is NOT manufactured. To quote Scripps Research Associate Professor Kristian Anderson, “We can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes.”
To summarize (and grossly oversimplify), the mutations that allow this virus to be so contagious are too good to have been made in a lab. They are not obvious changes to previously existing viruses in the way a man-made virus would have been developed. The differences are in an aspect of the virus that would have been extremely difficult to modify in the lab. Humans would have taken a more obvious path to create a pathogen.
Tulane University Assistant Professor Bob Garry says, ” Nobody helped it. If somebody had designed it, they would have used a different solution.”
Read the articles I’ve linked to for yourself. It’s far better to go to the source than for me to repeat what they say better. Live Science uses more accessible language.
We know the hard-core science deniers won’t be convinced, but the science truly supports this being a naturally-occurring virus.