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Is Coronavirus Pandemic a Lab Accident or Zoonotic Spillover?

A key unanswered question regarding the coronavirus pandemic is, how exactly it started. While this theory refuses to die till now due to the lack of extensive assessment. Many believed that it all started from a lab in china while others are of the view it an intermediary animal species must have made its way to humans in the city of Wuhan in December from the wet market. But the question to date remains unsolved.

Many people are now calling for an investigation to find the right answer, few of those include; President Joe Biden, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, and the director-general of the WHO, TedrosAdhanomGhebreyesys. 

Even after the results of a month-long extensive WHO investigation, that suggests that the coronavirus must have come into humans from animals, Tedros said that ‘he did not believe that this assessment was extensive enough, as the team did not find any definitive proof in favor of or against the hypothesis. Anthony Fauci also believes that the pandemic must have started due to the lab mishap. Both Scotts Gottlieb, the former head of the FDA, and Robert Redfield, the former director of CDC believed it to be a lab accident.

18 scientists from across the UK, USA, Canada, and Switzer wrote a letter published in the journal Science saying that; “Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable”. They came to this conclusion because both theories were not given well-adjusted consideration. An immunologist from Stanford University, David Relman, a co-author of the letter says that the leak hypothesis “has been hastily dismissed by WHO, without careful assessment. Here is a summary of what we know about both theories.

Some other reasons in favor of accidental lab leak, are that the leak has been believed to be from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which is a high-level biosafety lab. Here the researchers have been studying coronavirus even before the pandemic and Wuhan happens to be the city where the first case of COVD-19 was reported.

Though WIV boosted the claim to be one of few, biosafety level 4 lab, but it recently moved to a new location and is just a few miles away from Huanan Seafood Market, that reported the first case of COVID-19. 

The audit conducted by the WHO investigators wasn’t full or thorough as they only spent few hours and the complete logs weren’t shared with them. 3 of the WIV staff members had COVID-like symptoms in November 2019 before the identification of the first COVID case. US intelligence suggests that WIV had a poor lab safety protocol and the possibility of a leak from the lab is highly likely.

The other theory that the animal spillover could have caused the pandemic could be true due to the following reasons; the genetic code of SARS-CoV-2 is 97% identical to that of coronavirus found in bats, and cross-species hops from bat populations have been evident in the past e.g; Ebola, and the Nipah virus. The majority of infectious diseases to humans come from natural spillover.


SARS-CoV-2, Pandemic, coronavirus, Wuhan Institute of Virology, china, coronavirus spillover events.

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