lørdag 19. juni 2021

In hunt for Covid’s origin, new studies point away from lab leak theory

The coronavirus pandemic has raised so many questions as it has continued its inexorable spread across the planet, but perhaps the first of them remains the most contentious: where did Sars-CoV-2 come from. In recent weeks there has been renewed focus on whether it could have escaped from a Chinese laboratory. However, new findings strengthen the case for a natural origin, in what has become a heavily politicised debate.

The resurgence of the lab leak theory – promulgated early last year by Donald Trump and his supporters, before being dismissed – has been fuelled by the publication of emails in which Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, discussed it, and dissatisfaction with the World Health Organization’s initial efforts to investigate the pandemic’s origins. Most scientists favour the theory that the virus spilled over from an animal to a human in nature. “The best scientific evidence points to this,” said the Wellcome Trust’s director, Jeremy Farrar, on 4 June. But if there is less evidence to support the lab leak theory, others say, it’s because nobody has searched for it.