Is the virus engineered at a lab? | Updated: 2020-04-28 08:50

The following is one of the 16 most common rumors about the COVID-19 epidemic related to China, compiled and published by the Chinese embassy in Germany. The original version was published in Chinese and German. China Daily did some minor editing and updated a few figures in translation.


Rumor: The virus that causes COVID-19 was engineered at a Chinese laboratory. 

Fact: All evidence points to that SARS-CoV-2 has originated in nature.

The SARS-CoV-2 is a new type of coronavirus, which contains a family of viruses that can cause illness in animals and humans.

The World Health Organization noted that all available evidence suggests that the virus has an animal origin and is not manipulated or constructed in a lab or somewhere else. The possible animal source of COVID-19 has not yet been confirmed, and there are only speculations that it is possibly related to bat and pangolin.

Christian Drosten, the top virologist at Berlin's Charite hospital, and 26 other renowned scientists published a statement on the journal Lancet in February refuting the conspiracy theory that the virus is artificially made.

Kristian Andersen, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at the Scripps Research Institute in Sweden, and other researchers published a paper on the origin of the virus in Nature Medicine in mid-March. The paper pointed out that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.

In an interview with Faces of Peace, Gunnar Jeremias, professor at the University of Hamburg in Germany, also refuted such conspiracy theory and said even the best laboratory in the world could not create this virus out of thin air.

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