Health & Wellness

Myth-Busting: The COVID-19 Virus Was Not Created in a Lab

Despite the claims of some conspiracy theories, the coronavirus originated in nature


A study looking into the origins of the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 disproves the notion that it was created in a lab, finding instead that SARS-CoV-2 is evolved naturally. The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, was funded in part by the US National Institutes of Health.

“By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes,” said Kristian Andersen, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research and a co-author of the study along with scientists from the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

The researchers found that the SARS-CoV-2 strain resembled other viruses known to infect bats and pangolins, meaning the virus was not manufactured, but rather spread among animals before jumping to infect human beings, as well. The study’s findings are in line with the World Health Organization’s position that the virus likely came from bats.

The US government has been looking into whether the virus was artificially created in a lab in Wuhan, China, the virus’s place of origin. There have also been suggestions that the virus originated in animals but spread after an accident at a Wuhan microbiology lab—a possibility this study doesn’t disprove—but no evidence has ever been produced to support th idea.

SARS-CoV-2 was first discovered by Chinese researchers who alerted the WHO of its existence on Dec. 31, 2019.

Photo: iStock/PlargueDoctor.