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Fauci says there’s no evidence coronavirus was made in a Chinese lab

Published May 5th, 2020 7:31AM EDT
Coronavirus USA
Image: Alex Brandon/AP/Shutterstock

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  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a new interview that there’s no scientific evidence to support the idea that the novel coronavirus was created by man.
  • The expert also said that theories saying the COVID-19 virus escaped accidentally from a lab make little sense. For that to happen, the infection already had to exist in the wild.
  • Fauci reiterated findings from the scientific community that is already backed up by US intelligence findings and contradicted Mike Pompeo’s recent remarks on the origin of the virus.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

The first coronavirus origin conspiracy theories appeared as soon as it became clear China was dealing with a new disease back in early January. Since then, it spread like wildfire with the help of social media. But, thankfully, the scientific community was quick to step in and make things clear. The novel coronavirus was not man-made, scientists said, after examining the genetic structure of the virus. Even so, a second coronavirus origin conspiracy theory appeared, that the virus may have escaped from the Wuhan lab, after someone may have become infected with a bat virus they were studying.

A few days ago, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed that COVID-19 isn’t the result of genetic engineering, agreeing with the scientific community. However, it added it’s still investigating the origin of the virus, including the theory that it could have escaped from a lab. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then fumbled that response by saying there’s “enormous evidence” the virus came from the Chinese lab, without presenting any of the evidence.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has now cleared the matter for good, explaining there’s no evidence to suggest the virus was developed by humans and explained why the theory that says the virus could have escaped accidentally doesn’t make sense.

The director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) talked to National Geographic about the coronavirus epidemic in the US. He addressed the current efforts to reopen the economy, the ongoing work on vaccines, as well as the possibility of the disease returning in the winter.

He also explained his stance on the origin of the virus:

If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats, and what’s out there now is very, very strongly leaning toward this [virus] could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated—the way the mutations have naturally evolved. A number of very qualified evolutionary biologists have said that everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that it evolved in nature and then jumped species.

Asked on whether the virus could have been leaked accidentally from the Wuhan lab, Fauci said that’s not a sound theory:

[That[ means it was in the wild to begin with. That’s why I don’t get what they’re talking about [and] why I don’t spend a lot of time going in on this circular argument.

In other words, it was only a matter of time until humans got the disease, regardless of whether someone has been infected in a lab or anywhere else.

Pompeo said recently, “there is enormous evidence that that’s where this began,” in an interview with ABC This Week. “I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”

He then said that “the best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point.” Experts, however, haven’t said that. Moreover, when he was reminded that US intelligence concluded the opposite, that the virus had not been engineered by man, Pompeo replied that he “agree with that.

China has disputed Pompeo’s remarks, but that doesn’t change the fact that the country has done little to share with the world evidence of the actual origin of the virus. It’s unclear when the first case was registered in the state and who that person was.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.