Lab leak conspiracy theory

Published on Nov 24, 2022
I feel let down and apologise if I have misled anyone

We are public health scientists who have closely followed the emergence of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

and are deeply concerned about its impact on global health and wellbeing.

We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.

Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.


Obtaining related viral sequences from animal sources would be the most definitive way of revealing viral origins.

(Fully formed or evolutionary intermediate)

UK experts helped shut down Covid lab leak theory

- weeks after being told it might be true

Sir Patrick Vallance among scientists behind paper that stifled debate into the origins of the virus

Top scientists including Sir Patrick Vallance,

Were warned that virus could have evolved in lab animals

Collaborated in above paper

Debate therefore stifled

To date

Proximal origins paper

Accessed more than 5.7 million times and cited in 2,627 subsequent papers.

Emails from early 2020

FoI request, James Tobias, freelance journalist

Authors held lengthy discussions with experts, Sir Patrick and Sir Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust

Warned WIV had been carrying out research on bat-coronaviruses,

at worrying levels of biosecurity.

Research to alter Sars-like bat coronaviruses had been taking place for many years in Wuhan

(not mentioned in paper)

Sir Jeremy Farrar, (Wellcome)

Wuhan was like the "Wild West".

Prof Kristian Andersen, Scripps Research Institute La Jolla, California (lead author)

had earlier told colleagues that features of the virus looked as if they’d been engineered in a lab.

(No mention of this was made in the paper)

Dr Jeremy Farrar, (Wellcome)

It is important that we understand how all pathogens emerge so that we can prevent future pandemics

as the efforts to gather evidence continue, it is important to stay open-minded

Serial passaging

Would cause the virus to contain o-glycans

The second notable feature of SARS-CoV-2 is a polybasic cleavage site (RRAR) at the junction of S1 and S2

Prof Ron Fouchier, Dutch virologist

(from another e mail chain)

It is good that this possibility was discussed in detail with a team of experts.

However, further debate about such accusations would unnecessarily distract top researchers from active duties,

and do unnecessary harm to science in general and science in China in particular

February 8th e mail Prof Edward Holmes

(one of the authors)

Ever since this outbreak started there have been suggestions that the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab,

if only because of the coincidence of where the outbreak occurred and the location of the lab.

I do a lot of work in China and I can tell you a lot of people there believe this and believe they are being lied to

Prof Kristian Andersen, February 8th

(Lead author)

Passage of Sars-live coronaviruses have been going on for several years and more specifically in Wuhan under BSL-2 conditions

BSL-2 laboratories are used to study moderate-risk infectious agents or toxins such as salmonella.

Serious diseases should be handled in BSL-3 or 4 labs.

Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)

Importing bat coronaviruses from areas of China which hold the closest viruses to Covid-19

Had also applied for funding to manipulate viruses by inserting a furin cleavage site (FCS)

The email chain

Involved Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID),

an organisation which was funding research at the Wuhan lab.

Senate report on viral origins

the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 that resulted in the COVID-19 pandemic was most likely the result of a research-related incident

Dec. 20, 2019 to Jan. 18, 2020

Searches for flu-like symptoms

Differs from Previous Natural Zoonotic Spill overs

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Lack of intermediate bats to humans


H7N9 (2019) multiple independent introductions across multiple locations

Geographically disparate, independent spill overs of H7N9

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