Covid-19 before the pandemic broke out
November 2019: Virologists caught a new coronavirus
Wall Street Journal:
China claims the information is false
WHO mission to China
Call in 'Science' to continue searching for the truth
A natural virus
Could a virus created in the laboratory be different from a natural one?
Lack of transparency on the part of China?
China did send out reports
Chinese authorities deny the laboratory hypothesis
Where is the origin of Covid-19?
Bat, armadillo...
Trump spoke of the
Science has to speak
Covid-19 may have circulated before December 2019
The mysteries of a pandemic
Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(1/17)
Covid-19 before the pandemic broke out

The Wall Street Journal has published disturbing data suggesting that there was already Covid-19 before the pandemic broke out. According to information obtained by the US secret services, three Chinese scientists from Wuhan had fallen ill with Covid-19 before it spread out across the city and the world.

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(2/17)
November 2019: Virologists caught a new coronavirus

According to The Wall Street Journal, it happened in November 2019. Three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology required medical attention because they had been infected with a new type of coronavirus. This was a month before China announced to the world that Covid-19 had begun to spread among its population.

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(3/17)
Wall Street Journal: "Debate on the origin of the virus"

The Wall Street Journal states that this discovery "fuels the debate about the origin of the virus." Is the possible beginning of Covid-19 among virologists a conspiracy theory or a perfectly valid scientific hypothesis?

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(4/17)
China claims the information is false

Chinese authorities have been quick to deny The Wall Street Journal's data. Zhao Lijian, Foreign Minister, assured at a press conference that "the Wuhan Institute of Virology had not been exposed to COVID-19 before December 30, 2019, and a 'zero-infection' record is kept among its staff and graduate students so far. Therefore, the report you mentioned that three people at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill is totally untrue."

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(5/17)
WHO mission to China

A delegation of the World Health Organization visited China in February 2021 to investigate the local origin of Covid-19. While some question the effectiveness and scope of this mission, it found no solid indications that the virus had been made in a laboratory and escaped from there by accident.

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(6/17)
Call in 'Science' to continue searching for the truth

Some scientist believe that the hypothesis of an 'artificial' coronavirus should not be ruled out. This goes beyond a mere conspiracy theory. In May 2021 a group of scholars sent a letter to 'Science' demanding a "transparent" investigation, as both "the theories of accidental release from a laboratory and zoonotic spill remain viable."

(Image: Bill Oxford / Unsplash)

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(7/17)
A natural virus

For the moment, however, most scholars agree that the analysis of the Covid-19 virus gives no cause to assume artificial manipulation. Rather, its spread seems to match natural processes of zoonosis, or the leap of certain viruses from animals to humans.

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(8/17)
Could a virus created in the laboratory be different from a natural one?

Good laboratory work could make it impossible to detect the origin of a virus. The answer would go beyond what one might see through a microscope.

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(9/17)
Lack of transparency on the part of China?

In addition, to feed the suspicions of certain scholars, there is the prejudice that China usually acts with little transparency. An example of this is the fact that Chinese authorities did not raise the alarm of the new coronavirus until December 31, 2019, even though they had detected numerous cases throughout that month.

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(10/17)
China did send out reports

However, it must also be said that in this crisis, China has not practiced the opacity of other times. It showed images of the pandemic and offered open information on many occasions.

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(11/17)
Chinese authorities deny the laboratory hypothesis

Above all, China denies that there was a failure in one of its laboratories, causing the escape of a virus that put the planet in check.

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(12/17)
Where is the origin of Covid-19?

Be that as it may, the reality is that the specific origin of Covid-19, to this day, is unknown. The likely explanation is zoonosis, but how and from what wild animal did this new coronavirus jump to humans?

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(13/17)
Bat, armadillo...

There was talk of a bat soup, a cooked armadillo, and once again the live animal markets of China were pointed out as a potential source of dangerous new infections for humans.

(Image: Clement Falize / Unsplash)

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(14/17)
Trump spoke of the "Chinese virus"

To finish complicating everything, there is a political aspect regarding Covid-19. Ultra-conservatives around the world often subscribe to xenophobic conspiracy theories. Former president Trump, for example, used to speak of the "Chinese virus," a term that led to misunderstandings and suspicions.

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
(15/17)
Science has to speak

It has to be science that gives the answers. It is important to find the specific origin of Covid-19 in order to prevent new pandemics. If we know which animal infected us (or whether it was a human error), then we will know how to defend ourselves against future infections.

(Image: Ibrahim Boran / Unsplash)

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
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Covid-19 may have circulated before December 2019

Finally, there is another explanation for the data reported by the Wall Street Journal and its sources in the U.S. intelligence services. It's possible that Covid-19 had its origin in zoonosis and was already expanding before it was officially detected. The three virologists might just have been among many people infected by an earlier spread of the virus.

Covid-19, made in a lab? A returning hypothesis
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The mysteries of a pandemic

Science tends to solve almost all mysteries but there are unknowns that can remain for years and years. We will see when researchers manage to unravel the origin of a coronavirus that terrorized the planet.

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