Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, experts and laypeople alike have been asking themselves the question: Where did the virus come from? There are various theories and assumptions about the origin of the pathogen – from the market in Wuhan to a laboratory accident. Some theses were also politicized and even led to xenophobia against East Asian people.
Now the laboratory theory is gaining momentum again. The US Department of Energy is apparently actually assuming a laboratory accident , as various US media – including the “Wall Street Jorunal” – reported on Sunday. They referred to a classified intelligence report recently presented to the White House and key members of Congress.
After the report was published on Sunday, the renowned US virologist Angela Rasmussen spoke on Twitter . She quoted a Twitter post from July 26, 2022 with a link to a study published in the Science portal . In this, she and other scientists analyzed the possible origin of the virus.
The scientist and her colleagues came to the conclusion in the study: Sars-Cov-2 very likely came from the Huanan fish market in Wuhan. The wholesale market for seafood and freshwater fish has been closed since the Corona outbreak, as scientists suspected early on that the virus had been transmitted from animals to humans there.
Rasmussen doubts the thesis that has now been put forward again in the US Department of Energy report: “The available evidence clearly shows that the pandemic in the Huanan market was caused by a zoonosis,” she writes on Twitter. Zoonoses are infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa.
Nevertheless, she is ready to reconsider the market thesis if there is conclusive evidence for the laboratory thesis, Rasmussen said on Twitter: “One piece of evidence that could change my mind would be conclusive evidence that the WIV (note d . Red.: Wuhan Institute of Virology; German Institute for Virology Wuhan) had a precursor of Sars-CoV-2. »
The virologist argues: If the virus actually originated in a laboratory accident, it is very unlikely that it would suddenly “appear twice within two weeks in people in the same market that is the size of a tennis court and more than eight kilometers away from the laboratory is on the other side of the river.”
Rasmussen summed up on Twitter that the US Department of Energy’s claims are “pure speculation” that are “not supported by evidence”. The virologists see “no evidence that the current scientific evidence is wrong.”
There is therefore still no definitive certainty about the emergence of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus . In the summer of 2022, the independent expert council (SAGO) set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) spoke out in favor of further investigating the possibility of escaping the virus from a laboratory in the search for the origin of the virus.