Did the COVID-19 virus originate from a lab or nature? Examining the evidence for different hypotheses of the novel coronavirus’ origins

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019, many hypotheses have been advanced to explain where the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) actually came from. Initial reports pointed to the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, China, as the source of infection, however later studies called this into question. Given the uncertainty, many have suggested that … Continued

Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier inaccurately claims that the novel coronavirus is man-made and contains genetic material from HIV

Genomic analyses of the novel coronavirus shows that it has a natural origin and was not engineered. The claim that the virus has genetic material from HIV is based on a preprint with significant flaws in study design and execution that was later withdrawn by the authors. As it turned out, the so-called “HIV insertions” identified by the authors could also be found in many other organisms apart from HIV, refuting the claim that genetic material from HIV was inserted into the novel coronavirus.

PCR tests for COVID-19 are specific for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and do not detect other coronaviruses, contrary to claims in viral article and video

The PCR tests for COVID-19 are designed to be highly specific for the novel coronavirus—they can detect this virus unequivocally and differentiate it from other members of the coronavirus family. These PCR tests are also capable of measuring viral load (amount of virus) in patient samples, which is related to virus transmissibility and severity of infection.

Evidence points to coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 being of natural origin, no evidence it could have been intentionally propagated

All available data indicate that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, is of natural origin. Comparisons of viral genome sequences show that it shares a strong identity with similar coronaviruses that infect pangolins and bats. And further investigations of the SARS-CoV-2 genome suggest that the virus was not artificially created or propagated in laboratories. In the absence of evidence proving otherwise, the claim that SARS-CoV-2 was lab-created and intentionally released is not only unsubstantiated but also implausible.

Claim that flu vaccine increases coronavirus infection is unsupported, misinterprets scientific studies

More research is needed to provide a conclusive answer to the question of whether the flu shot increases the risk of non-influenza viral respiratory infections. It is important to keep in mind that while the flu vaccine cannot prevent COVID-19, it still provides several indirect benefits. For example, it reduces cases of flu and flu complications that require hospitalization, in turn reducing the burden on the healthcare system, which has become strained during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vitamin C supplementation does not prevent viral respiratory infections, such as those caused by coronaviruses, in the general population

Maintaining an adequate intake of vitamin C is important for staying healthy. However, evidence from clinical trials shows that regular vitamin C supplementation does not prevent viral respiratory tract infections such as the common cold, which can be caused by coronaviruses, in the general populationAlthough some studies have shown a reduced incidence of the common cold in individuals undergoing severe physical stress, such as marathon runners.

No, “HIV insertions” were not identified in the 2019 coronavirus, contrary to claims based on questionable bioinformatics study

The claim is based on a study which compared extremely short gene and protein sequences between the 2019 novel coronavirus and HIV, a practice likely to give false positives. The study’s authors also overlooked checking for potential similarities between 2019-nCoV and other organisms. As it turned out, similar regions could also be found in many other organisms, not just HIV, meaning that these similarities are not unique to 2019-nCoV and HIV.