Study: Chances of Finding COVID Ancestor 'Almost Nil'

Photo: Nature

The Facts

  • In a recent study published in Nature, researchers found that the virus that causes COVID most likely shared a common ancestor with bat coronaviruses as recently as 2016 — just three years before it appeared in humans. The study showed how it would be nearly impossible to find the direct ancestor, however, because of the frequency in which the virus recombines and the length of time that has lapsed.

  • The search for the origin of the virus was catalyzed when former US Pres. Trump suggested the source of the pandemic was a "lab leak" originating from Wuhan, China. The theory was largely dismissed early on by epidemiology researchers as a conspiracy theory, though some have since claimed it's still considered a possibility by government officials "behind closed doors."

The Spin

Establishment-critical narrative

No determination should be made on the origins of COVID until all of the data has been reviewed and analyzed — including the lab leak theory. US federal agencies and universities have additional evidence yet to be analyzed that could shed light on missing information. The National Health Institute has failed to dig deep and has overlooked many details. The agency's failure and lackadaisical attitude are no longer good enough.

Pro-establishment narrative

Countless scientists and researchers across multiple studies have found that the COVID virus originated in a market in Wuhan, China, most likely due to multiple zoonotic events. Though the exact origin may never be known, the next step should be focusing on how to reduce the chances of the next "zoonotic spillover" pandemic through detection, surveillance, monitoring, and prevention.

Nerd narrative

There's a 14% chance that there will be a novel pathogen that kills over 25 million people between 2022 and 2031(inclusive), according to the Metaculus prediction community.

Establishment split



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