COVID-19 Not A 'Bioweapon' Manufactured In A Lab, But Try Telling The Conspiracy Theorists That
Ever since COVID-19 first appeared on the scene, rumors have abounded that it is a bioweapon created by Chinese scientists that was either purposely or accident released from a lab. Why? Because there are always people who are gonna believe that crap. I mean, hell, there are people out there who think literally everything celebrities do is an elaborate secret code for "Oh boy, I sure like eating babies!" so of course there are people who think this.
This belief was helped along by a non-peer-reviewed analysis that claimed the virus had "bits of HIV in it." While the paper was quickly debunked and retracted, the tin foil at brigade assumed this was not because it was incorrect, but because it was being "covered up." The fact that The Wuhan Institute of Virology is in close proximity to a seafood market fueled fears that it had somehow gotten out of the lab and spread from there.
However, Kristian Andersen, an infectious disease researcher from California, decided it would be best to get a bunch of scientists together and make for absolute certain that the virus was not man-made.
Via Science News:
t was clear "almost overnight" that the virus wasn't human-made, Andersen says. Anyone hoping to create a virus would need to work with already known viruses and engineer them to have desired properties.
But the SARS-CoV-2 virus has components that differ from those of previously known viruses, so they had to come from an unknown virus or viruses in nature. "Genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone," Andersen and colleagues write in the study.
"This is not a virus somebody would have conceived of and cobbled together. It has too many distinct features, some of which are counterintuitive," [Virologist Robert] Garry says. "You wouldn't do this if you were trying to make a more deadly virus."
Other scientists agree. "We see absolutely no evidence that the virus has been engineered or purposely released," says Emma Hodcroft, a molecular epidemiologist at the University of Basel in Switzerland. She was not part of Andersen's group, but is a member of a team of scientists with Nextstrain.org that is tracking small genetic changes in the coronavirus to learn more about how it is spreading around the world.
Is this going to convince conspiracy theorists? Probably not! Nothing will. Unless maybe the scientists do a YouTube video about it from a basement in an undisclosed location and tell people it's information the experts don't want them to know, or distribute the information via email forwards through their brother-in-law's best friend's accountant. In fact, that is exactly what they should do if they want to get people to believe it. It would work. We can even start rumors that certain things celebrities say and do are code words for things like "stay the fuck home" and "wash your hands."
Like for instance, clearly this isn't just a video of The Real Housewives of New York's Ramona Singer not knowing how to use a toilet brush. No! She's doing it that way to signal to the other celebrities that the scientists in China would not have been able to construct a virus to these exact specifications.
I'm telling you. I think I'm on to something here.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse