Written by Rajlaxmi, a grade 7 student
The origins of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 remain a mystery worldwide. Chinese authorities have claimed that the virus had its origins in bats in animal markets in Wuhan. But, there’s more to this than meets the eye…
Intelligence teams dispatched by US President, Joe Biden, began investigating the origins of coronavirus last month.
What’s the theory?
A theory had generated last year had indicated that coronavirus wasn’t a natural virus and had been generated in a lab. The theory was dismissed and regarded as a conspiracy theory due to its relation with Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump. Wuhan Institute of Virology denied the rumours constantly and the theory was put out of order. Some even referred to it as a Trumpian conspiracy.
Shi Zhengli, a researcher at the Institute fired back at these theories and denied them. “How on earth can I offer up evidence for something where there is no evidence?” she told the New York Times over a phone call. “I don’t know how the world has come to this, constantly pouring filth on an innocent scientist,” she commented through a text message.
Shi, in an article by Scientific American, also said that the genetic code of the virus didn’t match any samples in her lab.
But many leading factors made this theory a plausible cause rather than just a conspiracy.
In 2019, 3 researchers from Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick with corona-like symptoms and were admitted in hospitals, just prior to the epidemic-turned-pandemic.
Shi, an expert in bat coronaviruses, along with some other scientists could have been leading ‘gain-of-function’ experiments in which scientists increase the virus’s strength to study its effects.
According to the unnamed sources, Shi and some colleagues at Wuhan Laboratory published a report on an experiment, in 2017. In this experiment, they created new hybrid bat coronaviruses by mixing parts of several existing ones, – including at least one that would be able to transfer to humans, – in order to study their ability to infect and replicate human cells.
But based on China’s uncooperative nature towards the American investigations of the origins of this virus, Dr. Shi’s claims are doubted by most.
D.R.A.S.T.I.C, short for Decentralized Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating COVID-19, a group of internet researchers, used Google Search, Translate, and Twitter to solve perhaps the greatest mystery of the 21st century. The group contains many anonymous contributors, the most prominent being the Seeker. The research done by these amateur researchers now compels organizations worldwide to consider the lab leak theory, due to the evidence uncovered, which points to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The evidence is not solid but still holds credibility.
Due to the findings of DRASTIC, it has been revealed that RaTG13, another bat coronavirus most similar to COVID-19, comes from the bat caves in Yunnan Province, where miners caught a mystery disease back in 2012.
To many people, Shi Zhengli and WIV are the keys to finding the origin of this devastating virus which left a large impact on all of our lives. At the same time, she is a hero to Chinese citizens and government and a victim of conspiracy theories.
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