The origin of the corona is still unclear. Thomas Mettenleiter considers the theory of a laboratory accident in China to be unlikely, but does not rule it out definitively.
Riems – The question of the origin of the coronavirus has been asked since the beginning of the pandemic. Researchers around the world have not yet found a definitive answer. For a long time, unsubstantiated suspicions have been circulating that the virus may have escaped from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where it is believed to have first appeared. China has so far vehemently denied such allegations.
Corona origin: WHO investigators examine data in China – laboratory accident “extremely unlikely”
An investigation team from the World Health Organization (WHO) went to China in January and February to search for the origin of the coronavirus. In their study presented in March, they described the theory of a laboratory accident as “extremely unlikely”. Rather, it is “likely to very likely” that Sars-CoV-2 has passed from a bat via an intermediate host animal to humans.
The US health expert Anthony Fauci also does not assume that the coronavirus escaped from a Chinese laboratory, as he did in a podcast of New York Times Announced at the end of June. Nevertheless, he supports the plans of US President Joe Biden, which include new investigations by the American secret services into the origin of the corona. As a scientist, he remains open to new insights until a theory is finally proven. “If an investigation helps us, of course I’m for it,” said Fauci.
Corona origin: FLI President Mettenleiter considers laboratory theory to be “highly unlikely”
Thomas Mettenleiter, President of the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) on the Baltic Sea island of Riems, has a similar view. The Federal Research Institute for Animal Health works in high-security laboratories in particular with animal disease pathogens and pathogens that can jump back and forth between humans and animals, so-called zoonoses. According to Mettenleiter, there are around 50 laboratories worldwide that specialize in highly contagious viruses – including the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
The FLI President considers the outbreak of viruses from such high-security laboratories to be “highly unlikely, but it can never be completely ruled out,” he said Focus Online. The security precautions in such facilities are very high and complex. “These protective measures are standard worldwide in such laboratories – but of course there is the human factor. Mistakes can just happen, ”said Mettenleiter.
Corona origin: “The door and gate open to speculations” – Chances for clarification are decreasing
“We don’t know where the pathogen comes from, so the door to speculation is open – I don’t believe that there was a conscious change in the pathogen, but I cannot rule out this hypothesis 100 percent either,” said the FLI President the suspicions about the Corona origin through a laboratory accident. Altering viruses for research purposes is not uncommon, for example to see how dangerous a pathogen can potentially be for humans and animals.
Mettenleiter cannot rule out the theory that Corona jumped over to humans at the wild animal market in Wuhan. “When many different species of animals from different regions come together in one place, each animal brings its pathogen reservoir with it – there can be an exchange and also a jump on humans,” said the expert Focus Online. However, he also made it clear: “It is possible, but the evidence for the wildlife market thesis is just as lacking as for all the other theses.”
According to Mettenleiter, the chances of finding out the actual origin of the corona are increasingly decreasing. “The further we move away from the initial event, the more difficult it will be to find the origins,” the researcher predicts. (ph)