Everyone knows that COVID-19 first broke out in the city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in central China. The generally accepted theory is that, like the virus that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002, the COVID-19 virus originated in bats and was passed on to humans in a live animal market. China has had markets selling live game meat since time immemorial (Marco Polo noted them in the thirteenth century), and this officially-endorsed account certainly is possible.
But Wuhan is also the home of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), the top virus research lab of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the WIV has long been researching exactly the kinds of coronaviruses as the one that started circulating in Wuhan late last year. Was this just a coincidence? Or could the Wuhan coronavirus have originated in the WIV lab and been accidentally released to the public?
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