Where did COVID-19 come from? UA researcher discusses latest assessment
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Since the start of the pandemic researchers have been hard at work trying to discover the origins of COVID-19.
While those on the front line have no official cause of “where” or “how” the virus came to be, the United States Energy Department is out with a new report.
The agency is claiming the virus could be from a lab leak in China, but not everyone is on board with the new findings.
“In fact, there is actually overwhelming evidence that this was not a leak from a lab in Wuhan,” said Michael Worobey, the head professor at the University of Arizona’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Researchers like Worobey have done their own study on the origins of COVID-19 but haven’t been convinced a leak from a lab is a cause.
“If the evidence suggested it had been a lab leak, I would be here to tell you about that,” Worobey said.
According to Worobey, the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan has emerged as the most likely source of the outbreak. He added the alternative explanation that the virus leaked from a research lab is increasingly unlikely.
“This particular pandemic doesn’t seem to have started that way,” Worobey said. “We need to remember nature is the worst bio-terrorist out there.”
According to Worobey, the Department of Energy’s assessment uses data based on weak evidence and not science.
He said his team can pinpoint the actual market that was selling live wildlife, like raccoon, dogs and civets, which were responsible for the first SARS outbreak 20 years ago.
“The science is the science,” Worobey said. “At the end of the day, it is really important to remember this is a scientific question that is addressed by a scientist who has the expertise and who has collected the evidence and has analyzed it.”
Worobey welcomes any new findings on how the pandemic started. He hopes scientists will soon know the cause because he believes knowing more can help prevent another pandemic from happening.
“What I hope we can do, is again follow the science, follow the evidence, where ever it goes, and try to deal with this without pointing blame and try to understand what happened,” Worobey said.
Worobey is hosting a lecture, “Origins of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Facts and Fallacies,” at the University of Arizona. It is set for at Centennial Hall at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 1. The event will be open to the public.
If you can’t make it in person, there will be an online live stream, which you can find HERE.
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