SARS-CoV-2 was probably not released from a research lab

I’m a molecular biologist who also has an undergrad degree in microbiology. Those facts and the additional facts that (a) I was in the Moderna phase III trial and (b) my medical school is one of ten NIH designated vaccine testing and evaluation units made me an avid student of the unfolding COVID-19 story.

Given everything we know over centuries of experience, the null hypothesis is that any pandemic has a natural origin. But since the COVID-19 pandemic originated in China and the US president at the time saw a political opportunity, the GOP null hypothesis became that the pandemic originated in a Chinese lab.

Critical thinking wasn’t helped when some prominent scientists (David Baltimore, Richard Ebright) weighed in with arguments based more on authority than evidence in favor of the lab leak hypothesis. The mountain of data that has accumulated since then points heavily in favor of natural origins. Baltimore has stated publicly that he regrets his earlier assertions.

Kevin Drum, who is not a molecular biologist or a virologist nevertheless has a nifty summary of the current state of scientific evidence, which still points to natural origins. Does this prove that COVID-19 wasn’t engineered or the result of a lab leak? No. It is impossible to prove a negative, and anyway, science doesn’t deal in proofs, it deals in the weight of evidence.

Read the rest here: Origins of SARS-CoV-2