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What are the conspiracy theories around COVID-19? Show more Show less

Despite all evidence pointing to infected animals at China's Wuhan seafood market as the source of the COVID-19, conspiracies abound. These claims range from international political plot to eccentric effort to undermine the Chinese economy. So, what are the conspiracies around this previously unseen, potentially devastating, illness?

COVID-19 is a man made biological weapon Show more Show less

As states posture for power and peace looks increasingly fragile, the virus was the perfect weapon to weaken others while avoiding warfare.
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China created COVID-19 to attack foreign nations

The virus was deliberately created in a secret laboratory close to Wuhan. Scientists intended to use the illness to wipe out the US in the battle for global hegemony.
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biological weapon china conspiracy coronavirus misleading politics science war

Context

Many advocate that the coronavirus was intentionally created by China to use biochemical warfare as an attack on other countries.

The Argument

COVID-19 was created in a lab in Wuhan and was spread from there, either deliberately or accidentally.[1] The Wuhan Institute of Virology worked with bat coronavirus and its close proximity to the Huanan Seafood and Wildlife Market in which the outbreak is believed to have begun.[2] In 2018, US officials had voiced their concern about safety breaches at the Wuhan Institute. These concerns were based upon the fact that there were not enough trained technicians and investigators to safely run the laboratory. They also believed that there were sloppy lab practices in the part that studied bats and the coronaviruses.[3]

Counter arguments

"Scientists from multiple countries have published and analyzed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife, as have so many other emerging pathogens."[4] The Wuhan Institute of Virology is a Biosafety level 4, which is the highest level of safety. This means that individuals that work in the lab change their clothing before entering, shower before leaving. They also work in full-body pressurized suits, or the microbes are in a gas-tight sealed container. The building is also constructed to ensure the safety of individuals in the lab and to prevent the microbes from escaping the space.[5] It has been suggested that the SARS-CoV-2 could not have evolved as it targets and affects too many parts of the body. However, the spiked proteins of SARS-CoV-2, result in suboptimal receptor binding. Meaning that a piece of the virus that sticks out does not fit perfectly into a part of a human cell that allows it to enter that cell. If the virus had been engineered and release, this binding would have been designed to be optimal, meaning that the piece of the virus would perfectly fit into the part of a human cell in order to enter. This can be thought of as a lock and key scenario where the virus has a key to a lock on the outside of a human cell. This indicates that the virus evolved, and entered humans via a crossover event between animals and humans. This is supported by the fact that the most similar sequence for the virus has been found in bats.[6]

Framing

Premises

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://nypost.com/2020/02/22/dont-buy-chinas-story-the-coronavirus-may-have-leaked-from-a-lab/
  2. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-52318539
  3. https://www.businessinsider.com/us-officials-raised-alarms-about-safety-issues-in-wuhan-lab-report-2020-4
  4. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30418-9/fulltext
  5. https://www.nature.com/news/polopoly_fs/1.21487!/menu/main/topColumns/topLeftColumn/pdf/nature.2017.21487.pdf?origin=ppub
  6. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/05/scientists-exactly-zero-evidence-covid-19-came-lab

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This page was last edited on Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 21:57 UTC