April 18, 2023 | Source: Yahoo News | by Alexander Nazaryan
WASHINGTON — Three years after the world first learned about a novel pathogen called SARS-CoV-2, questions persist about where, and how, the virus that has killed nearly 7 million people worldwide — including more than a million Americans — originated.
Many experts continue to believe that the virus arose in the wild, jumping to humans at a wildlife market in the Chinese city of Wuhan. A recent analysis concluded that raccoon dogs were the most likely “intermediary species” the virus used to enter the human population, but the market origin hypothesis still leaves many critics skeptical.
The other possibility is that the virus originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where scientists were known to conduct risky gain-of-function research that supercharges viruses in order to understand how they may behave as they evolve in the real world.
Once dismissed as a conspiracy theory, the “lab leak” hypothesis has gained credibility in recent months, as evidence has mounted in favor of human involvement.