Speculation about the origin of the novel coronavirus has spread online since the beginning of the pandemic, with Facebook posts and tabloids making baseless claims the virus was created in a lab.
But as Kiannah Sepeda-Miller of the Better Government Association told ABC 7 News Saturday morning, it isn't only social media users who have perpetuated the conspiracy theory the virus was bioengineered.
In Illinois, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford of Maywood said during a May 15 intervew that she does not believe it's a natural virus.
"This man-made killer - whoever went in there and man-made it, perhaps they should be in there now trying to figure out how to turn this around," Lightford said. "I believe someone was in cahoots for some reason and I think it just got a little bit out of control and spread a whole lot further than they anticipated."
According to the BGA, leading experts say the research is clear.
"The genetic structure of the virus shows it could not have been created in a lab - or be "man-made," said Sepeda-Miller.
An article published March 17 in Nature Medicine says the genetic makeup of the coronavirus does not indicate it was altered. Instead, the researchers who conducted the analysis present two plausible explanations for the origin of the virus: natural selection in an animal host, or natural selection in humans after the virus spread from animals.
Weekend Watch: Scientific research rules out claims novel coronavirus was created in lab, says BGA
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