ADDIS ABABA, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Controversial and non-scientific speculations regarding the COVID-19 lab leak theory are "unfounded," a commentary recently published by the Ethiopian Herald has argued.
The commentary, entitled "The Truth About the Origin of COVID-19-Coronavirus," was written by Alemayehu Godana Birhanu, an assistant professor of medical biotechnology at the Institute of Biotechnology at the Addis Ababa University.
The article strongly disputed the COVID-19 lab leak theory, saying that "It should be emphasized being the first to report the virus does not mean that Wuhan is its origin," and emphasizing that if the virus had been man-made, that would be shown in its genome.
It emphasized historical experiences that most novel viral pathogens, which have caused epidemics or pandemics including HIV, influenza epidemics, Ebola outbreaks and the coronaviruses that caused the SARS epidemic in 2002 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak in 2012, have emerged naturally from a wildlife reservoir.
"Similarly, the SARS-CoV-2 have probably evolved naturally in bats and spread from the natural host directly to humans or through an intermediary host," the expert said.
The article emphasized that origin-tracing is a complex scientific investigation process.
It is important that policymakers and stakeholders in the public health sector make decisions based on scientific evidence to understand origins of pandemics like COVID-19, it added.
According to the publication, the idea that the coronavirus broke out in multiple places around the world was also confirmed by the U.S. side.
One such finding was by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), which revealed that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was present in the United States as far back as December 2019, weeks before the first officially reported cases on Jan. 19, 2020, it argued.
The publication also cited a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America in December 2020, which showed that between Dec. 13 and 16, 2019, coronavirus antibodies were detected in at least 39 blood samples from the states of California, Oregon and Washington.
Noting that the investigations into the origins of COVID-19 are being "poisoned by politics," the publication also praised China's contributions to the global fight against COVID-19. Enditem