Why we still don’t know for sure how COVID-19 started
More than a year after COVID-19 first appeared in China, scientists are still trying to pinpoint its origin.
A team of researchers working with the World Health Organization issued a report this week arguing the most likely explanation is that the virus jumped from a bat to another animal and then to humans. It can take years to determine the exact source of a virus, and the WHO didn’t rule out any hypotheses. But the report deemed spread from a lab to be the least likely explanation.
The continued uncertainty has geopolitical ramifications and has strained U.S.-China relations. Determining the origin of the virus could also help public health officials respond more effectively the next time a new, highly contagious disease emerges.
Two researchers joined MPR News host Kerri Miller Wednesday to discuss why it has been so difficult to definitively trace the source of COVID-19.
Christine Petersen is the director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases and a professor at the University of Iowa.
Samuel Scarpino is an assistant professor at Northeastern University and director of the Emergent Epidemics Lab.
To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.
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