Updated: May 11, 2020
An unprecedented amount of research has been focused solely on understanding the novel coronavirus that has taken nearly 150,000 lives across the globe. And while scientists have gotten to know some of the most intimate details of the virus called SARS-CoV-2, one question has evaded any definitive answers — Where did the virus come from?
Live Science contacted several experts, and the reality, they said, is that we may never know where this deadly coronavirus originated. Among the theories circulating: That SARS-CoV-2 arose naturally, after passing from bats to a secondary animal and then to humans; that it was deliberately engineered and then accidentally released by humans; or that researchers were studying a naturally-occurring virus that subsequently escaped from a high-security biolab, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China. The head of the lab at WIV, for her part, has emphatically denied any link to the institute.
Just today (April 18), the vice director of WIV Zhiming Yuan CGTN, the Chinese state broadcaster, said "there is no way this virus came from us," NBC News reported. "We have a strict regulatory regime and code of conduct of research, so we are confident."