TEMPO.CO, Jakarta -As the coronavirus (COVID-19) started to spread worldwide, there have been a plethora of conspiracy theories roaming internet forums alleging the virus's source in an attempt to make sense of the pandemic that has crippled the global community.
Prominent themes coming from these theories try to link the source of the coronavirus to a Chinese classified biological weapons program located in Wuhan, while the other major theory links the pandemic to a grand design intentionally made by major pharmaceutical companies.
Entrepreneur Bill Gates is also being blamed for the cause of COVID-19, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) as the alleged culprit. This begs the question of whether there are any truths behind these allegations.
A researcher at the Department of Microbiology of Hasanuddin University's Faculty of Medicine, Rizalinda Syahril, said that the allegations have yet been proven with concrete evidence.
“My colleagues and I agree that there has yet been any concrete evidence supporting these conspiracy theories. There are several videos and narratives spreading through WhatsApp. This might be happening, but we do not have the evidence,” said Rizalinda on Thursday, May 28, in an online discussion regarding COVID-19.
Talking more about the virus, the researcher said that the SARS CoV-2 might naturally undergo an evolution now that enables it to survive natural selection that ends up sparking illnesses. Syahril said that the virus has already been identified since 1965 as at the time, it infected mammals and birds, causing enteritis in cows and swine.
The virus then affected the respiratory systems of poultry and eventually humans. “The virus spread to numerous regions such as America, Europe, due to failing to stop the chain of transmissions,” said Syahril.
SARS-CoV-2 characteristically has a speed of transmission average of 2 - 3.5, which means 2-4 people are infected by one super spreader carrier. Syahril said the virus is also a super spreader. "12.6 percent of infections happen before the source spreader has even shown symptoms. Two to three days people can start to feel sick since meeting the infected source,” said the virus researcher.