Every time a catastrophe strikes the world, conspiracy theorists have a field day. While some theories are harmless figments of imagination others are borderline paranoid and some others unpardonably obnoxious. The Wuhan corona virus epidemic has also sparked controversial conspiracy theories.
The virus has killed 25 people so far and is fast spreading in China. Millions of people are in lockdown and there's a mad rush for essential commodities such as face masks and medicines. Countries around the world are on high alert and health systems are bracing for a serious crisis. While it has been confirmed that the virus infection broke out at the seafood and meat market in Wuhan, there's no conclusive leads on how and where it originated.
So far, the most credible theory is that the corona virus, named after its shape, mutated in snakes and then transmitted to animals. The humans might have contracted the virus at the seafood market where a variety of live animals including foxes, pigs and bats are sold.
China has taken measures to prevent the spread of misinformation and panic after it was alleged that there was an effort to cover-up the extent and seriousness of the virus in the initial days of the outbreak. Chinese internet users are actively sharing useful information on the virus on social media platforms.
Notwithstanding the hard-nosed approach the world at large has taken to the outbreak, many conspiracy theories are floating around. The major theory is that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab which was set up to carry out research into dangerous pathogens. Another outlandish theory focuses on the long-existing belief that big pharmacy is behind the virus. Here are some of the Wuhan virus conspiracy theories.
Virus came from Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory
The Chinese city of Wuhan, where close to 10 million people live, also hosts the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory. The lab was set up in 2018 to carry out research into dangerous pathogens like SARS and Ebola. The theorists point fingers at a Nature magazine report that year, which cited a US expert as saying that a virus could potentially escape from the lab. They say that the Wuhan seafood and meat market is just 20 miles from the lab, insinuating that lab animals injected with the virus could have escaped and led to the mutation of the virus.
Big Pharma is behind the spread of the virus
This theory is quite familiar. Every time a major epidemic afflicts the world similar theories have come up. The argument is that vaccines are a multi-billion dollar business and pharmacy companies use epidemic scare to mint money. Many individuals who shared their two pence on the issue make wild charges that pharma companies created the corona virus and caused the epidemic scare. They also point to the surge in the stock prices of Chinese pharmaceutical giants following the outbreak of the virus.
QAnon theory that anti-Trump deep state created virus
The most bizarre among the conspiracy theories is probably the charge that Microsoft founder Bill Gates hatched a plot to spread the pandemic. This outlandish claim is spread by the pro-Trump QAnon movement and the anti-vaccine advocates. QAnon is a far-right conspiracy movement that believes that the 'deep state' is hatching a secret plot against US President Donald Trump. Jordan Sather, YouTuber and A QAnon member, spread this theory, saying the corona virus outbreak was planned. For credence, the theory cites a patent filed by UK's Pirbright Institute in 2015, which covers the development of a weakened form of a corona virus.
However, experts explain that making a weakened form of virus is the standard protocol for the creation of vaccines. They also point out that Pirbright does not any longer work on any coronavirus strains. It is stated that the institute's research was limited to the virus strains that afflict birds.
Nostradamus Predicted Killer Virus
Another theory that has gone way too far is that the outbreak was predicted centuries ago. As always, the innocuous story is attributed to Nostradamus. The theorists say that the storied French clairvoyant had predicted the outbreak in China. This is the prediction attributed to Nostradamus that the exponents of this theory cite. "The great plague of the maritime city will not cease until there be avenged the death of the just blood, condemned for a price without crime, of the great lady outraged by pretense."