Covid-19 lab-leak theory debunked by Australian professor | RNZ News

“What you find is there’s a very, very strong clustering around the market,” he said.

“Not just the people who worked at, or visited, the market, but all those early cases, even with no link to the market, they all cluster around that market.

“That’s the epicentre, that’s where the virus definitely started spreading.”

By contrast, the Wuhan Institute of Virology is more than 30 kilometres from the midpoint of the early cases, making it unlikely to be the origin.

“You wouldn’t expect it to be in a relatively obscure market so far from the lab if that’s where it actually began,” Holmes said.

Aside from the geographic clustering, he also points to the fact that two different strands emerged almost simultaneously in humans, something that is much more likely if the virus had already been mutating in animals.

“If you look at the sequence itself, that tells you that there were probably two jumps from animals to humans and that tells you this happened around November 2019,” he said.

“They’re sufficiently far apart that they were probably independent jumps.

“It means there was a pool of infected animals in the market and it’s mutated amongst them before it jumped to humans.”

All of this has led Holmes to conclude that the question of how Covid-19 emerged is settled.

“I’m extremely confident that the virus is not from a laboratory. I think that’s just a nonsensical theory,” he said.

Source: Covid-19 lab-leak theory debunked by Australian professor | RNZ News