About 30 percent of Americans theorize COVID-19 originated in a lab, survey finds

Researchers at Pew Research Center suggest nearly three-in-ten Americans theorize that the new coronavirus strain was manufactured in a laboratory setting.

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With researchers at the brink of new experimental vaccines to combat the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the American public have been the subject of misinformation and countering narratives as to the origination of the new coronavirus strain.

In a recent survey issued to a sample of U.S. adults in March of 2020, researchers at Pew Research Center suggest nearly three-in-ten Americans theorize that the new coronavirus strain was manufactured in a laboratory setting, contradicting narratives publicized by health officials.

SARS-CoV-2 is the name given to a virus strain thought to have originated in Asia, with one of the earliest confirmed cases of infection reported in the eastern region of China. Where and how the viral transmission to humans occurred is still unknown, as of the time of this story’s publication.

But in the study, respondents were asked to answer: “From what you’ve seen or heard, do you think it is most likely the current strain of the coronavirus…” Based on the responses, it was established that a considerable amount of the participants stand by the notion that the strain was intentionally developed in a lab.

Moreover, at least 6% of the participants shared similar views, but believed the purported laboratory-based engineering of the new virus strain was accidental.

“Around a quarter of adults (23%) say it is most likely that the current strain of coronavirus was developed intentionally in a lab; another 6% say it was most likely made accidentally in a lab,” according to Pew Research Center. “A quarter say they aren’t sure where the virus originated.”

In the findings, the group of researchers also determined that the theory of the virus being intentionally engineered was more prevalent among younger adults, particularly in the age range of 18 to 29. Higher educational attainment and non-Hispanic or black ethnic backgrounds were also correlated with less respondents exhibiting those polarizing views.

Image courtesy of Sarah Grillo / Axios