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The consensus of the scientific community and international public health organizations is that the coronavirus emerged from bats and later jumped to humans.
- Scientists worldwide have publicly shared the genetic makeup of the coronavirus thousands of times. If the virus had been altered, there would be evidence in its genome.
Editor’s note, May 20, 2021: When this fact-check was first published in October 2020, PolitiFact’s sources included researchers who asserted the SARS-CoV-2 virus could not have been manipulated. That assertion is now more widely disputed. Read our May 2021 report for more on the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19. That dispute notwithstanding, the claim that COVID-19 was constructed at the Wuhan institute remains False.
Facing a tight reelection race, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., turned to an anti-China media outlet to pitch his bill seeking to designate the Chinese Communist Party as a transnational organized crime group.
Perry said Trump’s recovery "gives us hope as Americans in our ability to conquer the virus that came from China, in my opinion, was constructed in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and then was spread around the world, either by accident or on purpose."
Perry’s campaign didn’t respond to our requests for information to back his statement.
Despite numerous such claims, there is no evidence that the coronavirus was created at the Chinese institute.
Perry, in Congress since 2013, is being challenged by Democrat Eugene DePasquale, the state’s auditor general, for the seat representing Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district, which surrounds Harrisburg, the state capital.
Here’s what we know from having fact-checked several claims that the virus that causes COVID-19 was created in a lab — a conspiracy theory that has been debunked since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic:
The consensus of the scientific community and international public health organizations is that the coronavirus emerged from bats and later jumped to humans. The first outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China.
That doesn’t rule out the possibility that Chinese researchers were studying the virus in a lab when it managed to spread outside the lab, which is something that the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has considered. But the agency has also said there is "no credible evidence to indicate SARS-CoV-2 was released intentionally or was created as a biological weapon."
Perry said the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was "constructed" in a Wuhan, China, lab.
There’s no evidence to support this. Scientists who’ve studied the virus’s genetic makeup say that it is a naturally occuring virus.
We rate Perry’s statement False.
This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.
YouTube, "Zooming In with Simone Gao" Scott Perry interview, Oct. 17, 2020
PolitiFact, "Tucker Carlson guest airs debunked conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was created in a lab," Sept. 16, 2020
PolitiFact, "No, the novel coronavirus was not 'man-made,’" May 21, 2020
PolitiFact, "What we know about the source of the coronavirus pandemic," April 17, 2020
PolitiFact, "Health misinformation site promotes conspiracy about coronavirus," Feb. 10, 2020
PolitiFact, "Fact-checking hoaxes and conspiracies about the coronavirus," Jan. 24, 2020
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