FACTS VS FICTION: Is COVID-19 man-made?

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Many of us have seen the conspiracy theories online about COVID-19, and whether it was man-made or not.

The scientific community wants to make it clear that those rumors are simply untrue.

"For people to think that this is a hoax or some sort of thing that's being engineered by someone, doesn't do any good," UH College of Medicine Chair Dr. Brian Reed said.

He told ABC13 that he's seen the posts on conspiracy theories and how the virus was made in a lab and then spread.

Reed says those rumors are false, and studies show the virus came from an animal.

"There's this concept called One Health where animal health, environmental health and human health are all linked, and we do see occasions where diseases that affect animals make its leap to humans," Reed said.

Researchers through the National Institutes of Health said, COVID-19 is 96% identical to a coronavirus found in bats. But with a certain variation, that could explain why it's been so infectious.

"It might have come from a wet meat market or possibly by someone who consumed a bat. They aren't cleaned, possibly, and unfortunately, someone gets sick from it and it spreads to others," Reed said.

Researchers are still investigating the virus' origin.

Reed said it's important to know the facts about COVID-19,. He says his biggest concern is people not taking it seriously.

"This is a real disease with a real impact. It's impacting people's lives. People are getting sick," Dr. Brian said.

He added that it's not the first time conspiracy theories have started during an outbreak, and it won't be the last.

"Just because it's on the internet, doesn't mean it's true," Dr. Brian said.

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