University of Arizona Continues to Defend Natural Transmission Theory of COVID Outbreak

University of Arizona Continues to Defend Natural Transmission Theory of COVID Outbreak

By Corinne Murdock |

Last Tuesday, the University of Arizona (UArizona) defended claims by one of its department heads that COVID-19 jumped from infected animals to humans at a Chinese wet market. UArizona’s news followed the publication of its department head’s research in Science magazine, picked up by mainstream media outlets like the New York Times and CBS News as proof of the wet market theory. 

UArizona asserted that Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department Head Michael Worobey’s research pinpointing the COVID-19 outbreak to the Huanen Seafood Market “virtually eliminate[d]” all other possibilities for COVID-19’s origins — though not ruling out the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where the U.S. funded research on coronaviruses. 

Worobey’s research acknowledged that a significant percentage of the first individuals infected by COVID-19 neither worked or shopped at the market. Additionally, the research never tested market animals supposedly linked to the initial outbreak. As AZ Free News reported, Chinese police shut down and disinfected the market almost immediately. Chinese scientists’ research of the market only included samples of the market interiors and stray animals in January 2020. It wasn’t until one day before Worobey’s initial version of his research earlier this year that the Chinese scientists released their research — which ultimately conflicted with Worobey’s findings. 

The Wuhan Institute of Virology is less than nine miles from the Huanan Seafood Market; about 30 minutes by car. 

One of the principal researchers in the wet market studies, Kristian Anderson, claimed to CBS News that he was “convinced” of the lab leak himself prior to investigation. However, as AZ Free News reported in April, Andersen attacked evolutionary biologist Jesse Bloom for publishing a paper noting that several Chinese papers detailing SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences predating the pandemic had disappeared. In response to the paper, Andersen accused Bloom of unethical behavior for investigating what Chinese scientists deleted, and told the public that genomic sequences from the Wuhan Institute of Virology weren’t relevant. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who received Bloom’s research, sided with Andersen’s take on the subject and defended the Chinese scientists. Fauci and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins had a vested interest in supporting natural transmission theories rather than lab leaks due to their relationship with EcoHealth Alliance: the nonprofit research organization that funded the coronavirus bat research at Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

As reported previously, emails obtained through public records requests revealed that EcoHealth Alliance CEO Peter Daszak thanked Fauci for using his platform to dismiss the lab leak theory as the origins of COVID-19 pandemic; Fauci responded in kind. 

Other researchers in the papers defending the wet market theory appear to have reigning conflicts of interest as well. Virologist Robert Garry was hand-selected by Collins to dispute whistleblower research from summer 2021 that COVID-19 was engineered at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Netherlands molecular expert Marion Koopmans served on the World Health Organization (WHO) mission to China in early 2021 to analyze COVID-19’s origins, which resulted in an error-riddled report blaming wet market animals that WHO leadership rejected, later connected to plausible Chinese government interference and walked back on by several mission members.

This latest publication in Science magazine was the peer-reviewed and revised version of papers Worobey and his colleagues published in February proposing the wet market theory. At that time, too, the New York Times covered Worobey and his colleagues’ research in a feature story

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to