The coronavirus epidemic in China has infected more than 40,000 people and killed more than 1,000. The source of the highly contagious virus remains a mystery as scientists around the world debate whether it originated in bats, snakes, pangolins or humans.
A preprint scientific manuscript published Jan. 31 by a group of Indian researchers suggested that the virus, known as COVID-19, may have been deliberately engineered using the HIV. The findings, which fed conspiracy theories that the new virus might be a bioweapon, have sparked a huge controversy. The authors withdrew the paper on Feb. 2 from the bioRxiv preprint server.