Articles, Blog

Where Do New Viruses Come From?

February 28, 2020

Stated Clearly is funded by our viewers
on Stated Clearly presents: Where do
new viruses come from? If you’ve been watching the news you’ve probably heard
of the novel or new coronavirus which, starting in late 2019, began making
people ill in China. International air travel has since allowed it to spread
person-to-person to new countries. As government’s begin to issue travel
restrictions and even quarantines speculations about the origin of the
virus began to spread online. Some claim that the virus might be a genetically
modified weapon but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
This claim currently seems highly unlikely. Others suggest that the virus
may be an escaped lab specimen. This actually is possible, viruses have
escaped from research labs in the past, but as of the time that I’m recording
this voice-over, investigations into this idea have not yet reached any solid
conclusions. Could there be another more natural explanation for the origin of
the virus? The answer is yes CPVOD-19 the new human-infecting coronavirus, may have simply evolved from an older animal-infecting coronavirus. To understand how
this may have happened let’s first take a look at viruses in general. What are
viruses? Of the many things that can make you sick by infecting and reproducing
inside you, viruses are among the smallest. If we resize this drawing to a
more realistic scale you see that hundreds of viruses can fit inside a
single bacterial cell. That’s how tiny they are. Thousands of different viral
species have been studied and described by scientists so far, millions more
likely exist. They come in many forms but all species consists of a small
collection of genes (stretches of either DNA or RNA that carry information for
making more copies of the virus) and those genes are enclosed in a protective
coating of protein and sometimes a lipid membrane. All known viruses are parasitic but most are not parasitic to humans. Instead some
only target plant cells others only infect bacteria and so on. A virus
reproduces by getting its genes into a living cell. Different viruses do this in
different ways but once inside, the cell acts as if the viral genes were its own
genes. It begins reading them and building copies of the virus instead of
performing its normal tasks. Coronaviruses are a huge family of virus
species that infect animal cells. Some infect chickens, others infect pigs, some
infect humans but most of them are extremely mild. They simply give you the
common cold. “Corona” means crown and refers to the unusually large crown like
spikes sticking out of their membranes. These protein spikes are selectively
sticky, sort of like velcro. They don’t attach to most objects but
are extremely sticky when they bump into specific molecules found on the outsides
of animal cells. Once held firmly in place, the corona virus waits until
swallowed by the cell. It then begins to reproduce at the cells expense. Different
animal species have different types of molecules on the outsides of their cells.
Because of this, bird infecting corona viruses usually can’t infect humans,
their “Velcro” doesn’t hold strong enough to our cells. Unfortunately the natural process of evolution can sometimes help a virus
overcome this problem. When virus genes are being copied during reproduction,
mutations can occur. These are either due to simple copying errors, or processes
called reassortment and recombination. These happen when two or more viruses
infect a single cell. In most cases mutations that change the shape of viral
spikes render the virus useless. There velcro no longer sticks to any host
cells. On rare occasions, however, a chance mutation will just happen to allow a
virus to attach to a new host species. If the modified virus is then lucky enough
to encounter that new host species, infection can occur. We call this a
“spillover infection”. The virus has spilled over into a new type of host.
Early on during a spillover event the virus usually isn’t very good at
infecting its new host. It’s velcro is not a perfect match and many other
challenges might slow the virus down. Oftentimes the mutations that let it
infect the new host also make it worse at infecting its original host. Because
of this, many spillover viruses go extinct after infecting just one or two people, they’re usually dead ends. That said if
the virus can survive and reproduce just long enough, natural selection will
promote any new mutations that help it better spread and reproduce in the new
host population. Positive mutations accumulate over multiple generations,
negative mutations are discarded until… BAM! A new epidemic is being screamed
about on the news. Though it may seem to us that these new viruses just sort of
pop into existence overnight, scientists now know there is a long slow burn
before each explosion. Genetic evidence tells us that slowly evolving spill
overs have been the cause of almost every major outbreak known in history. In
the early 2000s, a coronavirus that used to only infect bats, appears to have
spilled over into civets. There it mutated even further and spilled over
into humans. We called it the SARS virus because it causes Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome. It spread internationally from person to person
and several scientists were infected in the lab. By the time the virus was
contained, over 8,000 people had been infected, over 700 died. A coronavirus
from camels also recently spilled over to humans causing even more deaths.
Coronaviruses are not the only types of animal viruses that can adapt to new
hosts. HIV spilled over from chimps, most likely when someone cut themselves while preparing chimp meat for dinner. The swine flu came partly from pigs but
we think it actually evolved through a recombination with a
pig virus and a bird virus. The 1918 Spanish flu, the big one that devastated
populations all around the world, may have spilled over from chickens! While the
evidence is not yet conclusive, the new coronavirus might just be one more
example of normal evolution. A very similar virus has been found in bats and
another was recently discovered in pangolins. These animals are endangered, they’re protected, but they’re often used illegally for food, rituals, and
alternative medicine in the region where COVID-19 first broke out. Now, there are
serious people checking to make sure that the virus did not come from a lab,
either by accident or on purpose. After all, the technology to genetically
modified viruses really does exist, but it’s important to understand that the
normal process of descent with modification acted upon by natural
selection really does produce new viruses. It happens naturally. The chance
of a virus evolving to successfully infect a new species is extremely low
but there are over seven and a half billion people on this planet,
most of us interact with animals on a daily basis. We keep them as pets, we eat
them as food. This means that as unlikely as spillover infections might be, there
are billions of opportunities for one to take hold every single day. Add this
the fact that the entire world is now connected through international flights,
and you realize that what happens in Vegas doesn’t actually stay in Vegas, at
least not the way that it used to. Luckily we have international groups
like the World Health Organization and various centers for Disease Control to
help contain outbreaks when they happen. With international cooperation we have
prevented many catastrophes in the past and we will prevent many more in the
future so long as our species continues to work together. So in summary, where do new viruses come from? In most cases, new viruses evolve
from old viruses. Stopping the spread of new viruses requires international
cooperation. For up-to-date, accurate information on the risks, visit the World
Health Organization website at WHO.INT I am Jon Perry and that is the
novel coronavirus, Stated Clearly. This episode of Stated Clearly was
funded by our viewers on If you found this video helpful please do consider contributing there as well. Aside from helping me out you will also get secret access to a Stated Clearly
animation that is no longer public. It’s actually the first one that I ever made
and… well… you’ll see. To learn more about evolution and to find free tools for use
in the classroom if you happen to be a teacher – high school, middle school,
college – visit our website at
So long for now, stay curious! you


  • Reply Frederic Gariepy February 27, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Birus bad

  • Reply Sir Walrus February 27, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    It's so remarkable that something that is in its simplicity a dead cellular printing code can cause you illness and even death.

  • Reply Zio Adolfo February 27, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Corona is Italian or Spanish?

  • Reply Jordan Jennings February 27, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Another excellent video! Love this channel.

  • Reply Jakewolf69 February 27, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    WHO is corrupt.

  • Reply numair arshad February 27, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    Stated Clearly

  • Reply Charles Starbuck February 27, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    I appreciate the info but the virus is not COVID-19. The virus is SARS CoV 2(Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus 2). The disease it causes is COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease-[20]19)

  • Reply RazorbackPT February 27, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    This channel lives up to its name.

  • Reply uNstructured U.ndersTanding February 27, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    Very well done, Thankyou John.
    It is not that hard to understand, except the risks and that's our challenge. I think the mortality rate is worrisome so stay healthy as u can.

  • Reply Larry R February 27, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    "Investigations haven't reached any solid conclusions."

    More like, "I can't make a video on coronavirus if its an engineered bioweapon or an escaped lab virus." There just as much sufficient evidence to support the second conclusion as there is to support the conclusion of this video.

  • Reply g nartin February 27, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you, I was wondering how that worked! The world makes more sense with some background knowledge of evolution.

  • Reply George xeno February 27, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    I'm sure that origins of HIV have something to do with the chimp's meat if you know what I mean.

  • Reply Rashmi Tiwari February 27, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Nice video

  • Reply Daniel Madden February 27, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    Filth Labortories

  • Reply abuHamzah AL February 27, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    And now u help China CCP with this silly Evolution Theory!
    Just remember when u start dying not to pray for God and seek help from Nature!

  • Reply Adam Thapazz February 27, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Loved the presentation…👏👏

  • Reply Shiroi Hana February 27, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks for this video, it needs to become viral cause when Googling about it, real info is buried under sensational clickbait titles.

  • Reply Kalel B. February 27, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Excelente vídeo

  • Reply E Subham Patra February 27, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Please upload videos on a regular basis

  • Reply Deconverted Man February 27, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    Why do viruses do this? Do we need them, are there any good ones?

  • Reply Moustafa Mohsen February 27, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    You need to put the patron link in the desc

  • Reply Impolite Vegan February 27, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    So basically half come from animal agriculture and the other half humans killing animals wild animals. So from Carnism.

  • Reply oussama charif February 27, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Happy you are back … 👌😊

  • Reply SUBHAV NOGIA February 27, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Greatly explained video ! Great vvork JOHN PERRY !

  • Reply Enheduanna February 27, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    The fear-mongering over it has been ridiculously exaggerated, the RNA+ that envelops Coronavirus renders it susceptible to relatively high temperatures.

  • Reply VeroMithril February 27, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Conspiracy theory just like religion is the seek of easy answers and the consequence of fear

  • Reply Peter St February 27, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    Viruses are nanomachines created by aliens and they distributed them throughout the universe billions of years ago.

  • Reply VeroMithril February 27, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    Easy answers can produce lazy gurus who seek shortcuts to power

  • Reply Robert Diehl February 27, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    The question is, what are the possibilities of a mutating super virus, coming out of the 7.5 billion people on this planet? Seems likely the more people there are the more the virus will gestate into a super bug that hits all markers ie: the virus would be able to infect humans via air transfer. It’s effects would be very fast and rapidly fatal. So fast in fact there would be little to no chance of survival for humans.

  • Reply ameen 30 February 27, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Can I have it in Arabic pls! I want to show it to my Arabic school

  • Reply FahQ February 27, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Made in China

  • Reply guiguspi February 27, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Every time a rewatch an old or watch a new video of this channel I'm always surprised by the high quality. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Kaan Can Koç February 27, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Best channel.

  • Reply Chimkinnuggers2888 February 27, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    So this wasent corona advertising gone wild?

  • Reply Carl Fields February 27, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    This is great, John. I use several of your videos over the course of my Bio class,and this will be a great addition. Thanks for the helpful information!

  • Reply Edward Wong February 27, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    This is so useful, thanks for telling people the truth and misconceptions and clickbait. I think this corona event has brought the world no good and racism, thanks

  • Reply See Thomas Howl February 27, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Most of them seem to come from China. Low hanging fruit, I know.

  • Reply Zulu Kaygee February 27, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Thank you.

  • Reply Barry Desborough February 27, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    You gotta problem? Your best bet for controlling it is to understand it, and not by appointing someone to control it who is ideologically opposed to scientific understanding.

  • Reply 161166 49 February 27, 2020 at 4:01 pm

  • Reply An0nim0u5 February 27, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    Stated beautifully!

  • Reply Zift Ylrhavic Resfear February 27, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    Here is a comment for the algorithm

  • Reply Ron Nazareth February 27, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    It's horrible how fast they evolve
    Since their lifespan is short, things get complicated so quickly.

  • Reply 夏伟杰 February 27, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    a good video!

  • Reply Bridventure PR February 27, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    So! Nature is the culprit! 😁. But before we sentence nature, do we fully know about nature's nature? We may never discover a final answer.

    Thx to human penchant to probe & experiment we know how to befriend nature at each breakout & keep looking for new mutant ninjas among viruses.

  • Reply Alexander Pushkin February 27, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    Why and how mutations happens? And where did the first viruses come from?

  • Reply Randall Wilks February 27, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    It is reassuring that Trump has taken action on this virus; he told Pence to "handle it". We can expect a prayer vigil any day now.

  • Reply randomv3iwer February 27, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    It is the same story with all other epidemics. An outbreak happens, containment measures are enacted, no cure whatsoever, infection disappearing with death of host, and then back to daily life routine

  • Reply starventure February 27, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Thank you for leaving the door open on the possibility of nCovid-19 being a lab escapee. The genome of this virus has been posted online, and one thing that is striking about it is the high number of mutated(or tampered with) segments when compared to the most closely related coronavirus. nCovid-19 does not readily fit into the family tree of coronaviruses, which makes it very suspicious in origin. I’m not going to say it is a certainty, but there is a fair amount of evidence to indicate this is an intentionally genetically altered virus.

  • Reply dvdjspr February 27, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Okay, the sneezing pangolin is probably the cutest thing I've seen on this channel.

  • Reply Rafa Peris Salvador February 27, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Great video. Thanks for spreading the science virus 🙂
    I put a link to a great recent documentary about "Pangolins, the world's most wanted animal"

  • Reply Opal Dragon February 27, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    I got an banner at the bottom that is from the World Health Organization, don't trust them off the bat!! Triple check stuff they claim when talking about the COVID-19 virus in China. Lets just say they have been claiming stuff that "under plays" what is going on with the viruses spread. Too many Organization have been cow-towing to the government of China, W.H.O. is one of them that is doing just that.

    If you listen to and trust W.H.O. with only later finding out you maybe be infected cause of that…. YOU ARE NOW A [email protected]! If you don't want to believe me, fine, but it is harmless to check with other non-connected sources. (make sure they have no connection to W.H.O.)

  • Reply John Jones February 27, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    As usual, great job. Clear and accurate.

  • Reply Juby Thomas February 27, 2020 at 5:28 pm


  • Reply B K February 27, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    Our obsession with eating animals will be our own demise

  • Reply grrinc February 27, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    A really great video. Very educational and easy to watch.

  • Reply budd2nd February 27, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    The info that this virus could have come from killing pangolins, needs to go viral. Maybe it might help protect the endangered pangolin population.

  • Reply Purneshwar Sahu February 27, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you and love from India.

  • Reply Michael Perry February 27, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Awesome video.

  • Reply Randall Wilks February 27, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    There are viruses that infect and replicate within bacteria. They are called Bacteriophages or sometimes just 'phage', from the Greek word 'to devour'. They exist within humans and other organisms and are normally harmless to them, attacking specific bacteria. They attach to bacterial cells and inject a viral genome into the cell forcing it to produce countless more phages which eventually burst out, destroying the bacteria.

    That fact has given rise to Phage Therapy for the treatment of bacterial infections. This is nothing new, it was used to some effect as far back as WWI. Their use declined with the development of penicillin and other antibiotics, but since the development of new antibiotics lags behind the ability of bacteria to mutate, they are given renewed attention. Antibiotics can also wipe out the gut biome which offers protection from opportunistic infections.

    The term 'phage', is also found in the word Phagocyte; which is a cell, part of the immune system, that can engulf and destroy particles, such as bacteria and other microorganisms or foreign matter.

  • Reply kp p February 27, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Hold on a sec, ebola was contained in 2013?!!!
    Is there video on ebola sir from you?

  • Reply Kompat Ekkawinsakul February 27, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    People who think the virus came from bioweapon lab shouldn't invest in any form because you clearly fail a statistic class from school. It very unlikely that it came from the bioweapon lab and what the history show about how the virus came from (statistically) it likely came in the same way. Stupid conspiracy theorists…

  • Reply Nakki Nyan February 27, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    Seriously? The same WHO that praised China on how good of a job they have done so far containing this mess and is now lying about the numbers of infected?

    "The speed with which China detected the outbreak, isolated the virus, sequenced the genome and shared it with WHO and the world are very impressive, and beyond words. So is China's commitment to transparency and to supporting other countries, in many ways, China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response,"


  • Reply Kirito February 27, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    I am Brazilian (I speak Portuguese) and my English is terrible, could it be subtitled in Portuguese sometimes?

  • Reply Spliter February 27, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    I had never thought about the possibility of viruses intermixing when two infect the same cell, that's really cool!
    still, it seems that the current outbreak is the largest one in 21st century, 80.000 people confirmed infected according to who.

  • Reply Shad Manigat February 27, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    i shared , thanks for educate us
    this is how i support

  • Reply rghmf February 27, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    but WHY? why is covid19 so alarming? we have other corona viruses that are far too deadly

  • Reply linggiman February 27, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    Brilliant..Hope to see a new video explaining the process of "radio carbon dating" from you in the future. Cheers

  • Reply Jørgen Christensen February 27, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you!

  • Reply Skshadman Abdullah February 27, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Coronavirus After This Video Comes Out: Guys… I think we have a problem…

  • Reply TheTsar ofAll February 27, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    Getting infected by a virus is like getting gangbanged by a bunch of miniscule printing presses.

  • Reply Gary Avey February 27, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    The new viruses are not new they have always existed in something and they have jumped the food chain sometimes they are affected by chemicals and mutate into a new strain that was probably infecting a certian animal they could also be made in the lab and escaped or even purposely let out,this second situation is more serious, as there is no telling who is doing this or what reason,it boggles the mind .Pestilences is one of the signs of the last days spoken by Jesus 2,000 years ago Luke 21:10,11 ) Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another food shortages and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.

  • Reply Keith Chamberlain February 27, 2020 at 11:50 pm

    Where Do New Viruses Come From? Uhm… China… apparently.

  • Reply LivvieLynn February 28, 2020 at 12:14 am

    Your videos are always to the point and well… stated clearly. 🙂

  • Reply Heidy Z4e February 28, 2020 at 12:18 am

    Para cuando el video en español?

  • Reply Syberi388 February 28, 2020 at 12:30 am

    evidently, they come from chinese bioweapons laboratories

  • Reply Moss Stirling February 28, 2020 at 12:48 am


  • Reply George Seward February 28, 2020 at 2:22 am

    Level 4 cotangent bio lab right down the road from the famous seafood market in China , dont take my word for it , look it up for yourself. Some of this is good info and some bad. Evolution is bullshit too. Name me one time that matter has introduced any new information into the genome.

  • Reply Jesus Christ is Yahweh February 28, 2020 at 3:58 am

    Matthew 10:8
    Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

  • Reply Jesus Christ is Yahweh February 28, 2020 at 3:58 am

    Sicknesses and disease come from the second heaven

  • Reply Shawn Zhang February 28, 2020 at 4:35 am

    When humans think we are so smart, we discover new stuff. We might not realize that GOD is controlling all that.

  • Reply GamesGoodBeeBad February 28, 2020 at 4:45 am

    0:44 mwahahaha

  • Reply Joshua & Zerubbabel February 28, 2020 at 4:56 am


  • Reply Christine Q February 28, 2020 at 5:40 am

    The virus outbreak in China is not because the country is poor and medical conditions are poor, but because a seafood market in a Chinese city called "Wuhan" has some people illegally buying and selling wild animals, and some unreasonable people eating bats.

    This caused the virus to initially appear in this seafood market. However, there is a train station next to this seafood market. Some people got the disease there last December, but everyone thought it was a small cold or just a common flu.

    The key step in the spread of this virus is the Chinese New Year holiday in January this year. This is a large-scale routine population flow in China every year. Almost everyone will return to their hometown to celebrate the New Year. Wuhan is a big city, so many

    Migrant workers returned home and brought the virus to all parts of the country, which led to serious changes in the epidemic.

    Therefore, this human disaster has to start with a little bat.

    And these first people who started eating bats are the evil stars of humanity.

  • Reply lukomoon February 28, 2020 at 5:53 am

    EXCEPT! when the virus was made in a BIO WEAPON LAB, in Wuhan with a better than 90% probability of that, of course if your the CCP you pay for this propaganda

  • Reply Stated Clearly February 28, 2020 at 5:57 am

    Many are wanting to learn more about the two other hypotheses I mention in this video. I have an article on my website about this called "Did the new coronavirus come from a lab?"

  • Reply Priscilla Martinez February 28, 2020 at 6:33 am

    Thanks for another great video! -fan from Texas

  • Reply oldschoolman 144 February 28, 2020 at 6:39 am

    If you think about it man has been cheating death form bacterial and viral infection for less than 100 years and population growth has exploded. The way I see it is nature is just trying to balance books.

  • Reply kosmiq February 28, 2020 at 6:45 am

    He does realize that humans are animals too right

  • Reply Kris R February 28, 2020 at 7:14 am

    God made heaven and earth, the rest made in china.

  • Reply KinkedouNow February 28, 2020 at 7:19 am

    you said the virus is more likely to be naturally occurred, but you didn't state how likely it is for the virus to jump from different types of hosts. I think you need extra evidence to prove your claims, just as you said in the beginning about claims that this virus is man made

  • Reply Concupiscence February 28, 2020 at 7:33 am

    Good luck tryimg to make sure china didn't invent a new virus. We have the technology…we know the chinese govt are snakes…i wouldn't be so quick to rule out human intervention. Either way, still a wonderful video. We are about to see the next biggest pandemic since HiV…and itll be way bigger.

  • Reply Mark from New York February 28, 2020 at 7:51 am

    Trump is the man who said "If the market ever falls 1000 points whoever is president should be put on a rocket and fired into the sun. No excuses!" Load him up!

  • Reply justeatPH February 28, 2020 at 7:58 am

    very informative video, keep it up. Hugs all the way from Manila, kain lang! 😉

  • Reply Lourenço February 28, 2020 at 8:07 am

    Where are the React Andys??

    I'm looking at you xQc WeirdChamp

  • Reply Bullminator February 28, 2020 at 8:13 am

    Who is a joke right now. China paid them to stay silent.
    Also this virus was created by China in lab (coming from animal is just a propaganda). It was suposed to be used on people from Hong Kong (who are probaly still protesting) as a way to punish them.
    Since all the media had eyes on them and they cant use military, they went a more special route.

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