Dr.Chandra Wickramasinghe, who is well known for the work in astronomy and astrobiology, has the idea that the virus lived on a comet. A piece of that space rock may have fallen to China during a meteor shower in October 2019. He says that such incidents may have occurred in the past also, causing similar outbreaks.
Previously Dr.Wickramasinghe theorized that SARS also came from outer space. He co-wrote a book with Fred Hoyle in the past at 1970 called “Diseases from Space”. He has tried to prove his theories that viruses did come from outer space.
Some scientist, however, does not agree with the theory. They do not accept Wickramasinghe’s suggestions that some illnesses may have come from outer space. They say that his ideas are pseudoscience or “bad science”.
Dr.Graham Lau who hosts “Ask an Astrobiologist,” says that it’s very difficult to believe that viruses can survive the radiation in space and the journey to earth through the atmosphere. After surviving such a hard journey, the virus then has to find a way to infect living beings. while it would be an incredibly unique and groundbreaking finding if this were true, Wickramasinghe simply does not have evidence to support his claims, Lau said.
In an interview with space.com, Lau says “Even though it’s an interesting idea, we just don’t have any reason to embrace that idea right now”.
“I think it’s important for scientists to point out pseudoscientists or bad science,” Lau added. “If this was real, it’d be great, but we just can’t allow ourselves to jump to the feel-good conclusion without doing our due diligence as scientists.”
Dr.Lau says that if this virus had some different biomolecules from known life, then there might be a reason to investigate if the virus originated in space. He says even in that case, there may be earthly explanations.
Wickramasingha’s theory is related to the theory of panspermia which is an unproven theory which says that life on Earth originated from microorganisms and biological material from space. Lau says panspermia is theoretically acceptable although there’s no concrete evidence.