“A proper investigation should be transparent, objective, data-driven, inclusive of broad expertise, subject to independent oversight, and responsibly managed to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest.”
Legal Insurrection readers will note that since February, 2020 we have been covering reports regarding a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan, China being the origin of the coronavirus at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, veteran science writer Nicholas Wade recently published a detailed review of the pandemic, and made a persuasive case that a leak from a laboratory at the city’s Institute of Virology must be seriously considered as the original source of the contagion.
Now a group of 18 scientists have published in the journal Science argue that there is not yet enough evidence to rule out the possibility that the virus (i.e., SARS-CoV-2) escaped a lab in China, and they demand a “proper investigation” into the theory.
In a letter published Thursday in the journal Science, an international group of 18 biologists, immunologists and other scientists criticized the findings of a report released in March by a World Health Organization-led team into the pandemic’s origin and called for a more extensive evaluation of the two leading hypotheses: that the pandemic virus entered the human population and began spreading after escaping from a lab or after jumping to humans from infected animals.
The WHO-led team, which included scientists from China and several other countries, reported no definitive proof of either hypothesis. Yet, the scientists wrote, the team nevertheless concluded that an animal origin for the pandemic was the likelier scenario and devoted only four out of the report’s 313 pages to the possibility of a lab accident.
“We must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data,” the scientists wrote in the letter.
The signatories include virologists who have experience with bat viruses, which are the pathogens that are most like the virus causing the global COVID19 pandemic.
The group of scientists includes several prominent virologists, including Dr. Ralph Baric, one of the world’s top experts on the genetic interplay between bat and human coronaviruses, and who has worked with the research lab in Wuhan, China that is at the center of most of the lab-leak theories. When Baric spoke with Baker, he said he believed that the coronavirus had probably originated in bats, then evolved in humans over time without being noticed before the pandemic began, but also added that laboratory escape “probably” could not be ruled out, either.
Another scientist in the group, Dr. Jesse Bloom, who studies the evolution of viruses at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, told the New York Times that more evidence was required to reach a definitive conclusion, and that those who have already come to any such conclusion are overreaching. “Most of the discussion you hear about SARS-CoV-2 origins at this point is coming from, I think, the relatively small number of people who feel very certain about their views,” he said to the Times. “Anybody who’s making statements with a high level of certainty about this is just outstripping what’s possible to do with the available evidence.”
The letter also included a harsh assessment of the analysis offered by the World Health Organization (WHO) team’s assessment of the coronavirus origins, which was conducted with robust oversight by Chinese officials. The scientists demanded a proper investigation be conducted.
“The two theories were not given balanced consideration. Only 4 of the 313 pages of the report and its annexes addressed the possibility of a laboratory accident,” the letter published from the health experts reads.
“Notably, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus commented that the report’s consideration of evidence supporting a laboratory accident was insufficient and offered to provide additional resources to fully evaluate the possibility.”
…“A proper investigation should be transparent, objective, data-driven, inclusive of broad expertise, subject to independent oversight, and responsibly managed to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest.”
There is clearly a growing consensus that the possibility of a lab-leak from a Wuhan facility is a reasonable possibility and not some xenophobic hysteria designed to gin-up hatred against Asians.
Good luck getting the Chinese Communist Party leadership to agree with the science.DONATE
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