WHO chief now says that it was ‘premature’ to rule out lab leak possibility.
We are about six weeks into the 90-day deadline the Biden administration set for a report into the origins of COVID-19.
The last time we checked on the status of this report, officials indicated that the analysis may not be “definitive” as to how the pandemic started.
Now it appears that the administration is warming to the idea that the SARS-Cov-2 virus leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
Senior Biden administration officials overseeing an intelligence review into the origins of the coronavirus now believe the theory that the virus accidentally escaped from a lab in Wuhan is at least as credible as the possibility that it emerged naturally in the wild — a dramatic shift from a year ago, when Democrats publicly downplayed the so-called lab leak theory.
Still, more than halfway into President Joe Biden’s renewed 90-day push to find answers, the intelligence community remains firmly divided over whether the virus leaked from the Wuhan lab or jumped naturally from animals to humans in the wild, multiple sources familiar with the probe told CNN.
Little new evidence has emerged to move the needle in one direction or another, these people said. But the fact that the lab leak theory is being seriously considered by top Biden officials is noteworthy and comes amid a growing openness to the idea even though most scientists who study coronaviruses and who have investigated the origins of the pandemic say the evidence strongly supports a natural origin.
Interestingly, during a hearing of a subcommittee for the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology this week, microbiologists explored a range of theories regarding the pandemic’s source point. One of the these experts commented on the “risky” research being conducted by scientists in Wuhan.
The second argument, the “lab-leak” theory, is based on the fact that “the closest known relatives of SARS CoV-2” were found more than 1,000 miles from Wuhan, but the laboratory with the largest collection of bat-associated coronaviruses in the world is in Wuhan. [David Relman, MD, a microbiologist and professor at Stanford University School of Medicine in California] also cited the “risky work” occurring at laboratories in Wuhan and the fact that lab accidents also happen “more often than we had thought.”
Additionally, he pointed to the lack of transparency and incomplete data samples and sequences shared by those laboratories.
This development aligns with statements from the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), who acknowledged it was premature to rule out a potential link between the COVID-19 pandemic and a laboratory leak.
In a rare departure from his usual deference to powerful member countries, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said getting access to raw data had been a challenge for the international team that traveled to China earlier this year to investigate the source of COVID-19. The first human cases were identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Tedros told reporters that the U.N. health agency based in Geneva is “asking actually China to be transparent, open and cooperate, especially on the information, raw data that we asked for at the early days of the pandemic.”
He said there had been a “premature push” to rule out the theory that the virus might have escaped from a Chinese government lab in Wuhan – undermining WHO’s own March report, which concluded that a laboratory leak was “extremely unlikely.”
“I was a lab technician myself, I’m an immunologist, and I have worked in the lab, and lab accidents happen,” Tedros said. “It’s common.”
Meanwhile, as the world braces for a “third wave” of coronavirus, China reports that a mere 30 new cases have been detected.
China reported 30 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the mainland on July 16, compared with 36 a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Saturday.
Twenty eight of the new cases were imported and two were locally transmitted, data from the National Health Commission showed.
China also reported 20 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases in the mainland, compared with 23 a day earlier. China does not classify asymptomatic infections as confirmed cases.
If only Chinese science and engineering matched its propaganda, then perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic would never have begun.DONATE
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