Scientists from around the world have criticised the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) investigation into the origins of Covid, saying that the agency has not properly looked into the lab leak theory. The group wrote in a letter to the academic journal Science: “Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover [from animals to humans] both remain viable.” Ian Birrell has more in the Mail on Sunday.
In a highly significant move, 18 scientists from the world’s top universities, including Cambridge, Harvard and Yale, have demanded further investigations into the origins of the pandemic…[They wrote:] “More investigation is needed to determine the origin of the pandemic. Knowing how Covid emerged is critical for informing global strategies to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks.”
The signatories include Ravindra Gupta, the Cambridge Geneticist who has played a key role in Britain’s response to variants.
Another is Ralph Baric, a U.S. epidemiologist who carried out controversial experiments on coronaviruses which included collaborating with Shi Zhengli – the Wuhan scientist nicknamed “Batwoman”.
Their research manipulated bat viruses to make them more infectious to human beings.
Although the work by Baric and Zhengli was funded through the EcoHealth Alliance charity, leaked emails revealed that Baric declined to join the charity’s British Director Peter Daszak in efforts to dismiss suggestions of a possible lab leak.
When the pandemic erupted, Daszak secretly organised a statement with some fellow scientists to the Lancet which “strongly condemned” conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid did not have a natural origin.
U.S. funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology was halted after it was reported by the Mail on Sunday.
Yet Daszak was asked to join a WHO joint study team into the pandemic origins, despite his clear conflicts of interest.
The new letter to Science criticises the WHO inquiry for claiming a laboratory leak was “extremely unlikely” when there is no strong evidence to support either theory.
“We must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data,” it said.
“A proper investigation should be transparent, objective, data-driven, inclusive of broad expertise, subject to independent oversight, and responsibly managed to minimise the impact of conflicts of interest.”
The criticism demonstrates how the ground is shifting fast on the issue as scientists and politicians challenge the conventional wisdom that Covid emerged naturally in Wuhan, the site of several key Chinese laboratories.
These labs include the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which specialises in the study of bat-borne viruses and where there are known safety concerns…
Only a few scientists and journalists dared challenge the narrative that dismissed the idea of a possible lab leak for the first year of the pandemic…
The argument began to shift when Stanford Microbiologist David Relman, another of the Science signatories, published a landmark paper demanding a serious investigation of both theories.
Worth reading in full.