The Lancet appears to have had a change of heart on the lab leak theory, having published an article calling for an “objective, open and transparent debate” on Covid’s origins – a whole 19 months after writers “strongly condemn[ed] conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid does not have a natural origin“. The idea that the evidence points away from the lab leak theory and towards a natural origin “could [now] literally be reversed”, say the authors of the new article. “There is no direct support for the natural origin of SARS-CoV-2, and a laboratory-related accident is plausible.” The Mail on Sunday has more.
It was revealed earlier this year that Peter Daszak – a British scientist with long-standing links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology – had secretly orchestrated a landmark statement in the Lancet in February 2020 which attacked “conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid does not have a natural origin”.
The now-infamous letter, signed by 27 leading public health experts, said they stood together to “strongly condemn” the theories which they said “do nothing but create fear, rumours, and prejudice”.
They also lavished praise on Chinese scientists who they said had “worked diligently and effectively to rapidly identify the pathogen behind this outbreak… and share their results transparently with the global health community”.
Now, the Lancet has agreed to publish an alternative commentary which discusses the possibility that laboratory research might have played a role in the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
It also directly confronts the efforts of science journals to stifle debate by labelling such theories as “misinformation”. …[The authors say] the February 2020 statement “imparted a silencing effect on the wider scientific debate”.
And they say scientists, “need to evaluate all hypotheses on a rational basis, and to weigh their likelihood based on facts and evidence, devoid of speculation concerning possible political impacts”.
Science itself, they go on, should “embrace alternative hypotheses, contradictory arguments, verification, refutability, and controversy” and rather than congratulating China on its supposed “transparency”, they call on the secretive superpower to open up.
Worth reading in full.