Another Scientist Who Publicly Dismissed Lab Leak Gave It Credence in Private Email

When it comes to the lab leak theory of Covid origins, there’s a lot of inconsistency between what scientists have announced in public and what they’ve revealed in private.

First, there was Professor Kristian Andersen, an American virologist. Writing to Anthony Fauci on 1st February 2020, he said of the virus that “some of the features (potentially) look engineered”, adding that he and several colleagues “all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory”.

Mere weeks later, Andersen co-authored a paper stating, “we do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible”.

Next, there was Professor Jeremy Farrar, head of the UK’s Wellcome Trust. He wrote in his book Spike that he initially believed there was a 50% chance the virus had leaked from a lab, and that other scientists to whom he’d spoke had put the percentage even higher.

Yet Farrar signed the infamous Lancet letter, which referred to claims that “COVID-19 does not have a natural origin” as “conspiracy theories”.

A new freedom of information request, made by the group U.S. Right to Know, has revealed that another author of the Lancet letter gave credence to the lab leak in a private email. Professor Charles Calisher, an American epidemiologist, said he did not see how “anyone could definitively state that the virus could not possibly have come from that lab”.

Interestingly, Calisher’s email was sent one month after the Lancet letter’s publication, which means he either changed his mind or was not expressing his true beliefs when he co-signed the letter.

According to a March 2021 article in the MIT Technology Review, Calisher said the “conspiracy-theory phrase” was “over the top”. However, the article doesn’t make clear whether Calisher believed this at the time he co-signed the letter, or whether he subsequently came to believe it.

In any case, calling the lab leak a “conspiracy theory” is a pretty strong statement. So if Calisher did change his mind about it, he could have let the public know – for example, by removing his name from the letter, or clarifying his position in some other public forum.

What’s more, in September of 2021, Calisher told The Telegraph that “the letter never intended to suggest that Covid might not have a natural origin, rather that there was insufficient data.” But this doesn’t make sense.

If the letter’s purposes was merely to suggest “there was insufficient data”, it wouldn’t have used the phrase “conspiracy theory”, or else it would have dismissed both the natural origin and the lab leak as “conspiracy theories”. For example, it might have said, ‘We stand together to strongly condemn unfounded speculation about the origin of COVID-19’.

There’s much about the official narrative on the lab leak that doesn’t add up. The public has a right to know why so many scientists made blatantly unscientific claims that contradict their private correspondence.

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