Monday, June 26, 2023

COVID-19 Origin: The Finger Points to the Lab Leak Hypothesis

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine

Ed Hessler

New data based on US government sources on the origin of COVID-19 is the subject of a story on Public Substack by by Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag. 
To cut to the chase their evidence points to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) from which it accidentally escaped.

The report notes that "After years of official pronouncements to the contrary, significant new evidence has emerged that strengthens the case that the SARS-CoV-2 virus accidentally escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).

"According to multiple U.S. government officials interviewed as part of a lengthy investigation by Public and Racket, the first people infected by the virus, “patients zero,” included Ben Hu, a researcher who led the WIV’s '  '"gain-of-function'” research on SARS-like coronaviruses, which increases the infectiousness of viruses.

" Now, answers look increasingly within reach."

In addition to Public, Racket was involved in "the lengthy investigation. Public and Racket are the first publications to reveal the names of the three sick WIV workers and place them directly in the lab that collected and experimented with SARS-like viruses poised for human emergence.

"Next week, the Directorate of National Intelligence is expected to release previously classified material, which may include the names of the three WIV scientists who were the likely among the first to be sickened by SARS-CoV-2."

The complicated story is distilled and covers the COVID19 landscape, .e.g, the claim by most governments almost from the beginning that "we may never know the origin", research at WIV that is implicating, a video from Chinese state-run television showing WIV researchers both in the lab and in the field wearing very little protective clothing, DARPA's decision to not fund such research with research at WIV going forward, a link to the U. S. State Department's fact sheet that points to the laboratory leak hypothesis as well as a supporting comment from FBI Director Christopher Wray, other media reporting and a link to a now famous pre-print paper (linked) noting the possibility of a lab leak. The author, Alina Chan was strongly "criticized as a conspiracy theorist."

And, of course, this adds more fuel to the desire to dig deeper and to know "the reason for the cover-up" by WIV and the Chinese government. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded gain-of-function research on closely related viruses although some scientists expressed concerns about the possibilities of viral escape. The reporting concludes with "what-ifs," i.e., what if some things had been done differently in the beginning.

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