On Friday last, the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet published an article by 16 scientists calling for “an objective, open and transparent scientific debate” about the origins of the Covid-19 virus.
The publication is significant given that the journal has for much of the period since the outbreak supported the claims that the virus could only have had a natural origin through the transmission from infected bats to humans. It has come under attack over this since it was revealed that one of the key movers behind a letter published in The Lancet in February 2020 had a personal interest in restricting the scope of any inquiry into that theory.
Peter Daszak of the American based company EcoHealth Alliance which was engaged in research at Wuhan where the virus first publicly appeared persuaded other scientists to sign a letter which dismissed any claim that Covid might have originated in gain of function research or had escaped into the population by means of a leak from the Virology Institute at Wuhan as “conspiracy theories.”
As Gript, uniquely among the Irish media has several times reported, a series of events including the release under United States Freedom of Information requests related to emails sent to Dr. Anthony Fauci has re-opened that debate. The Biden Administration ordered a full intelligence investigation into the possible origins of the virus several months ago. The full report has not yet been declassified but as Gript revealed, leaks from the report leave the possibility of a lab leak open.
The scientists who signed the article published in The Lancet last week completely reject the claim that the natural origin theory is settled and baldly state that “There is so far no scientifically validated evidence that directly supports a natural origin.” They note the general acceptance that Covid did descend from a natural virus but that “this does not explain how it came to infect humans.”
Most significantly, perhaps, the authors claim that the dismissal of any possibility of direct human engineering in the evolution of the virus is open to question as there has been no evidence to prove how the virus transmitted itself naturally from bat to human. As others, including the leaks from the American intelligence report, have pointed out a key source for determining the answers to all of this are the sites, samples and data which the Chinese authorities have refused to make available to international researchers.
The authors claim on the basis of their examination of all current evidence that, “a research-related origin is plausible.” Even the Chinese themselves have perversely acknowledged that in their ongoing and recently ramped up propaganda campaign based on the virus having been the consequence of a deliberate United States military programme.
Something which again is almost never reported upon in the mainstream western press as even the strongest defenders of the Chinese position recognise the absurdity of this. On the one hand they are defending a natural origin theory, as the Chinese and people like Daszak continue to do for western audiences, while on the other hand the regime is bombarding its own people and more receptive ears in the developing world that are part of the Belt and Road Initiative with a political message.
As evidence of the possibility of the virus having come about as a consequence of gain of function research, the paper refers to “unusual features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence.” They also cite research on previous research into gain of function which involved among others the experimentation on genetically humanised mice. A line of research that scientists are increasingly calling into question for ethical reasons.
So, far from the possibility of the virus having come about as a consequence of such dubious research being some weird “conspiracy theory,” this paper forensically documents through references to a range of research that describes how gain of function has been a focus of laboratory work on pathogens, and also evidence of how and where such pathogens can and have escaped.
The authors conclude with a call for a full and open debate backed with research into all possibilities related to the origins of Covid-19. They also tellingly, and with a not too subtle dig at Daszak and the others who promoted the natural origin theory to the exclusion of all others, dismiss the notion that the scientific debate on Covid ought to be guided by calls for “unity” among the international scientific community, and least of all that it be guided by “dogmas.”
Which is exactly what Daszak and others were attempting to do with success until several months ago when this article would never have seen the light of day in a journal such as The Lancet.