US Expert Fauci: “I’m not convinced” the virus is not man-made

About three weeks ago, we reported on a lengthy report and investigation by US Science writer Nicholas Wade, which suggested that the preponderance of the evidence suggests that Covid 19 did not, as scientists have suggested for nearly two years, transmit naturally from bat to human being. Instead, his work suggested, the evidence seems stronger that the virus originated from “gain of function experiments” funded by the US and Chinese Governments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

That theory, it seems, has finally started to gain traction amongst the great and the good.

In the case of Anthony Fauci, though, his latest comments are even more notable because they represent a one hundred and eighty degree turn from his previous position. Last year, when then-President Donald Trump suggested (without, it should be said, citing any evidence) that the virus originated in the lab, Fauci shot him down, in public:

At the time, Trump did not make any evidence for his views available, but claimed that he had “seen evidence” that suggested that the virus came from a lab. Not so, said Fauci:

“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated … Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species.”

That is, slash was, a very definitive position. And it is completely at odds with the reporting of Wade, linked above.

Which makes this statement from Fauci all the more notable:

He’s “not convinced” now and wants an investigation. That is a very big shift in his position.

The problem here, of course, is that very few people are massively incentivised to find out the truth, if the truth is that the virus came from a laboratory.

The Chinese, obviously, would not want that fact becoming public. It was their laboratory, after all. It was their scientists. Scientists accidentally unleashing a destructive virus upon the world would not be great for China’s attempts to rebrand itself as a technological powerhouse.

The USA does not really want that story to circulate either, though. US funding was behind most of the work being conducted in that laboratory. Awkward questions about how Uncle Sam paid to create Covid are not what Biden wants at the moment – especially since the funding in question originated while he was Vice President, under Obama.

And the scientific community? Well, many of them would not be so keen either, for the simple reason that gain-of-function experiments have long been criticised as risky, and with very little upside. It is not hard to imagine them being banned, on foot of a disclosure of a lab leak.

None of this is to say, of course, that it definitively was a lab leak. But it is very notable how the mood music on this question has changed in a couple of weeks: You won’t find any serious players internationally now who are willing to rule it out.

That means the need for an investigation has never been higher. If this thing was unleashed by faulty experiments, and poor lab security, the world needs to know, so that it can never happen again. Chernobyl, as bad as it was, did not have this kind of global impact. And one does get the feeling that if ever there is a sudden mass extinction event that threatens the survival of the human race, the odds are that it will come from a place like Chernobyl, or the Wuhan Institute of Virology. We need to know, and we need to put safeguards in place.

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