WHO staff and Chinese virologists reviewing the data in Wuhan.
Origins of Covid-19 Remain Unclear
Last May we wrote an article examining the etiology of the Covid-19 pandemic and related epidemics and pandemics in the last twenty years. At the time we were surprised to see very little written in the US media about the causes of Covid-19 in the US media, and so we thought we' research the world press and professional journals to do something ourselves. We fully stand by the article, but for one point having to do with the “laboratory-based scenario.” We said then that “scientists insist there is no evidence to support a charge that the virus was released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, either accidentally or intentionally.” As one team of biologists and other experts put it at the time, “We do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.”
One year later, we need to qualify that statement. An investigative team of WHO and Chinese experts recently reported that a zoonotic spillover to humans remained the most likely source of Covid-19, but when they sampled over 80,000 wildlife, livestock, and poultry samples none tested positive for the virus before or after the December, 2019, outbreak. They also stated that a mistaken leak from the lab in Wuhan was the least likely pathway, but they didn’t investigate the possibility, perhaps owing to restrictions placed on their investigation by the Chinese government. The team itself called for further investigation. Meanwhile, Beijing has called the idea of a laboratory leak “farcical” and claims that frozen food packaging imported into China is the likely source.
A separate group of scientists have now written two open letters, calling for a “full scientific and forensic investigation into all possible origins,” and they’ve included a list of questions about the laboratory and its work. The head of the WHO, Teodoro Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has stated that there needs to be a second investigation and that all theories must be considered.
We do not, of course, presume to know but will await the results of further investigation. Hopefully, the Chinese government will not prevent the world from getting an accurate answer.