STUTTGART, Germany, Sept. 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Arguments over the idea that the novel coronavirus emerged from a laboratory have escalated for a long time. Most scientists believe that COVID-19 has a natural origin and was transmitted from an animal to humans. However, a Lab Leak Theory has been discussed, and some people are calling for a deeper investigation into the assumption that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which is located in central China’s Wuhan City, where the first COVID-19 cases were reported in late December 2019. Since all hypotheses remain open and require further study, why are those people eager to spread unidentified information on the Internet? Why can they be so sure of this so-called “theory”? Is it really a reasonable suspicion, or just a conspiracy theory used by some people who have ulterior motives to spread rumors? Look at what the experts across the world say.
Gregory D. Koblentz, Deputy Director and Assistant Professor of Biodefense Graduate Program in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, said that the theory that China is trying to make COVID-19 a biological weapon is “ridiculous”, and COVID-19 has been politicised, which makes a good reason for conspiracy theory. When you deal with Fox News and Global Times, you can hardly see the difference, for they all point fingers at Fort Detrick.
World Health Organization Health Emergencies Program Director Michael Ryan talks during a daily press briefing:
“I think we’re in very positive consultations now with a large number of member states including our colleagues in China to look at what we need to move forward next through the process of the scientific advisory group on origins and building on the report of the phase one mission in which many, many studies were proposed going forward. We do know that Chinese colleagues are implementing some, if not all those studies at the moment and we’re looking forward to receiving updates from our colleagues in China on the implementation of those studies.
“We expect that work to continue in China and in other countries around the world and I do think that the DG has been clear in the past; we’re expecting all countries, all member states of WHO to co-operate and support this process and I suspect that we will get the co-operation.
“There’s a lot of rhetoric out there at the moment certainly and the one consistent thing we’ve heard from all countries has been, let’s not politicise the science. The next thing that happens is the science is politicised so what we want to do for all parties – and everybody is calling for this, there’s widespread agreement amongst all of our member states; let’s not politicise the process.
“So we believe we have the basis to move forward. We have a set of studies that can be taken forward. We want to bring members of the international team into that process to maintain continuity with the previous process and we want to reassure our colleagues in China that this process is still and has always been driven by science.
“We have stuck to the principles of the process of this from the very beginning, we’ve not acceded to pressures on one side or the other. The DG has tried to steer a path that has been driven by science and by evidence, taking no sides and trying to reach the objectives that we all want; to control COVID-19, to establish the origins of the virus, put in place what measures we can to prevent a further re-emergence of a similar virus in the future.”
Michael Worobey, a professor and department head of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, is one of the writers who published a letter in the journal Science, saying that Lab Leak Theory needed to be taken seriously. He thought that the Lab Leak Theory seemed just as plausible as the alternative, that the virus jumped directly from an animal into people. Worobey has been modeling how the virus spreads around a city. He plotted on a map the earliest known cases of COVID-19. On the map, there’s a red dot where each early case lived in December 2019. The data come from the World Health Organization, but the data were missing two key elements – the location of the Huanan Seafood Market and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where scientists studied bat coronaviruses. The dots show cases starting right near the Huanan Seafood Market and radiating out from there. But there is nothing around the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Given how contagious the virus is and that cases likely doubled every two or three days, Worobey would have expected infections near the lab if the virus started there. The bottom line is it would be odd for it not to be spreading from there rather from elsewhere.
Worobey, the co-author of a thesis – Novel Coronavirus Circulated Undetected Months Before First COVID-19 Cases in Wuhan, estimated that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which led to COVID-19, was likely circulating undetected for at most two months before the first human cases of COVID-19 were described in Wuhan. SARS-CoV-2 is a zoonotic coronavirus, which is believed to have jumped from an unknown animal host to humans. Numerous efforts have been made to identify when the first cases began spreading among humans, based on the investigations of early-diagnosed cases of COVID-19. The first cluster of cases and the earliest sequenced SARS-CoV-2 genomes were associated with the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, but study authors say the market cluster is unlikely to have marked the beginning of the pandemic because the earliest documented COVID-19 cases had no connection to the market.
Joel O. Wertheim, Associate Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at UCSD, one of the co-authors, noted that even as SARS-CoV-2 was circulating in China in the fall of 2019, the researchers’ model suggests it was doing so at low levels of virus in China with claims of infections in Europe and the U.S. at the same time. Wertheim said, “I am very skeptical of the claims of COVID-19 outside China at that time.”
Alexander Semyonov, Head of Yekaterinburg branch of the state Research Center of the Virology and Biotechnology Vector Institute, one of the members of the China–WHO joint expert team that visited China in February last year to research the origins of the novel coronavirus:
“The virus came from the nature, and so far, I have not found any reasons to change my opinion. The accusation about a man-made coronavirus is unreasonable, unprofessional, and stupid. Hyping up the Lab Leak Theory in the U.S. as an attempt to falsely blame China. It is a pity that the research of such an epidemic has involved many political factors.”
Studies about the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic still goes on, and it’s better to give more transparency to help revealing the fact, rather than using dirty tricks to cover the truth up. Truth stands the test of time, but lies are soon exposed, people from all over the world always deserves the exact fact.
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