Saturday, April 3, 2021

What if the former CDC director is right about the Wuhan labs?/ WaPo

Surprise!  Finally, a clear, non-partisan way forward, to face facts, and honestly investigate the origin of SARS-CoV-2 and the Covid pandemic. 

Josh Rogin explains in a WaPo Opinion how to rethink the origins narrative.  And he quotes Nicolai Petrovsky in Australia to inform us that we really need a rethink about all the "gain of function" aka biowarfare research, worldwide, so this never happens again. First, we have to stop spending billions to pay for it.

Ingrained narratives are hard to correct. In his biographical essay “Why Orwell Matters,” Christopher Hitchens quotes George Orwell on the “power of facing unpleasant facts.” Orwell knew it was difficult but important to pull back from our political affiliations, biases and past conclusions to reckon with uncomfortable realities and potentially explosive questions — questions such as: What if Robert Redfield is right about the Wuhan labs?

Before Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the coronavirus outbreak, endorsed it, the mere discussion of the still-unproven theory that the covid-19 outbreak might have been connected to human error at a research laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan was considered taboo. The issue of the virus’s origin has been horrendously politicized, by both the right and the left. The Chinese government and U.S. scientists who are close associates of the Wuhan scientists doing bat coronavirus research have tarred anyone who uttered it as conspiracy theorists, or worse (in their eyes), as pro-Trump.

And although it’s true the Trump administration contributed to this politicization, it’s also true that the Biden administration has confirmed some of the Trump team’s factual claims about suspicious and still-undisclosed work at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which amounts to a direct challenge to the lab’s claim that it has been transparent and honest.

Further challenging the official narrative, Redfield told CNN in an interview released last week that he believes the outbreak likely did originate from research in the Wuhan labs, based on how the virus acts. But though he is a trained virologist who saw the underlying intelligence, he was accused of spreading speculation and even fueling hate.

Then, on Tuesday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus rebuked the findings of the WHO’s own joint study with Chinese scientists into the origins and explicitly called for more investigation into the lab-accident theory. The United States and 13 other countries also issued a joint statement calling for a “transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence.”

Richard H. Ebright, a Rutgers University microbiologist and biosafety expert, told me we must begin a difficult, uncomfortable conversation about this investigation’s scope and the vast implications if the theory is true. He said the entire genre of research Redfield was referring to, known as gain-of-function research (in which viruses are captured from the wild and developed in lab settings to make them more dangerous), needs to be thoroughly reexamined.

“The very fact that it could have been of laboratory origin, even if that cannot be substantiated, means we need to understand that there is risk in this research that may have triggered the current pandemic and surely could trigger a future pandemic,” he said.

This work must begin even before the investigation into the pandemic’s origins is complete, Ebright argued, for a simple reason. The world’s current plan to respond to the pandemic entails a huge expansion of precisely this type of research. The $200 million program meant to “predict” virus outbreaks is set to grow into a $1.2 billion Global Virome Project, which has the stated goal of discovering 500,000 new viruses capable of transmission to people.

“The plan is, having failed to predict and preempt and having possibly triggered the current pandemic, to increase the scale six times,” Ebright said.

Even before the pandemic, many scientists argued that hunting viruses in the wild has marginal scientific value, and that the money spent on prediction would be better used for monitoring and screening in the places outbreaks are likely. But most scientists involved in virus research are beholden to the current system and therefore silent or defensive, Ebright said.

Flinders University medical professor Nikolai Petrovsky, one of more than two dozen scientists, including Ebright, who signed an open letter calling for a full and independent investigation into covid-19’s origins, told me the Chinese government now realizes it can’t prevent a real investigation into the Wuhan labs and therefore is calling for all such labs worldwide to be investigated. And that, he says, is actually a great idea.

“I agree this is entirely appropriate, although clearly most of the immediate focus would need to be on the Wuhan labs, given their geography and the work they were doing,” he said.

If Redfield is right, that would mean China bears some accountability for the outbreak, which will greatly complicate already tense relations. If Redfield is right, that would also mean the U.S. government had a big role in supporting the research that resulted in the pandemic outbreak. If Redfield is right, the current response plan could greatly increase, not reduce, the risk of another pandemic.

These are all very unpleasant facts. But facts are stubborn things. And we have no choice but to pursue all possible theories and accept whatever truth the facts lead to. This must be done in a nonpolitical way, to show Beijing and the world that we still have the ability to place public health and truth above the narratives to which we have become beholden.


Anonymous said...

Meryl, remember the old adage, he who frames the debate wins the argument. It is an old trick to float a straw-man argument, simply to distract from the truth. The debate should be about who intentionally released COVID on the world.

After more than a decade of development in Wuhan, funded by Fauci and Gates, how amazingly coincidental that a nano-second after Event 201 has its final meeting, the virus shows up on every continent on the planet, on virtually the same day. Viral spread does not occur that way - ever - even in the age of air travel.

Cui bono? A reasonable thought would be about who will make a lot of money from the release of COVID, or who had other objectives that will benefit from COVID? If you didn't know better given the depravity of the act, you might just wonder if COVID likely would have been released out of the Gates of Hell...!

Dr Chris King said...

The mere call by the Australian prime minister for an investigation into the origins of the virus prompted China to launch an extremely aggressive and punitive trade war against Australia, which relies heavily on China for our exports. Talk about hyper-reactivity! That reaction by China is very telling...

Anonymous said...

Empty half the Earth of its humans. It's the only way to save the planet | Cities | The Guardian

John said...

WHO’s “exciting adventure” to find the origins of COVID-19 runs into trouble - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Did former CDC director offer a ham sandwich theory of COVID-19? Maybe. Maybe not. - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists