Scientists who declined lab-leak theory linked to Wuhan lab: Report

Scientists who declined the theory that Covid-19 leaked from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) had connections to the infamous lab, according to media reports.

All but one of the scientists who signed a letter published in The Lancet on March 7 last year rejecting the lab-leak theory had links to Chinese researchers, their colleagues or funders, The Telegraph reported.

The Lancet letter, signed by 27 scientists and initiated by British zoologist Peter Daszak, effectively shut down scientific debate into whether Coronavirus was manipulated or leaked from the Chinese lab.

Daszak is the president of the US-based nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance that has a direct connection with China. The firm has also funded research at the WIV.

The signatories stated that they “strongly condemned the conspiracy theories” surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, the report said.

The shocking revelation, made using a Freedom of Information request, revealed that an email sent by Daszak on February 8 revealed that he was urged to pen the letter by “our collaborators” in China for a “show of support”.

While Daszak eventually declared his involvement in the EcoHealth Alliance, he failed to mention that five other signatories also worked for the organisation, the said citing the newspaper.

Further, three of the signatories to the Lancet letter were from Britain’s Wellcome Trust, which has also funded work at the WIV. One of the signatories, Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of Sage and the director of the Trust, describes George Gao, the head of the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control, as an “old friend”.

Gao, who is also a former Wellcome Trust research assistant, had supported Daszak’s nomination to the National Academy of Sciences, the report said.

Even after almost two years since Covid-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the question of the virus’ origin still remains unanswered. Many claims have been made by several scientists and governments globally. The recent US intelligence report also could not yield a definitive conclusion as to whether the new Coronavirus jumped to humans naturally, or was it the result of a lab leak.

Meanwhile, the claims of US involvement have also been strong.

A new book by Australian investigative journalist Sharri Markson claimed that the US cash funded the infamous Wuhan virology lab. The book also claimed that the controversial research to make diseases more potent was backed by Anthony Fauci, US’ top infectious disease expert, Markson wrote in The Times.

Similarly, over 3,000 pages of Fauci’s work emails during the pandemic between January and June 2020, obtained by the Washington Post, Buzzfeed News and CNN through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), raised questions on whether he backed Chinese denials of the theory that Covid-19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.