Saturday, 16 April 2022

“This Shouldn’t Happen”: Inside the Virus-Hunting Nonprofit at the Center of the Lab-Leak Controversy

Vanity Fair, very left of centre, very Fauci supporting, does a very deep dive on the Lab Leak hypothesis on the origin of Covid. There’s a lot of smoke. So far no smoking gun. If this so-far circumstantial evidence were presented to 12 jurors I wonder how they would find (vs the competing theory that the origin was zoonotic). Here goes:

The dispute over COVID-19’s origins has become increasingly acrimonious, with warring camps of scientists trading personal insults on Twitter feeds. Natural-origin proponents argue that the virus, like so many before it, emerged from the well-known phenomenon of natural spillover, jumping from a bat host to an intermediate species before going on to infect humans. Those suspecting a lab-related incident point to an array of possible scenarios, from inadvertent exposure of a scientist during field research to the accidental release of a natural or manipulated strain during laboratory work. The lack of concrete evidence supporting either theory has only increased the rancor. “Everyone is looking for a smoking gun that would render any reasonable doubt impossible,” says Amir Attaran, a biologist and lawyer at the University of Ottawa. Without cooperation from the Chinese government, that may be impossible. [Read more...]

Why top scientists linked arms to tamp down public speculation about a lab leak—even when their emails, revealed via FOIA requests and congressional review, suggest they held similar concerns—remains unclear. Was it simply because their views shifted in favor of a natural origin? Could it have been to protect science from the ravings of conspiracy theorists? Or to protect against a revelation that could prove fatal to certain risky research that they deem indispensable? Or to protect vast streams of grant money from political interference or government regulation?


[By January 30 2020] The virus was spreading uncontrollably and the Chinese government was busy crushing anyone who spoke out: It ordered laboratory samples destroyed, punished doctors who raised alarms, and claimed the right to review any scientific research about COVID-19 ahead of publication, a restriction that remains in place today.