High-profile scientists embroiled in the controversy over the origin of Covid have admitted that the lab leak theory was political.
Internal Slack communications obtained by a House subcommittee investigating the early days of the pandemic showed how scientists who wrote a paper dismissing the idea of a lab accident feared retaliation from the Chinese government.
Dr. Andrew Rambaut, a biologist at the University of Edinburgh, co-authored a 2020 Nature Medicine research article titled ‘The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2’ that dismissed lab leak theorists as conspiracy theorists and racists. .
Private messages show Dr Rambaut feared blaming China for ‘even an accidental release’ of the virus would create a geopolitical ‘s*** show’, and was therefore ‘content to blame it on natural processes.’
One responder to that message was Danish biologist Dr Kristian Andersen, a Danish evolutionary biologist and co-author of the paper, who responded to Dr Rambaut by saying that he ‘completely agrees.[s] That this is a very reasonable conclusion’, adding: ‘Although I hate when politics is introduced into science – it is impossible to do, especially given the circumstances.’
Private messages show that Dr Rambaut feared blaming China for ‘even an accidental release’ of the virus would cause a geopolitical ‘s*** show’, and was therefore ‘content to blame it on natural processes’.
Dr. Christian Andersen of Scripps Research testifies during a hearing with the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2023, in Washington, DC.
Dr. Robert Gary (left), professor at Tulane University School of Medicine, also attended. Committee members met to hear testimony from medical researchers about the origins of Covid-19
The infamous Proximal Origins paper was commissioned in part by Dr. Anthony Fauci, then head of the US National Research Agency that funded the risky virus research at the Wuhan lab.
House Republicans grilled two doctors at the center of a fight over whether the coronavirus originated in nature or a lab in Wuhan.
They cited newly published communications between scientists in the early 2020s as evidence of a cover-up – which scientists strongly denied.
In a report released early Tuesday ahead of the hearing, House Republicans pointed to the myriad efforts of scientists searching for the origins of Covid and what they said amounted to brazenly squashing voices that have advocated for a more serious investigation into the theory that the virus leaked from a nearby Wuhan institute. of virology.
The witnesses, Dr. Christian Anderson and Dr. Robert Garry, co-authored the February 2020 report ‘The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2’, which was released days after a conference call in which top virus scientists including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins Frenzied messages have been expressed from virologists about the possibility that the aspects are man-made.
Internal messages show that even Dr. Andersen considered the argument that the genomic makeup of the virus suggested human tampering, although he changed his tune just four days later on February 4, as evidenced by an e-mail from Dr. Andersen obtained by the investigative group Right to Know.
In the message, Dr Andersen wrote: ‘The main crackpot theories at the moment relate to this virus being somehow engineered on purpose and this is clearly not the case.’
In a series of now-public responses highlighted by House GOPs, Dr Andersen also said: ‘Although I hate when politics seep into science – it’s impossible to do, especially given the circumstances. We should be sensitive about that.’
When Dr. Andersen was asked about his involvement, Dr. Wenstrup waved goodbye.
Dr. Wenstrup said: ‘Smile as you like, Dr. Andersen, laugh as you like.’
At the same time scientists noted that pinning the origin of Covid on China would prompt a ‘s*** show’, Dutch scientist Dr Ron Fuchsier added to the concern that the debate over possible lab leaks from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, whether intentional or accidental, ‘in general will do unnecessary harm to science and especially to science in China.’
House Republican lawmakers, generally scornful of China, find the Communist Party in power there too conciliatory and conciliatory. One such lawmaker, Representative Nicole Maliotakis of New York, trained her sights on Dr Rambaut’s incriminating message and said: ‘His concern was whether he would piss off China, that’s his concern.
‘Something has happened here [in the brief time between Dr Fauci’s first contact with Dr Andersen in early 2020]. Politicians can flip-flop. Scientists don’t flip-flop in 72 hours.’
Although China has insisted that the virus originated elsewhere, academics, politicians and the media have pondered the possibility that it leaked from a high-level biochemical lab in Wuhan – raising suspicions that Chinese officials initially hid evidence of the spread.
Shi Zhengli – dubbed the ‘Bat Lady’ of ‘Bat Woman’ for her work on the bat coronavirus – investigated the possibility that Covid emerged from her lab in 2020, according to colleagues. Here he is pictured working with other researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2017
Dr. Anderson and Dr. Gary refuted this statement by saying that they did not flip-flop, but instead learned new information about the virus and changed their hypothesis, a textbook application of the scientific method.
Republican efforts to eliminate exactly where the virus came from, whether from the sale of virus-contaminated animals in Wuhan’s wet market or from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, are designed to expose the inner workings of scientific authorities like Dr. Fauci. and Dr. Collins – colloquially called the ‘Bethesda Boys’ by Republicans.
The issue has become highly politicized after certain scientists, including Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins, at the center of the controversy were identified as clearly biased in favor of theories offered by many Democrats and government-owned scientists.
This includes the theory that Covid-19 probably jumped from an animal intermediary host before infecting humans.