Last month, a group of 18 scientists published a letter calling for a deeper investigation into the origins of COVID-19 which would give serious consideration to the lab-leak hypothesis – which posits that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Now, several of those scientists, including MIT and Harvard geneticist Alina Chan, admit that scientists avoided the lab-leak hypothesis because they didn’t want to be associated with then-President Trump, according to NBC News.
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Chan said there had been trepidation among some scientists about publicly discussing the lab leak hypothesis for fear that their words could be misconstrued or used to support racist rhetoric about how the coronavirus emerged. Trump fueled accusations that the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a research lab in the city where the first Covid-19 cases were reported, was connected to the outbreak, and on numerous occasions he called the pathogen the “Wuhan virus” or “kung flu.”
The shift reflects how some scientists who previously avoided the topic or were quick to dismiss it are grappling with enduring uncertainties about the virus’s origin, free from the politicization that clouded such discussions during the Trump administration.
So while America was told to follow the science, scientists chose to play politics.
“At the time, it was scarier to be associated with Trump and to become a tool for racists, so people didn’t want to publicly call for an investigation into lab origins,” said Chan.
Those who have ‘come around’ in recent months are also pointing to China’s lack of transparency.
There are three primary theories circulating, according to the report:
- The virus evolved naturally before spilling over into humans from an infected animal.
- The virus evolved naturally, but an employee at the lab became infected from a sample and accidentally “leaked” it into the community.
- Scientists at the lab were manipulating virus samples and accidentally or intentionally released the pathogen.
“If we had a pandemic that was sourced near to a BSL-4 lab in the U.S., the first thing you would be asking is if they were working with that pathogen in that lab,” said Andrew Reed, an expert on evolutionary genetics of infectious diseases and a professor of biology at Penn State – who cautioned that while the lab leak is plausible, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most probable explanation (it is).
As the Daily Wire notes, “David Asher, who led the Trump administration’s investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, said in an interview last month that he had biostatisticians from the U.S. government calculate that the odds of the coronavirus evolving from nature and they estimated that it was about 1-in-13 billion.”
If only ‘the science’ had been more interested in facts than politics, we’d be further down the road of accountability: