In a statement on Wednesday, a group of virus experts proclaims that the origin of the coronavirus pandemic is an animal from the wildlife market in China and not a laboratory leak.
Blame The Animals And Not The Lab Leak For Coronavirus – Argue Top Scientists
A group of around 20 top scientists and experts from the UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia, and elsewhere say that the theory of a lab leak of coronavirus has no solid evidence but is based on coincidence.
Upon following the discussions to the White House regarding the possibility of the origin of a laboratory for the virus spread, these experts came together to work and analyze the evidence.
Robert Garry, a professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Tulane Medical School and one of the scientists signing the paper, told CNN that he was sure that they could make a strong argument that the virus was not a leak from a lab.
The experts displayed the published evidence in a review that they posted online before printing.
This evidence was signed by some of the leading experts in the genetics of viruses and coronaviruses that include an evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona, Kristian Andersen belonging to the Scripps Research Institute in California, Angela Rasmussen, belonging to the University of Saskatchewan, Steven Goldstein Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah, Andrew Rambaut belonging to the Institute of Evolutionary Biology placed at the University of Edinburgh, Jimmy Farrar of Britain’s Wellcome Trust and Joel Wertheim belonging to the University of California in San Diego.
Many of these have conducted their investigation to search into the possible origin of the coronavirus SARS-COV-2.
They all confirm that they are contented to say that they have a substantial form of scientific evidence to support the origin of SARS-CoV-2 to be zoonotic or an animal.
They further add that there has been no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 has its origins in a laboratory. Also, there is no evidence in any of the earlier cases of SARS-CoV-2 as regards any connection to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) against the epidemical links leading to the animal markets in and around Wuhan.
Additionally, there are no other shreds of evidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) was in possession or was working on a progenitor of the virus SARS-CoV-2 before the pandemic.
A virologist further went on to say that the theory of COVID-19 being a lab leak seems ridiculously out of a comic book.
The experts went on to say that the suspicion of SARS-CoV-2 being having an origin in the laboratory comes from a coincidence – it was first detected in a city that is home to a significant virological laboratory that undertakes coronavirus studies.
The experts note that it is not a surprise for the new virus to emerge in Wuhan. The reason being, Wuhan is one of the largest cities in central China, with numerous animal markets. It is also a major hub for travel and commerce. The city is well connected domestically within China as well as internationally, say the experts.
A WHO expert went on to say that the wildlife trade in Wuhan was the most likely pathway for the spread of coronavirus.
They further established that the link to Wuhan positively affirms the theory that pathogens often need heavily populated areas to confirm their existence.
Garry and his colleagues further say that it has to be ‘extremely unlikely’ for the leakage of the virus that the lab had been working on are actually of natural origin. Garry says that one needs to face not so likely set of circumstances for something of this nature to happen.
Does he further doubt a person at the lab was responsible for the leakage? How did the virus affect all the animal markets? Also, he says that there are more other likely ways for the virus to penetrate the human population. SARS 1 and SARS 2 happened similarly.
The scientists say that some early coronavirus samples in the NIH database seem to be removed.
Garry says that when the animal markets were cleared and sanitized, they lost some valuable evidence. He went on to say that they closed the farms and removed the animals out of the market. Although the Huanan seafood market samples and others in the league showed evidence of the virus, they removed the infected animals with the smoking gun.
Garry further says that they would like to know more about the matter, wishing the Chinese government to have been a little more open and informative about the wildlife trade.
The World Health Organization has been making efforts to find the origins of the coronavirus. They issued a report for the same in March, stating that the virus most likely seems to have its origin in an animal from which it passed down to people as all the other coronavirus in the past. They also said that it was least likely that the virus was created in the lab and then leaked out.
However, most of the investigation focuses on the early cases found at the Huanan seafood market at Wuhan.
However, WHO has been facing criticism for accepting evidence from China, and president Joe Biden has asked for a change in the perspective for the origins under his administration.
A group of scientists in another letter to the Lancet on Monday has asked for reasoning and a scientific approach in the investigation. It has not been the first joint letter from the scientists feeding the speculation.
The experts wrote in their letter that careful and transparent collection of scientific information is crucial for them to understand the spread of the virus to develop strategies of weakening the existing impact of coronavirus or COVID-19. This study will help them understand the occurrence of a virus that can be entirely natural or reach the community through an alternate route and prevent future pandemics.
They further said that the conjecture and allegations wouldn’t help. They are not valuable for accessing information and giving an objective assessment of the passage from a bat virus to the human pathogen, which might help avoid a future pandemic.