The world knew that something was amiss as soon as COVID got to Europe nearly two years ago. The virus that decimated nations such as Italy was nothing like the virus that China had described to the world during the original outbreak near Wuhan, and it led many to believe that China had purposefully downplayed its severity in order to allow the rest of the world to suffer.
Or, worse yet, there were fears that China was attempting to make COVID less terrifying due to the possibility that the virus had actually escaped from a lab, and not transferred from bats to humans at a “wet market” as Beijing had insisted.
Now we are learning that the evidence for the lab-leak theory was much stronger than originally reported, and that there was a concerted effort by mainstream science to protect China by obscuring this reality.
Leading British and US scientists thought it was likely that Covid accidentally leaked from a laboratory but were concerned that further debate would harm science in China, emails show.
An email from Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, on February 2 2020 said that “a likely explanation” was that Covid had rapidly evolved from a Sars-like virus inside human tissue in a low-security lab.
The email, to Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Francis Collins of the US National Institutes of Health, went on to say that such evolution may have “accidentally created a virus primed for rapid transmission between humans”.
Here is where it gets wild:
But a leading scientist told Sir Jeremy that “further debate would do unnecessary harm to science in general and science in China in particular”. Dr Collins, the former director of the US National Institutes of Health, warned it could damage “international harmony”.
The news was not received well.
Viscount Ridley, co-author of Viral: the search for the origin of Covid, said: “These emails show a lamentable lack of openness and transparency among Western scientists who appear to have been more interested in shutting down a hypothesis they thought was very plausible, for political reasons.”
The idea that China would be protected throughout all of this is ludicrous to many, particularly as we recall just how little preparation we received on account of China’s obviously skewed data at the onset of the crisis.