Sunday, 28 May 2023

Biden accused of ‘sitting on fence’ in face of China lab leak Covid theory

US President Joe Biden has hindered the hunt to find out where Covid first developed by “sitting on the fence” when it comes to the China lab leak theory, according to a respected British science writer.

President Biden was initially strong on rhetoric regarding the possibility the virus could have leaked from a Chinese research lab. He said the possibility should be looked into that the coronavirus came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) – which was conducting research on coronaviruses when the virus emerged. In March, the 46th President declared “we need to get to the bottom of Covid’s origins… including potential links to the WIV”.

Since the pandemic started, many agencies and politicians across the world have been arguing over how to novel coronavirus made the jump to humans. But Lord Matt Ridley, co-author of Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19, said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Express US that Biden has been far too slow in helping scientists to untangle the mystery of the origin of the pathogen.

READ THE INTERVIEW HERE: Joe Biden slammed as ‘not helpful’ in exposing China’s link to Covid lab leak

Lord Ridley said: “Everything we have seen in the last six months has in my view pointed more strongly in my view to the lab leak explanation. But the Biden administration has continued to sit on the fence on this issue. It has not done much to encourage revelations in this area and the Democrats in Congress have not particularly helpful in finding out what happened.”

A report commissioned by Congress was published in April positing that the commonly-accepted theory about Covid coming from an organic jump caused by the sale of bats at a wet market should no longer be benefiting from the “presumption of accuracy”.

The report, released in full by Axios, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic was, more likely than not, the result of a research-related incident.” However, the report did add: “new information, made publicly available and independently verifiable, could change this assessment”

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In February, the US Department of Energy said it believes the “most likely” explanation for the origins of Covid – but caveated that it only had “low confidence” in this theory.

Four other US agencies still believe the dominant hypothesis of the virus coming from a natural, zoonotic transmission in Wuhan. Two other agencies have not declared their position on the matter.

Lord Ridley said he is much more convinced by the theory regarding the WIV – but added that many other proponents of the theory are too afraid of repercussions to publically state their opinions.

He said: “There is a huge problem emerging which is that scientists in the West were not being honest with the public in 2020 about what they thought was likely or possible. The conflict of interest among a few Western virologists are pretty extreme.”

Lord Ridley pointed the finger at the EcoHealth Alliance, an organisation that was given £2.7million to conduct coronavirus research at the WIV. He said: “More and more virologists are actually coming out and saying that a lab leak is possible, some of them anonymously because they are worried about the implications for their funding from the National Institute of Health.

“The EcoHealth Alliance and the NIH have both been less forthcoming than they should be about information they know about what was going on in Wuhan and in collaboration with Wuhan.

Lord Ridley concluded: “What we really need to know from the Chinese regime are the identity and characteristics of the first cases and the dates.

“We have seen two sources – one was a leak to the South China Morning Post and the other was a peer-reviewed paper in Chinese – which indicated that they know of at least 10 well-diagnosed cases from November 2019 but they have refused any information about those.

“Who were the first cases? Where did they live? What were their professions? Were they scientists or people working in the market? That kind of information undoubtedly exists and has not been shared.

“The other thing that has not been shared is the database of viruses that were being worked on in the Wuhan Institute of Virology They published some of the details of some of the viruses they were working on up until around 2015 and almost nothing about the viruses they were working on after that.”

The Daily Express US has approached the White House, EcoHealth Alliance and the National Institutes of Health for comment.

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