Posted by Curt on 24 March, 2021 at 11:10 am. 1 comment.



We all know the approved narrative: The COVID-19 virus originated in a wet market in China, a country that is not in any way responsible for the virus that originated within its borders and migrated to the rest of the world, through no fault of the Chinese, who only mean Americans well and who are not in any way culpable for the worst global pandemic in most of our lifetimes.

Claiming otherwise will get you bounced off Facebook and Twitter quicker than you can say “China virus.” (But don’t actually say that, or you will be accused of killing Asians.)

But now, some prominent scientists and researchers are calling into question both the wet market theory and the notion that the China virus transnational, post-racial, non-sectarian virus accidentally escaped from a lab in W&*%n, a city in no particular geographic region.

In an article titled “Did the coronavirus leak from a lab? These scientists say we shouldn’t rule it out,” MIT Technology Review reports that “A group of 26 scientists, social scientists, and science communicators… have now signed their own letter arguing that WHO investigators lacked ‘the mandate, the independence, or the necessary accesses’ to determine whether or not SARS-CoV-2 could have been the result of a laboratory incident.” The letter was in response to a letter from 27 other scientists published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, insisting that SARS-CoV-2 had a natural origin, and dismissing any alternate theories as conspiracy theories that create “fear, rumors, and prejudice.”

The article centers on Nikolai Petrovsky, a professor at Flinders University and founder and chairman of a company called Vaxine that develops immunizations for infectious diseases. Petrovsky has received tens of millions of dollars in grant funding from the NIH to support vaccine development over the years, so it’s not like he’s some fringe nutjob. But for the sin of positing that there’s a chance the virus escaped from a Wuhan lab, he’s been called a conspiracy theorist, ridiculed, and shunned by some in the scientific community.

I’m not here to debate the origins of the virus—you’ll want to click through to the MIT article for that discussion—but it’s important to understand the depths of the politicization of the pandemic and the scientific community.

David Relman, a microbiologist at Stanford University, says a lab leak was never the subject of a “fair and dispassionate discussion of the facts as we know them.” Instead, tempers soon began to flare as those calling for a closer look at possible lab origins were dismissed as conspiracy theorists spouting misinformation. Election-year politics and growing Sinophobic sentiments only added to the tensions. Attacks on Asian-Americans had been escalating since the pandemic began, and with then-president Trump fuming about a “Chinese virus,” many scientists and reporters became “cautious about saying anything that might justify the rhetoric of his administration,” says Jamie Metzl, a senior fellow at the Washington, DC–based Atlantic Council, an international affairs think tank.


But in late April 2020, as Petrovsky’s group was thinking about where to publish their work, “Trump blurted out” that he had reason to believe the virus came out of a Chinese lab, Petrovsky says. And at that point, he adds, much of “the left-wing media” decided “they were going to paint the whole lab thing as a conspiracy theory to bring down Trump.”

In other words, Trump Derangement Syndrome began to trump science.

Efforts to determine the origins of the virus, according to Relman, “have become mired in politics, poorly supported assumptions and assertions, and incomplete information.” Metzl, meanwhile, fears that going against the narrative could result in “career suicide.”

Petrovsky, commenting on that politicization of science, said his researchers were “dealing with global forces that are way more powerful than a scientist trying to tell a science-based story.”

“If we are at the point where all science is politicized and no one cares about truth and only being politically correct,” Petrovsky lamented, “we may as well give up and shut down and stop doing science.”

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