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Scientists call for new probe into COVID-19 origins - with or without China

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A joint China-World Health Organization (WHO) study into COVID-19 has provided no credible answers about how the pandemic began, and more rigorous investigations are required - with or without Beijing's involvement, a group of international scientists and researchers said on Wednesday.

The joint study, released last week, said the likeliest transmission route for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, involved bats and other wildlife in China and southeast Asia. It all but ruled out the possibility it had leaked from a laboratory.

In an open letter, 24 scientists and researchers from Europe, the United States, Australia and Japan said the study was tainted by politics.

"Their starting point was, let's have as much compromise as is required to get some minimal cooperation from China," said Jamie Metzl, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank, who drafted the letter.

The letter said the study's conclusions were based on unpublished Chinese research, while critical records and biological samples "remain inaccessible".

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus said last week China had withheld data.

Liang Wannian, China's senior COVID-19 expert, denied this and appeared to rule out any further joint investigations in China, saying the focus should shift to other countries.

Metzl said the world might have to "revert to Plan B" and conduct an investigation "in the most systematic way possible" without China's involvement.

China has rejected allegations that SARS-CoV-2 leaked from a research laboratory in Wuhan, the city where COVID-19 was first identified.

The joint China-WHO study said the lab leak was "extremely unlikely", saying there was "no record" that any laboratory had kept SARS-CoV-2-related viruses. Tedros said more research was required to "reach more robust conclusions".

Metzl said China should disclose information that would allow the lab hypothesis to be disproved.

"China has databases of what viruses were being held... there are lab notes of the work that was being done," he said, "There are all kinds of scientists who are actually doing the work and we don't have access to any of those resources, or any of those people."

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

5 Comments
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Wouldn’t it be great if the world had some sort of leverage over China to force it into transparency on this issue?

Unfortunately and thanks to the ardent free-market capitalists, Everyone is dependent on China for something, which is to say we have very little leverage over China for anything.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The telling point of this article is the last sentence.

"China has databases of what viruses were being held... there are lab notes of the work that was being done," he said, "There are all kinds of scientists who are actually doing the work and we don't have access to any of those resources, or any of those people."

It is completely impossible to rule out an unintentional leak of the virus from the lab due to personnel being infected or improper scrubbing of effluent without first having access to the lab to perform a visual inspection, 2nd having complete access to the work being done including what viruses are being examined, and finally reviewing the lab QA program, internal audits, external audits, etc.

Did the virus escape from a lab? We do not know and we cannot know without such data being available for examination.

@P. Smith - you are correct. As a result of greed and corruption we have lost all leverage over China until this can be corrected. I am a capitalist but the form of capitalism that has evolved is unfettered and unrestrained capitalism lacking proper checks and balances.

The only way to correct this would be to decouple to the extent possible from China and ensure the world is not so dependent on China as a supply chain or a market.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Having exhausted all viable possibilities, one would suspect there remains a high probability that the virus could have been leaked (accidentally or otherwise) from a lab in Europe or North America.

People may not like this assertion (or for that matter, any conspiracy theory), but it really does not matter much anymore..

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Wouldn’t it be great if the world had some sort of leverage over China to force it into transparency on this issue? Like we were beginning to have in the last 4 years.

Unfortunately and thanks to the globalist elites,eEveryone is dependent on China for something, which is to say we have very little leverage over China for anything, and with the globast elites back in power in the US, this is getting worse by the day.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Now some people will consider the last time 'the world' (basically NATO) rejected the results of a UN investigation because 'it wasn't thorough enough', 'too compromised', etc to be ancient history, or irrelevant because, when the reality that the answers the investigation produced were TOTALLY accurate, and the evidence that Washington and its gang of governments insisted Blix and his team ignored or dismissed because he/they were compromised or cowed turned out to be phonier than Trump's claims about being cheated out of votes, and the proof was literally black or white, so even the American people were bipartisanly disgusted about being lied to by their own politicians, the US admitted it was a scandal they'd inflicted on themselves and promised to never do it again.

But the reality is that the ONLY thing the American government, politicians, and media learned to change was never setting up a situation where they would be too definitively proved wrong that even the Trumps amongst them would have to admit to being proven wrong. And it seems that JT is in for the full ride (including, no doubt, the 'mobile weapons labs' or any other bit of conspiracy theory creativity is needed to keep the myth alive)

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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