| 21 July 2024, Sunday |

Top Chinese scientist says don’t rule out Covid lab leak theory

In an attempt to reignite the discussion surrounding the origins of the virus, a former prominent Chinese government scientist has emphasized that the theory of a lab leak regarding the Covid-19 virus should not be dismissed outright.
In an interview for BBC Radio 4, Prof George Gao, who was the head of China’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC), said that when the lab leak theory gained prominence at that time, the Chinese government conducted a formal inquiry into the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
“The government organised something,” he was quoted as saying, in the first such official acknowledgment that the lab leak possibility was viewed seriously by the government, despite repeatedly refuting such claims. As a former head of China’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC), Gao has played a key role in the pandemic response and efforts to trace its origins.
He, however, clarified that it did not involve his own department, the China CDC.
Adding, “You can always suspect anything. That’s science. Don’t rule out anything.”
Gao said that though he has not seen the result, he has “heard” that the lab was given a clean bill of health.
“I think their conclusion is that they are following all the protocols. They haven’t found [any] wrongdoing.”
Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Market and the adjoining hospitals were the focus of the probe for a potential explanation for the virus during the early phase of the pandemic.
The World Health Organisation in its preliminary investigation said it was “extremely unlikely” the virus leaked from a lab.
Demands for a second phase of the investigation, involving audits of laboratories in the Wuhan area, were rejected by the Chinese government.
Covid origin debates still unresolved
It has been widely established that Covid virus emanated from bats, but how it got transmitted to humans has so far remained a mystery.
One theory argues that the virus spread naturally from bats to humans, most likely through other animals. Many scientists believe that there is reasonable evidence to suggest this scenario.
The other theory, which the West propounds, is that there is enough evidence to suggest that the virus was engineered as part of a research and that someone involved in it was first infected. It was further claimed that The Huanan Seafood Market was connected to many of the early cases, people who worked or shopped there.
The comments from the top Chinese scientist corroborate the FBI’s assessment that the virus most likely originated in a Chinese government-controlled lab.
“The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told Fox News in March.

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