Was there a Wuhan lab leak? Why an inquiry won’t dig out the truth

Jun 4, 2021

A year ago, the idea that Covid-19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan – a short distance from the wet market that is usually claimed to be the source of the virus – was dismissed as a crackpot theory, supported only by Donald Trump, QAnon and hawks on the right looking to escalate tensions dangerously with China…But under Trump, US officials were reportedly funding work at the Wuhan lab through a US-based medical organisation called the EcoHealth Alliance.

Nicholas Wade, a former New York Times science writer, set out in May, in an in-depth investigation, why the case for a lab leak was scientifically strong, citing some of the world’s leading virologists.

But Wade also highlighted a much deeper problem for US elites: just before the first outbreak of Covid, the Wuhan lab was, it seems, cooperating with the US scientific establishment and WHO officials on its virus experiments – what is known, in scientific parlance, as “gain-of-function” research.

Gain-of-function experiments had been paused during the second Obama administration, precisely because of concerns about the danger of a human-engineered virus mutation escaping and creating a pandemic. But under Trump, US officials restarted the programme and were reportedly funding work at the Wuhan lab through a US-based medical organisation called the EcoHealth Alliance.

The US official who pushed this agenda hardest is reported to have been Dr Anthony Fauci – yes, the US President’s chief medical adviser and the official widely credited with curbing Trump’s reckless approach to the pandemic. If the lab leak theory is right, the pandemic’s saviour in the US might actually have been one of its chief instigators.

And to top it off, senior officials at the WHO have been implicated too, for being closely involved with gain-of-function research through groups like EcoHealth.

Colluding in deceit

This seems to be the real reason why the lab-leak theory was quashed so aggressively last year by western political, medical and media establishments without any effort to seriously assess the claims or investigate them. Not out of any sense of obligation towards the truth or concern about racist incitement against the Chinese. It was done out of naked self-interest.

This article was republished from CounterPunch 2 June 2021. Click here to read the original article.

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