WWhen something goes wrong, it’s the human instinct to seek out the human hand – perhaps to reassure us that life is not totally out of our control. As the influenza pandemic hit the United States just over a century ago, some blamed the German agents. So it was no surprise that people were claiming the coronavirus had leaked – or was even made in – a laboratory in Wuhan, China, where the epidemic started. It was also not surprising when Donald Trump and his allies promoted history as they sought to reverse blame for the rising death toll in the United States and spruce up the President’s credentials. Chinese falcon era.
It is all the more striking that the idea is gaining ground all at once. Last month Joe Biden ordered his intelligence agencies step up their efforts to study the origins of the Covid; one would have lean towards the lab’s hypothesis, although others in the United States and abroad disagree. Now a leaked draft statement from the G7 summit in Cornwall said that Leaders to call for new World Health Organization survey in the early days of the pandemic. More scientists have suggested that the idea should be taken seriously.
Yet most still agree that natural transmission is by far the most likely route, and one Nobel Prize-winning biologist who spoke of a “smoking gun” – suggesting that Covid has been genetically modified and s ‘escaped from a lab – just said he exaggerated the case. One of the reasons the laboratory theory flourished is, perversely, what we don’t know; establishing the precise trajectory of a disease is a long and complicated affair. We know where the virus has taken hold and that its origins are most likely linked to a bat virus. But while a WHO investigation indicated that it probably jumped to humans via another animal, the details are not clear. Some scientists believe it could have been passed on to humans at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has studied such viruses, and a smaller number believe it could have been conceived somehow ; the institute would have carried out controversial actions “gain of function”Research manipulating pathogens to help understand their behavior and the risks they pose.
The real change has not been scientific but political. Mr Trump’s departure means the laboratory theory is no longer pursued in bad faith, encouraging others to take it more seriously. Mr. Biden is also determined to show he’s tough on Beijing too; the theme of his first trip abroad as president is, to a large extent, the need for democracies to unite, especially in the face of an increasingly authoritarian and confident China. The coronavirus questions are in part a proxy for the broader concerns about China’s behavior and its impact on the rest of the world as it grows. Chinese authorities’ efforts to cover the epidemic, the delay in confirmation of human-to-human transmission, the limitation of the WHO investigation and the spread of false information suggesting that Covid originated elsewhere, all fueled suspicion.
China should share all the raw data it holds. No one believes it. Either way, he cannot shirk responsibility for his known failures in handling the outbreak. But other countries, notably the United States and the United Kingdom, should not be allowed to dodge blame for their own terrible mistakes in responding to this pandemic, either.
We must also think of the rest. Regardless of the origins of this particular virus, both the increased risk of zoonotic transmission due to human factors, including modern farming practices, and the security of research institutions at the international level, require special attention: we know that leaks do occur and that the search for job gain is a very risky business. We may never know how exactly this virus reached humans. But what we do know tells us that there is a lot that can and should be fixed.
The Guardian’s Take on Covid Lab Leak Theory: Acting on What We Know | Editorial
Source link The Guardian’s Take on Covid Lab Leak Theory: Acting on What We Know | Editorial