A group of 27 prominent public health scientists from outside China is pushing back against a steady stream of stories and even a suggesting a laboratory in Wuhan, China, may be the origin of the outbreak of COVID-19
The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins,”
the scientists, from nine countries said.
The letter does not criticize any specific assertions about the origin of the outbreak, but many posts on social media have singled out the Wuhan Institute of Virology for intense scrutiny because it has a laboratory at the highest security level—biosafety level 4—and its researchers study coronaviruses from bats, including the one that is closest to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Speculations have included the possibility that the virus was bioengineered in the lab or that a lab worker was infected while handling a bat and then transmitted the disease to others outside the lab. Researchers from the institute have insisted there is no link between the outbreak and their laboratory.
“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,”
says The Lancet statement
“We don’t have evidence that this disease originated there but because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says"
Cotton said, noting that the Chinese government initially turned down the U.S. government’s offer to send scientists to the country to help clarify questions about the outbreak.
“We have a choice whether to stand up and support colleagues who are being attacked and threatened daily by conspiracy theorists or to just turn a blind eye. I’m really proud that people from nine countries are able to rapidly come to their defense and show solidarity with people who are, after all, dealing with horrific conditions in an outbreak.”
Based in London Allan has been publishing content on a wide range of topics for many years. When he's not spending time with his family he's always on the hunt for trending topics and news to share.