Lancet scientists who trashed Covid leak theory 'have links to Wuhan lab'
TWENTY six of the twenty-seven scientists who publicly trashed the Covid lab leak theory, have links to Wuhan researchers, it has been reported.
The group published a letter in March last year- denouncing “conspiracy theories” that the virus was made or leaked from the centre in the Chinese city.
But now an investigation by the Daily Telegraph into the signatories of that letter, have revealed that nearly all of them have some link to the Wuhan Institute of Virology – raising serious questions about their impartiality.
They include Dr Peter Daszak, the British president of EcoHealth Alliance and UK Government scientific adviser Sir Jeremy Farrar.
Only one – Dr Ronald Corley, a microbiology expert from Boston University – has been found to have no links back to funders or researchers at the Wuhan institute.
Only in February this year, the World Health Organisation rejected the idea that Covid began in a Wuhan wet market or was the result of a lab leak.
'EXTREME COVER UP'
But, for scientists who have tried to prove otherwise, including Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Birger Sorense the latest news of their scientists links lays further claim that there has been an “extreme cover-up”.
Commenting on the discovery, they said the findings “show beyond reasonable doubt that our entire area of virus research has been contaminated politically.
“We bear the scars to show it,” they added.
Three of the signatories were also from Britain’s Wellcome Trust, which has funded work at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the past.
And sir Jeremy Farrar, has also published work with George Gao – the head of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention – for whom he describes as an “old friend.”
The information of their involvement with the Institute, came after Dr Peter Daszak was removed from the United Nations commission investigating the origins of Covid.
Reports revealed that the EcoHealth Alliance, for which he is President, had funneled taxpayer cash to WIV to carry out gain of function research of bat-based coronaviruses.
The 55-year-old has a close relationship with the lab's chief Dr Shi Zhengli – dubbed "Batwoman" – and was last year jovially tweeting about singing karaoke with her and "partying in a bat cave" amid the pandemic.
WIV however are the prime suspect as circumstantial evidence mounts that link the origins of the virus to a lab leak as the US ordered a "redoubled" probe.
Dr Daszak was part of the much derided WHO investigation which visited Wuhan early this year, only to have its findings dismissed as a "whitewash" and then be undermined by WHO's director on the same day as its release.
And while an appendix was added to the to The Lancet letter in June this year, pointing out Mr Daszak’s links to Wuhan, no others revealed any conflict of interest came to light until the new reports surfaced now.
Dr Peter Palese, a microbiologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, signed the Lancet letter but now acknowledges there are serious questions about the origins of the virus.
The 77-year-old told MailOnline in June: "I believe a thorough investigation about the origin of the Covid-19 virus is needed.
"'A lot of disturbing information has surfaced since the Lancet letter I signed, so I want to see answers covering all questions."
Dr Daszak had also previously denied that live bats were being studied at WIV – only for footage to emerging appearing to show the animals being handled at the lab.
He had already backpedaled on his comments and revealed they didn't even ask if WIV kept live bats when they visited as part of the WHO probe.
What do we know about the Wuhan Institute of Virology?
THE Wuhan Institute of Virology is the highest security lab of its kind in all of China – and can be found right at the heart of the origins of the pandemic.
Various theories have been reported about the lab, which is headed up by scientist Dr Shi Zhengli, known as “Bat Woman”.
The lab specialises in bat-borne viruses and had been carrying out experiences on them since 2015.
Airlocks, full body suits, and chemical showers are required before entering and leaving the facility – the first in China to be accredited with biosafety level 4 (BSL-4).
BSL-4 labs are the only areas in the world where scientists are permitted to study diseases that have no cure.
Scientists from the lab even tested a mysterious virus which killed three miners 1,000 miles away in Yunnan province back in 2012.
It has been suggested this fatal bug may have been the true origin of Covid-19.
Experts at the lab also engineered a new type of hybrid 'super-virus' that can infect humans in 2015, according to journal Nature Medicine
The study was designed to show the risk of viruses carried by bats which could be transmitted to humans.
There is no suggestion the facility's 2015 work is linked to the pandemic and the facility denies the lab leak claims.
The lab was also recruiting new scientists to probe coronaviruses in bats just seven days before the outbreak.
Covid may have escaped by a researcher getting infected, improperly disposed of waste, or potential breaches in the security at the lab.
China meanwhile, has long been accused of covering up or distorting its role in the early days of the pandemic, with claims the Communist Party manipulated case and death figures while withholding information from WHO.
Beijing has a history of lab leaks in which deadly viruses have accidentally escaped and critics have highlighted what they allege is a gung-ho approach to safety.
There is currently no evidence to suggest the virus was intentionally released by China.
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