The closest known relative to SARS-CoV-2 is a virus sampled by Chinese researchers from six miners infected while working in a bat-infested cave in southern China in 2012. These miners developed symptoms we now associate with Covid-19. Half of them died. These viral samples were then taken to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
If the virus jumped to humans through a series of human-animal encounters in the wild or in wet markets, as Beijing has claimed, we would likely have seen evidence of people being infected elsewhere in China before the Wuhan outbreak. We have not.
The alternative explanation, a lab escape, is far more plausible. We know the Wuhan Institute of Virology was using controversial “gain of function” techniques to make viruses more virulent for research purposes. A confidential 2018 State Department cable released this month highlighting the lab’s alarming safety record should heighten our concern.
Suggesting that an outbreak of a deadly bat coronavirus coincidentally occurred near the only level 4 virology institute in all of China—which happened to be studying the closest known relative of that exact virus—strains credulity.
Above all, China’s extensive coverup raises red flags. In the critical first weeks after the initial outbreak, Beijing actively suppressed essential information and prevented World Health Organization investigators from entering the country while samples were destroyed. When a courageous Chinese biologist posted the sequenced genome of the virus online, his lab was immediately shut “for rectification.” The Chinese government has forbidden scientists to discuss publicly the origins of the pandemic. Citizen journalists investigating the issue have disappeared. In the words of a European Union report that were controversially later removed from the final version, “China has continued to run a global disinformation campaign to deflect blame for the outbreak of the pandemic.”
Many progressives also seem to be censoring themselves for fear of legitimizing what they see as President Trump’s effort to blame China and the WHO to deflect criticism of America’s own failures.
Mr. Metzl served in the National Security Council and State Department in the Clinton administration. He is a senior fellow of the Atlantic Council, a member of the WHO international advisory committee on human genome editing, and author of “Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity.”
I don't find this very credible. It's all based on innuendo and circumstantial evidence- basically their whole argument is "this thing popped up in Wuhan, close to the only lab of it's kind in China, therefore, it probably escaped from the lab".
For instance, it says: "we would likely have seen evidence of people being infected elsewhere in China before the Wuhan outbreak. We have not." For one thing- how do they know this? People may have died from corona in rural areas, without it being identified at COVID. Wuhan is a large city- a place where clusters of cases would have gotten the attention of the medical community, where it could have been spread much more rapidly, and where they do have a lot of livestock, including bats, at their markets.
As for China suppressing information in the beginning, yes, this is what authoritarian govts. do- they try to control information. Russia did the same thing with Chernobyl. Not that you have to be an authoritarian state for this to happen- there have been plenty of cover ups in the USA, too- Love Canal, the tobacco industry, fallout illness from nuclear testing, medical experiments on unwitting inmates, effects of Agent Orange, etc, etc.
And as for the "confidential state dept memo released earlier this month", I don't trust anything put out by the state dept under Mike Pompeo. He's claimed for awhile now they have "enormous proof" of this theory of lab escape of the virus, yet hasn't produced anything of the sort.
Most of this sounds just like a typical conspiracy theory.