Canada Health Alliance

Congressional Memo: Virologists Drafted Article Against the Lab Leak Theory on Behalf of Wellcome Trust, NIH

Emily Kopp

Virologists who worked to squelch consideration of a lab origin of COVID-19 in early 2020 worked in tandem with leaders in scientific research funding, according to their private emails.

… A March 2020 paper in Nature Medicine titled “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2” assured the public that the virus’ genome demonstrated an origin in wildlife. Hundreds of news organizations cited the article to assert that the lab leak theory was a “conspiracy theory.”

But the new congressional memo shows that the lead author of the article told the scientific journal that the writing had been “prompted” by then-Wellcome Trust Director Jeremy Farrar, leader of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, and NIH Director Francis Collins.

… The virologists behind the “proximal origin” article have strongly denounced accusations they were improperly swayed by the participation of influential funders of scientific research. They have asserted that they seriously considered the lab leak theory but that evidence accumulated in favor of a natural origin, assuaging their earlier concerns about the Wuhan lab.

However the congressional memo raises new questions about the idea that the virologists ever seriously considered the lab leak theory.

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