Members of Parliament (MPs) from all political parties on the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee heard from a Canadian molecular scientist on Wednesday who said a leak from a facility in the Wuhan area of China is now the most probable source of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The pandemic is being caused by a unique feature of the coronavirus called furin cleavage site, which has been linked to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to Dr Alina Chan, a specialist in gene therapy and cell engineering and co-author of ‘Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19’, who testified before a Parliamentary committee on scientific research.
The panellists questioned Chan on the likelihood of a lab leak being the source of the pandemic. Chan said that a lab leak is more plausible than a natural origin at this stage.
There was a major occurrence at the Huanan Seafood Market, and we are all in agreement that it was a superspreader event that was triggered by people. She said that there is no proof at that time that the virus came from a naturally occurring animal source.
On the subject of her degree of confidence that the world will ultimately be able to determine the genuine origins of COVID-19, Chan said that it was merely a matter of time until they were discovered.
It is not safe for anybody who have information regarding the genesis of this epidemic to come forward at this time,” says the WHO. Although it may be five years or fifty years from now, she believes that we live in an age when there is an abundance of data being gathered and kept. “All we need is a genuine, methodical study,” she says.
“We have heard from many top virologists that a genetically engineered origin of this virus is reasonable…and this includes virologists who themselves have made modifications to the first SARS virus,” Chan said in response to the question of whether the virus had been modified in the lab prior to the leak.
“We now understand that this virus has a very distinct characteristic known as the furin cleavage site, which is what distinguishes it as a pandemic pathogen.” As a result, without this trait, there is no chance that this could be the source of the epidemic.”
She was also asked identical questions regarding the lab leak scenario by her co-author, Lord Matt Ridley, and he agreed with Chan’s conclusion that it was more probable than not the source of the epidemic.
We have to accept the reality that we discovered the roots of SARS via markets after only two months, and that we discovered the origins of MERS through camels after just a few of months. “In this particular situation, we haven’t located a single diseased animal that may be the progenitor of this pandemic after searching for two years,” he added, adding that this was “very shocking.”
As he tracked the trip of scientists a few years ago to bring SARS-like viruses back to Wuhan for tests, Ridley and Chan came to the conclusion that any leak was most likely the result of a misunderstanding.
It is something that must be handled seriously. He expressed sadness that there was a rather deliberate effort to shut down discussion on this matter in 2020, which he described as “unacceptable.”
As a result, we must be aware of the situation in order to discourage evil actors who may be watching this episode and believing that spreading a pandemic is something they might get away with.”
In addition, Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the medical magazine The Lancet, acknowledged that the lab leak idea underlying COVID-19 is a hypothesis that should be taken seriously and further studied, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In the United Kingdom, the Science and Technology Committee of the Parliament of the United Kingdom is conducting an investigation into “reproducibility and research integrity,” with the results of the investigation due in 2022.