18 experts: cannot rule out the possibility that the CCP virus originated from Wuhan Institute

Eighteen leading microbiologists from top universities published a joint letter in Science Magazine on May 14, saying that the academic community cannot rule out the possibility that the Chinese communist virus (New Coronavirus, COVID-19) may have been leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virus Research, and calling for continued investigation into the source of the Chinese communist virus.

According to the Daily Mail, Stanford University microbiologist David Relman and University of Washington virologist Jesse Bloom, along with 16 other prominent biologists from institutions similar to Harvard and Cambridge, published a joint letter in the journal Science on May 14 expressing these views. In the letter, they also attacked the WHO and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), whose investigative team released a report on the source of the virus, claiming that the outbreak may or may not have been caused by a bat infecting an intermediate host, but that it was “highly unlikely” to have been caused by a laboratory accident.

The experts wrote: “The report does not give the same level of attention to the ‘possible laboratory origin of the virus’ as it does to the ‘zoonotic origin’.”

And “the data, information and samples in the first phase of the report were collected and summarized by the Chinese team, and the later team simply drew conclusions based on these analyses.

“In the 313-page report, only four pages of the report and attachments mention the possibility that the virus may have been leaked due to a laboratory accident.”

The letter also reads, “There is no clear conclusion in the report as to whether the virus was zoonotic or the result of a laboratory accident. Yet the joint WHO and CCP team concluded that the virus was unlikely to have been caused by a lab accident spill.

The letter reads, “A proper investigation should be transparent, objective, data-driven and include a broad range of expertise, independently monitored and responsibly managed to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest.”

Lehrman said many of the academics who signed the letter felt they were not given enough information to determine the source of the CCP virus.

He said, “Now that no one who insists on one view or the other can come to these conclusions based on a large amount of hard data, let’s try to avoid speculating without a basis, especially as we try to preserve our reputation as purveyors of pure science.”

The letter reads, “(The academic community) needs more research to understand the source of the CCP virus. The possibility that the virus may have been leaked from a laboratory or that it is zoonotic is both possible; and understanding how the CCP virus emerged is critical to a global strategy to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks.”

“As scientists with relevant expertise, we endorse the view of the WHO Director General, the United States and 13 other countries and the EU that further clarification of the source of the CCP virus is necessary and feasible. We must take seriously the possibility of both naturally occurring and laboratory accidents until we have data sufficient to disprove either hypothesis.”

They also asked public health agencies and laboratories at research institutions to make their virus records available to the public; while investigators should document the authenticity and provenance of the data they analyze and draw conclusions from so that independent experts can repeat the analysis.

They conclude by writing, “In the early days of the epidemic, many Chinese doctors, scientists, journalists and citizens shared important information about the spread of this epidemic with the world, often at great personal cost, and we should advance dispassionate scientific discourse on this difficult and important issue with the same determination.”