President Joe Biden ordered the U.S. intelligence system to investigate the source of the virus in the global pandemic, naming two hypotheses about the origin of the virus – namely, the game market hypothesis and the laboratory leak hypothesis.
At the beginning of the plague outbreak, many scientists, WHO officials and the media, in unison, dismissed the possibility of a lab leak before any investigation began. Trump and the right-wing media, on the other hand, pointed to the possible source of the plague, near the origin of the outbreak, at the Wuhan Institute of Virus Research, which had been studying the extremely dangerous coronavirus.
The hypothesis about the origin of the virus quickly became politicized into two distinct camps. Trump and his supporters both tended to support the lab leak theory, in opposition to what most scientists and mainstream media at the time believed to be the natural origin of the virus, passed to humans through hosts like game, and attacked any version of a lab origin as the outrageous fantasy of conspiracy theorists who didn’t understand science.
For most of the year 2020, world opinion was lopsided in favor of the idea that the virus originated from nature and had nothing to do with the laboratory. Some scientists at the time, such as Alina Chan, a molecular biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Broad Institute at Harvard University, pointed out that viruses of natural origin usually have limited transmissibility in the early stages of their evolutionary acquisition of human-to-human transmission, and that they develop strong transmissibility only after they have spread in human communities for some time and continue to evolve. However, the new coronavirus of this plague was already highly contagious when it first appeared, which is unusual. She therefore suggested that the virus might have originated from the “Gain of function” research in the Wuhan laboratory.
The “Gain of function” study involves taking a naturally collected virus, bringing it to a laboratory and spreading it rapidly in animal or human cells, and then observing how it evolves and gains strong transmission. This research has led to accidents of leakage in laboratories around the world. The Obama administration stopped federal funding for this type of research based on safety examinations. But a number of U.S. and WHO scientists have continued their research by funding the Wuhan Virus Laboratory. Researchers at the lab have published papers discussing data from viruses they collected from bats in Yunnan and brought back to Wuhan for research. These viruses happened to be similar to the coronavirus that caused the pandemic.
Alina Chan’s arguments, which have been sidelined by the mainstream scientific community and the media, have begun to raise questions in some media outlets about whether this has anything to do with the vested interest of many scientists in this “Gain of function” research. Earlier this year, the WHO published a report on the China investigation, which categorically rejected the possibility of a laboratory origin theory, given the lack of cooperation from the Chinese government and the absence of key data. However, the report revealed that China had collected 69 species of animals in Wuhan that could have been the original hosts of the virus, but did not find the new coronavirus in any of them.
Once the report was published, there were strong calls from the scientific community for a more comprehensive investigation, and it slowly became the new consensus that the laboratory hypothesis could not be dismissed until further investigation. Later, the media disclosed information that several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virus Research showed similar illnesses to those infected with the new coronavirus and were hospitalized at the end of 2019, so the laboratory leak hypothesis, once again, was taken seriously and even began to overwhelm the natural origin theory, becoming the focus of more and more mainstream media. Many scientists and media commentators have denounced the boycott of the laboratory origin theory by the scientist community and the mainstream media in the last year as akin to speech censorship. Two scientists recently published an article in the Wall Street Journal, pointing out that the molecular structure of viruses is not like natural evolution, but more like the result of “Gain of function” research in a controlled environment, further heating up the laboratory origin theory.
It is doubtful that the U.S. intelligence system could have collected groundbreaking key evidence to confirm one of the two hypotheses within the 90-day period set by Biden. The CCP may have destroyed key early data and we will never get an answer. But even if that were the case, based on the CCP’s initial concealment of the outbreak and its subsequent extremely uncooperative attitude toward the international investigation alone, we can conclude that the CCP is irresponsible and self-serving, making the world a more dangerous place. By continuing to block and attack international investigations, the CCP will only make the world think that it is hiding something and make more people believe the lab origin story that the CCP is most aggressively attacking.