After more than a year of denying it, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged that it was far too premature to rule out the possibility that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) was engineered in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where it then accidentally leaked out after infecting an employee.
This is a very rare departure from the WHO’s usual deference to Chinese authorities on matters regarding COVID-19 and its origins. This also represents a break from the WHO’s outright dismissal of the lab leak theory and its long-held stance that the coronavirus naturally passed from animals to humans.
Neither Tedros nor anybody else in the WHO has publicly apologized for the year-long denial of the lab leak theory.
Tedros admits discounting lab leak theory was “premature”
Without explicitly apologizing for being wrong, Tedros acknowledged the WHO’s error during a press conference with reporters.
“I was a lab technician myself, I’m an immunologist, and I have worked in the lab, and lab accidents happen,” said Tedros during the briefing. “It’s common.”
He told reporters that the WHO is actually asking China “to be transparent, open and cooperate, especially on the information, raw data that we asked for at the early days of the pandemic.”
He added that there was a “premature push” to rule out the lab leak theory. This undermines the WHO’s own report published earlier this year that concluded that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely.” The report added that the most probable origin was a natural jump from animals to humans. It should be noted that China was a partner in crafting the WHO’s report. This report was made after a visit to Wuhan that was carefully choreographed by Chinese authorities.
Tedros said figuring out what happened during the early stages of the pandemic, especially in the labs in Wuhan, is extremely important for figuring out if the virus came from a lab or not.
“We need information, direct information on what the situation of this lab was before and at the start of the pandemic,” he said.
Tedros added that China’s cooperation with any possible future investigation is crucial. If the world can get access to all the information and data China is hiding, it may help exonerate the communist nation if the virus really did have natural origins.
“In any outbreak, you go and understand the origins,” the WHO chief added. “We need to know what happened in order to prevent the next [pandemic].”
“I think we owe it to the millions who suffered and the millions who died really to understand what happened.”
Beijing has struck back very aggressively to renewed assertions that the coronavirus came from a lab in Wuhan, arguing that attempts to link the lab with the virus are politically motivated. The country suggested once more that the virus may not have started in China, and that any future investigation into COVID-19’s origins should be conducted overseas.
Don’t forget: Tedros and the WHO instrumental in discrediting the lab leak theory
Tedros’ admission that the lab leak theory still holds merit is a very distinct reversal in WHO policy. During a trip to China early on in the pandemic, the director-general was recorded as saying that he had “no doubt about China’s commitment to transparency.” Now, Tedros is arguing that it is very difficult for WHO officials like himself to gain access to important data.
The lab leak theory was first widely pushed by former President Donald Trump and other members of his administration. They saw links between the WIV and the coronavirus and wanted this link explored. But so-called experts and the mainstream media widely dismissed it, including Tedros and the WHO. Tedros’ very public dismissal of the lab leak theory helped quash most mainstream sources from taking it seriously.
But the idea has regained a lot of attention in recent months, despite the continued protests from the Chinese government. It gained even more credibility in the eyes of the mainstream media after President Joe Biden in May announced that he had asked his intelligence officials to conduct a review into the theories surrounding the origins of the virus, including the lab leak theory.
Outside of the Biden administration, scientists all over the world have been demanding for months that the lab leak theory be taken seriously. This includes an international group of 18 scientists who, back in May, demanded that the lab leak theory be given “balanced consideration” during any future investigation of COVID-19’s origins. (Related: International group of scientists call for new, independent investigation into coronavirus origins.)
Learn more about the lab leak theory and how more and more people are starting to believe it by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news.
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