Emails indicate scientists found laboratory leak theory highly plausible in early 2020 – HotAir

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The debate over the laboratory leak theory was front and center in February 2020 when Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Anthony Fauci convened a conference call of elite scientists to discuss how COVID-19 may have originated. . But the emails about the call show that while several scientists on the call thought the possibility of a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was a 50-50 or higher proposition, Dr. Collins seemed eager to subtract. importance to the idea. The Intercept has a story that summarizes the findings of the newly revealed emails:

On February 2, Jeremy Farrar, an infectious disease expert and director of Wellcome, sent notes, including to Fauci and Collins, summarizing what some of the scientists had said on the call. Farzan, a Scripps professor who studied the spike protein in the 2003 SARS virus, “is upset about the furin site and has a hard time explaining it as an event outside the lab (although there are possible ways in nature, but very little probable), “It reads in Farrar’s note, referring to a characteristic of the spike protein that helps interact with furin, an enzyme common in human lung cells. Farzan did not think that the site was the product of an” engineering directed “, but found that the changes would be” highly compatible with the idea of ​​the continuous passage of the virus in tissue culture. “

According to the transcribed notes, Garry, a professor at Tulane University School of Medicine, said in the call that he had aligned the genome of SARS-CoV-2 with that of RaTG13, a 96 percent similar virus isolated from bats. in Wuhan. Institute of Virology that was long considered the closest known relative of the new virus, albeit the closest since then it has been identified. Garry found that the spike proteins from RaTG13 and SARS-CoV-2, which make the latter so infectious, were nearly identical. The key distinction was in the ability of the spike protein of the new virus to interact with furin, which Garry found too perfect to make natural sense. “I just can’t understand how this is accomplished in nature,” he said …

In a Feb. 4 email, which House Republicans submitted in response to a first copy of the draft, Fauci wrote: “?? Serial passage in ACE2 transgenic mice “.

If you look at the emails included as appendix to a letter Written by Reps James Comer and Jim Jordan, you see, some scientists were even giving probabilities on the leak theory in the lab. Dr. Jeremy Farrar wrote in an email on February 2, 2020: “… accidental release or natural event? I’m either 70:30 or 60:40. “A post-February 4 email from Dr. Farrar said,” …[Eddie Holmes] Laboratory 60-40. I’m 50-50. “That’s a reference to Professor Edward Holmes from the University of Sydney. Those are at least two scientists who, at least from the start, felt the odds of a lab leak were equal to or greater.

But several of the scientists on the call have reversed course over their initial concerns that the virus appeared to be rigged, including the Tulane professor. roberto garry:

“My initial impression and that of others about him [furin cleavage site] it was wrong. I changed my mind with new information / new data, ”Garry wrote to The Intercept. “This is how science works. No one was trying to mislead the public. What was in the Proximal Origins article was our best analysis – it holds up extremely well. “…

“The main comment we received from the February 1 teleconference was: 1. Don’t try to write an article at all; is unnecessary or 2. If you write it down, please do not mention the origin of a laboratory as that will only add fuel to the conspirators, ”Garry wrote Wednesday.

It seems the scientists on the call got that message. By February 4, several of them had come together to write an article that barely mentioned the lab leak as a possibility. It is unclear what made them change their minds so quickly, but it is clear that Dr. A Collins, the head of the NIH at the time, was concerned that the laboratory leak theory could harm “science and harmony. international”. He wrote in an email on February 2: “I am beginning to think that it is more likely a natural origin. But I share your view that a quick meeting of experts is needed in a confidence-inspiring framework (the WHO really seems the only option), or the conspiracy voices will quickly dominate, causing great potential damage to science and international harmony. … “

I’m sure different people will read different things on that, but it seems to me that Collins’ concern is both political and scientific. It may still turn out that they were right about the origin of the natural passage of COVID, but there is a belated consensus that February 2020 was too early to rule out the possibility given the little information available at the time. Even now, almost two years later, the possibility of a lab leak has not yet been ruled out and the exact species from which the virus might have naturally jumped has yet to be identified.

Allah pundit pointed out yesterday that Dr. Fauci and Senator Paul discussed again during their testimony before Congress. One of the things they discussed was the content of these emails. Here’s Ryan Grim, the co-author of the Intercept piece, discussing the findings and the battle between Paul and Fauci over the emails.

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