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How virus origins tracing turns into a political witch-hunt

2021-08-24 09:48:37       source:Global Times

August 23, 2021

The WHO released an official report in March 2021 that concluded scientists' findings from the first phase of the COVID-19 virus origin-tracing in China. The conclusions include that intermediate hosts are "very to highly likely" to be the source that passed the virus to human beings, while a "lab leak" is ranked as "extremely unlikely." When we thought we were finally getting some clarity on the origins of COVID-19 after the WHO published the official report, the US government, without giving much credit to the progress made by scientists in the report, claimed in high profile that they will deploy their own intelligence forces to conduct an origin-tracing investigation that targets the Wuhan lab and hunts for origins of the virus. With the "lab leak theory" being hyped by the US administration, the origin-tracing study is now taking a dramatic direction and becoming a political witch-hunt that puts scientific findings at risk.

Inconsistency in the whole process

In the WHO origin-tracing report, scientists of the independent panel concluded that aspects including intermediate hosts should be the focus of further research in the next stage, and the origin-tracing needs to be conducted worldwide since early outbreaks of COVID-19 were scattered in different parts of the world. Logically, we should build upon the progress that the first-stage report has made and dig deeper into the possible hosts as well as the data of countries where COVID-19 antibodies are found in blood samples that were collected at the same time when the Wuhan outbreak has just started. 

Strange enough, the US government seems to find scientists' conclusions untrustworthy and is determined to tie the origins of the virus to the Wuhan lab. While equaling "highly unlikely" to "not ruled out," the US is making a "lab leak" story the top priority on the list and completely pushed aside researching on the highly likely sources of the virus identified from the prior WHO report such as intermediate hosts and other animal-related sources. 

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