Reply To: Origins of SARS cov2

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I have heard, but have not confirmed, that the latest WHO mission to China is being denied access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology by the Chinese government – update; this may be still under discussion.

The labelling of the lab origin theory as a conspiracy theory may itself have a touch of conspiracy about it, as mentioned in this fairly detailed article (the whole article is well worth reading):

The Lab-Leak Hypothesis – New York Mag

In The Lancet, in February, a powerful counterstatement appeared, signed by 27 scientists. “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,” the statement said. “Scientists from multiple countries have published and analyzed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife, as have so many other emerging pathogens.”

The behind-the-scenes organizer of this Lancet statement, Peter Daszak, is a zoologist and bat-virus sample collector and the head of a New York nonprofit called EcoHealth Alliance — a group that (as veteran science journalist Fred Guterl explained later in Newsweek) has channeled money from the National Institutes of Health to Shi Zhengli’s laboratory in Wuhan, allowing the lab to carry on recombinant research into diseases of bats and humans. “We have a choice whether to stand up and support colleagues who are being attacked and threatened daily by conspiracy theorists or to just turn a blind eye,” Daszak said in February in Science magazine.”

Shi Zhengli could be under coercion from the Chinese authorities; does this read like rational scientific refutation to you?

Shi made some WeChat posts early in 2020. “The novel 2019 coronavirus is nature punishing the human race for keeping uncivilized living habits,” she wrote. “I, Shi Zhengli, swear on my life that it has nothing to do with our laboratory.” She advised those who believed rumors, and gave credence to unreliable scientific papers, to “shut their stinking mouths.”

The lab origin theory would imply a limited conspiracy, not a vast, ever-expanding one as per my own definition of “conspiracy theory”.