Pandemics create difficult periods in this planet's history. COVID-19 seared itself as the worst epidemic. I remember the days in early 2020 when I dressed like an astronaut more than a physician; I had to round up extremely sick and sometimes dying hospital patients. There were no drugs to stop the infection and certainly, no vaccine. The only way to prevent the deadly virus, which had. already killed thousands by then, was to use protective gear. Dead bodies filled the hospital halls, spreading a wrenching odor in some areas. Tearful family members were a constant sight. We did not know what sort of virus it was until a few Chinese virologists discovered the disease's gene sequencing. The disease derived from a bat!
After seven million deaths, the question still lingers. How did a Chinese wet market develop such a dangerous virus progeny? The existence of bat viruses has long been known, but human hosts for them were never seen as natural. It certainly happened in viral laboratories where scientists introduced genes artificially in their DNA sequence that would make them more likely to enter humans!
Shi Zhengli, also known as "China's Bat Woman," was a virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. She conducted extensive research on bat coronaviruses. Her claim to fame includes articles on her risky gain-of-function experiments, showcased in Nature Journal. Gain-of-function experiments are a technical term that indicates orchestrating changes in the genetic build of microorganisms that can attack and proliferate in animals that are higher in the evolutionary tree, for example, from bat to man. In 2015, Zhengli and her team created a himeric virus combining a bat coronavirus with a SARS-like virus, which raised controversy for its potential to be more infectious and deadly. These factors have led to speculation that Zhengli's lab may have played a role in the origin of COVID-19.
Suspicions arose when institutions in the United States responsible for funding the Wuhan Lab had evidence that the lab was at risk of accidentally leaking the lethal virus strains. Firstly, there were reports of sick researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology before the outbreak. This suggests the virus may have accidentally leaked from the lab and infected those working there. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is also located near the Wuhan wet market. Thus, it was an easy explanation for viral origin for those wanting to cover up the system failure at the virology institute.
A gene therapy and cell engineering specialist, Dr. Alina Chan, has been tirelessly investigating the virus's origins. She suspects it may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Her persevering focus on the Virology Institute and the possibility of a lab leak has opened doors to further investigations and shed light on what was once considered a mere conspiracy theory. Despite facing ridicule and a potential threat from the Chinese government, Dr. Chan continued to push her theory forward.
Dr. Chan wasn't the only one with this claim. Dr. Li Meng Yan, a Chinese virologist, has even gone so far as to claim that the Chinese government intentionally manufactured and released the virus into the world. While this claim is controversial and not yet substantiated, it speaks to the distrust and lack of transparency that the rest of the world has toward the Chinese government in handling the virus from the beginning. If that is true, it speaks of an experiment going severely wrong. Thousands of Chinese are prey to this deadly raging pandemic to this day.
China's lack of transparency and attempts to suppress information during the early stages of the pandemic are widely documented. Despite being aware of the outbreak as early as December 2019, the Chinese government initially denied the possibility of human-to-human transmission. Physicians like Dr. Li Wenliang, who warned about the virus using social media, was condemned or vanished! Meanwhile, China was secretly locking down entire provinces to contain the spread of the virus while withholding crucial information about the outbreak and downplaying the severity of the situation to the rest of the world. All these actions undoubtedly contributed to the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe and the deaths of millions of people. It was not clear why someone would suppress information about a natural pandemic! Such inconsistencies have raised suspicion about the true origin of the virus. Mainly if there was any initiative to develop a potential biological warfare weapon experiment that had gone sour!
Recent news that raised eyebrows was the FBI and the energy department of the US Govt, albeit with low confidence claiming that the virus origin was from the viral institute. However, earlier intelligence agencies from other nations have supported the lab leak theory as a plausible explanation for the origins of COVID-19. One Israeli expert also said that the Virology institute operated under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, but some of its laboratories "have linkage with the PLA or B.W.-related elements within the Chinese defense establishment." "The PLA" refers to the Chinese military. "BW." makes reference to biological weapons.
While the FBI has made its opinion clear, the CIA remained non-committal. The CIA contended that it could not be sure of the lab leak theory. However, it has been widely disseminated in the American press that the agency may be trying to cover up its involvement in creating COVID-19. It is well known that the US was funding research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology
through Dr. Antony Fauci, the former Chief Medical Advisor to the President of America. He claimed that these were not for Gain of function research.
Contrarily, Dr. Andrew Huff, the former vice president of Eco Health Alliance, claimed that the US government funded dangerous genetic engineering of coronaviruses in China. This has raised concerns that the US may have played a role in creating COVID-19. Eco Health Alliance is a global environmental health non-profit organization dedicated to protecting wildlife and public health from the emergence of diseases. Dr. Andrew Huff is a combat veteran, technologist, and infectious disease epidemiologist with decades of experience in scientific research, national security, and entrepreneurship and is considered a whistleblower against the so-called "COVID cover-up." He contends, however, that the viral leak may be accidental and not plotted with any evidence of depravity.
Perhaps the lack of concrete evidence of a lab leak has given ammunition to develop many "conspiracy theories." However, it is also true that viral originating from the wet market, unfortunately, does not hold much scientific credence either, further fueling such conspiracy theories. Despite the Chinese government's insistence that COVID-19 was created in a wet market in Wuhan, there are several reasons to doubt the natural transmission theory. First, there is no known intermediate host for the virus, making it highly unlikely that it could have jumped from animals to humans. Additionally, the virus emerged near the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was conducting research on bat coronaviruses, raising the possibility of a lab leak. Finally,
The Chinese government's lack of transparency and initial cover-up of the outbreak suggests they may have something to hide.
The stakes are high, and the need for transparency and accountability has never been greater. The generation of such abominations garnered by a nation's wishes to develop novel and pernicious biological weapons is only condemnable. Future prevention of such action can only be demonstrated by punitive action. The ongoing debate and conflicting opinions about the possibility of a lab leak underscore the importance of transparency, accountability, and impartial investigation in scientific research. We cannot afford to ignore the potential risks and consequences of another global pandemic, nor can we allow politics or secrecy to stand in the way of progress. China's lack of a democratic government and its uncontested veil on the origins of COVID remains a severe roadblock to this end.