This letter was organized by Stanford University microbiologist David Relman (David Relman) and Washington University virologist Jesse Bloom (Jesse Bloom), aimed at the World Health Organization and China’s recent A joint study on the origin of the symbiosis was conducted, and the study concluded that bat viruses may infect humans.The laboratory accidents that occurred through intermediate animals are “Extremely impossible.”
According to the author of the new letter, this conclusion is scientifically unreasonable because So far, no trace of how the virus was transmitted to humans for the first time has been found And the possibility of laboratory accidents can only be seen roughly. Only a small part of the 313 pages of the WHO Origins Report and its annexes are dedicated to this topic.
The famous Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch was one of the signatories of this letter. He said that until recently he had not expressed his opinion on the origin of the virus, but instead chose to focus on improving the design of epidemiological research and vaccine trials, partly because the debate on laboratory theory has become so controversial. He said: “I left because I was busy dealing with the outcome of the pandemic, not the origin.”[But] When the World Health Organization publishes a report that makes specious claims on an important topic… it is worth speaking out. “
In the past, those who signed this letter, including Lipsitch and Relman, asked for a more rigorous review of “gain-of-function” research, in which the virus was genetically modified to make it more infectious Force or toxicity. At the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the main center of bat virus research in China, pathogen engineering experiments are underway. Some people believe that the fact that covid-19 first appeared in the city where the laboratory is located can indirectly prove that the laboratory accident may be the culprit.
Lipsitch used to have Estimated risk A pandemic caused by accidental releases from high-safety biological laboratories each year occurs in 1 out of 1,000 to 10,000 cases each year. He warned that the proliferation of thousands of such laboratories worldwide is a major problem.
Even if Chinese scientists say that no such leaks have occurred in this case, the author of the letter said that this can only be determined through more independent investigations. They wrote: “Appropriate investigations should be transparent, objective, data-driven, include extensive expertise, and be independently supervised and managed responsibly to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest.” Public health agencies and Research laboratories are required to disclose their records to the public. Researchers should record the accuracy and source of the data used for analysis and conclusions. “
Shi Zhengli, chief scientist of emerging diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said in an email that the suspicions in this letter are misplaced and will damage the world’s ability to respond to pandemics. “This is absolutely unacceptable,” Shi said of the phone call the team checked her laboratory records. “Who can provide evidence that does not exist?”
“It’s very sad to read this” book “written by these 18 famous scientists.” Shi wrote in her e-mail. “This statement will definitely damage the reputation and enthusiasm of scientists working on new animal viruses, which have a potential spillover risk to humans, and ultimately weaken humans’ ability to prevent the next pandemic.”
Discussions about the laboratory leak hypothesis have become highly politicized. In the United States, Republican lawmakers and conservative media figures, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson (Tucker Carlson), have spoken out about it. Relman said the resulting polarization has had a chilling effect on scientists, some of whom are reluctant to express their concerns.
He said: “The reason why we are motivated to say something is because science has not reached the level it should be. This is a very fair, rigorous and open endeavour to make things clearer.” “For me. Part of the purpose is to provide a safe space for other scientists to express their opinions.”
Stanford University biosafety expert Megan Palmer (Megan Palmer) said: “Ideally, this is a relatively uncontroversial call for people to keep a clear head when testing some feasible hypotheses for which we lack data. “When politics is complicated and the risks are high, reminders from well-known experts may be needed to prompt others to seriously consider it.”