Released emails reveal that scientists who attributed the COVID-19 pandemic to natural origins and downplayed the lab leak theory had different ideas in private.
Conversations between scientists and public officials indicate that some may have chosen to conceal evidence that might add to conspiracy theories.
According to notes from a February 2020 meeting, Dr. Robert Garry from Tulane’s School of Medicine said “I really can’t think of a plausible natural scenario where you get from the bat virus … to nCoV where you insert exactly four amino acids 12 nucleotide that all have to be added at the exact same time to gain this function”.
“I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature,” Garry added. “Don’t mention a lab origin, as that will just add fuel to the conspiracists”.
New questions are being asked about what scientists and health officials knew about the origins of the virus and whether evidence was hidden from the public.
Dr. Anthony Fauci was reportedly warned as early as Jan. 27, 2020, about the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases being linked to the Wuhan lab through EcoHealth.
NIAID Principal Deputy Director Hugh Auchinloss had suggested to Fauci that the partially tied research “may not have gone through the appropriate biosafety evaluations”, according to Fox News. Auchinloss claimed he would “try to determine if we have any distant ties” to the facility.
Dr. Kristian Anderson, a virologist at the Scripps lab, told Fauci on Jan. 31 2020, that “the genome is inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory”. After Fauci was made aware of the observations, a conference call was organized with dozens of expert virologists around the world.
Another Scripps lab researcher, Dr. Mike Farzan, expressed his doubts about the virus’ origins. During the meeting, they pointed to evidence that the virus originated in a market in Wuhan. Authorities had shut down and scrubbed the market clean before a full investigation could be done.
Then-National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins had sided with natural causation theory, claiming blame for the outbreak could disrupt “international harmony”.
Shortly after, five researchers from the conference shared their findings that abandoned the idea of a lab leak. The article stated, “Our analysis clearly shows that [COVID] is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus”.
The prior evidence was completely unacknowledged in the article, and private communications show that multiple drafts were sent to Fauci and Collins for approval. Officials continued to suppress ideas that the COVID-19 outbreak came from a lab.
When former president Trump said he would not disregard the theory that the virus spread from a Chinese market, Collins said to Fauci, “Wondering is there something NIH can do to put down this very destructive conspiracy”. “I would not do anything about this right now. It is a shiny object that will go away in time,” Fauci responded.
Through the rest of his time in his position, Collins continued to follow the natural cause hypothesis. In an interview, he stated, “Certainly possible that this was somehow under study in the lab even though it was not human engineered from scratch, I am quite confident of that”.