Time’s up to get to the bottom of COVID-19 origins, write the authors of last spring’s WHO report in a new commentary in Nature.
“Crucially, the window is rapidly closing on the biological feasibility of conducting the critical trace-back of people and animals inside and outside China,” they write.
Meanwhile, an inconclusive report by US intelligence agencies on the pandemic’s origins spurred calls from politicians and scientists alike for further investigation, according to The Washington Post.
“I’m actually disturbed that much of the scientific and public health community seems complacent to make their best guesses and move on without getting to the root cause of the pandemic,” said Anita Cicero, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
China Tries to Shift the Blame
Nervous about the heightened scrutiny, China has unleashed a wave of disinformation—using official channels to peddle conspiracy theories tracing the coronavirus’s origin to US military research, The New York Times reports.
The rap: They’ve even promoted a Chinese rap song about the claim, spreading the lyrics: “How many plots came out of your labs? How many dead bodies hanging a tag?”
The WHO’s Michael Ryan criticized China for the campaign yesterday: “It is slightly contradictory if colleagues in China are saying that the lab leak hypothesis is unfounded in the context of China, but we now need to go and do laboratory investigations in other countries for leaks there.”