Lab leak theory of Coronavirus needs credible investigation

Synopsis: The theory that Coronavirus could have been man-made from Wuhan Institute of Virology is increasing. So, adequate studies are necessary regarding the Lab leak theory of Coronavirus.

  • When the Covid-19 became a pandemic, China promoted the narrative that the virus had a natural origin, and it got spread from a wet market in Wuhan. This was done to avoid any scrutiny on researches being carried out in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
  • Soon, the idea of a Lab leak theory of Coronavirus was discredited as a conspiracy theory and most experts embraced the natural spread narrative.
  • Even the findings of the WHO on the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (coronavirus) dismissed the lab leak as “extremely unlikely”.
  • However, recent developments point out the possibility that coronavirus could have originated from a lab leak, either intentionally or unintentionally.
  • Recently, the U.S. President made an appeal to the U.S. intelligence community “to collect and analyse information so that, a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the virus could be made.
  • Further, the publication by Nicholas Wade, titled the origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?” has laid out a strong case for a fuller investigation into this event.

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Arguments in support of lab leak theory of Coronavirus
  • First, advancement in biotechnology had made it possible to genetically engineer existing pathogens to make them more lethal and difficult to treat.
  • Second, in 2019, the head of corona virus-related research at WIV lab, in an interview, talked about the research carried out involving the creation of novel, life-threatening and pandemic-creating viruses.
  • Third, though The WIV operates a Biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) facility, many times the deficient safety standards had been reported by U.S. inspectors but no remedial measures were taken.
  • Fourth, China’s reluctance to share data, covering up facts and impeding investigation raises suspicion.
  • Fifth, the findings of WHO is also being discarded on the account that the inquiry team had persons with vest interests in the WIV experimentation.
  • Sixth, there are instances when Smallpox and other viruses have escaped from secured laboratories before.

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To prevent future pandemics or an event of Biowarfare, the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) needs to be strengthened by resolving the following drawbacks. Such as,

    1. The convention has no systems to verify compliance with its prohibitions. So, the global countries have to come together to build such a system
    2. The convention lacks enforcement mechanisms to penalize infringement of its provisions. So, the enforcement system has to be strengthened.

Source: The Hindu

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