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