Thursday 24 November 2022 12:50 PM Top British scientist privately condemned 'Wild West' research being carried ... trends now
The top British scientist who played a central role in crushing suggestions that Covid could have originated in a laboratory has privately condemned 'Wild West' research being carried out in Wuhan, the Chinese city that saw the world's first outbreak of the virus.
Sir Jeremy Farrar's damning indictment, sent to two leading scientists in the United States, shows that the head of the Wellcome Trust admitted to fears the new virus emerging in China might have been tied to research – even as he coordinated an influential paper dismissing 'any type of laboratory-based scenario'.
The emails released under Freedom of Information rules also disclose that the then chief medical adviser to the White House, Anthony Fauci, was so alarmed by one unusual feature of coronavirus that he advised colleagues they might need to tip off the FBI and MI5.
The revelations are the latest developments in the unsolved mystery about whether the Covid pandemic could have been caused by a laboratory leak, was engineered by scientists or crossed over from animals infected with a bat virus.
Sir Jeremy Farrar's damning indictment, sent to two leading scientists in the United States, shows that the head of the Wellcome Trust admitted to fears the new virus emerging in China might have been tied to research – even as he coordinated an influential paper dismissing 'any type of laboratory-based scenario'. Pictured: Jeremy Farrar
Bob Seely, the Tory MP and member of the Commons foreign affairs committee, said: 'It is depressing and alarming that influential scientists seem to have had private concerns over the possibility of the pandemic emerging from a laboratory even as they publicly denied such ideas.
'One of the most serious issues emerging from this sorry saga has been the role of senior figures in science stamping on any questioning of the origins or open sense of transparency. It beggars belief what has gone on.'
The latest disclosures fuel concerns the scientific establishment colluded to stifle suggestions that Sars-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19 – might have resulted from research the US helped fund in China.
The email discussions took place among an elite group of scientists rounded up by Fauci and Farrar after the media began to probe research into bat coronaviruses at Wuhan Institute of Virology where scientists were engaged in 'gain of function' experiments that can potentially boost the infectivity of coronaviruses. But these were banned for three years in the US amid fears they might spark pandemic.
Although the Wuhan laboratory was the first in China with maximum-level biosafety clearance, the group of experts confirmed that researchers there carried out risky experiments under conditions with much lower level safety protocols.
Their work included transferring viruses in mice that contained the human version of a receptor on cell surfaces through which some coronaviruses infect our bodies.
Bob Seely, the Tory MP, pictured and member of the Commons foreign affairs committee, said that it is depressing and alarming that scientists had concerns over the possibility of the pandemic coming from a laboratory even though they denied the ideas publicly
Referring to the bio-safety level of the laboratory used, Francis Collins, head of the main US research body that funded Wuhan Institute of Virology's work through EcoHealth Alliance, a New York based organisation led by British scientist Peter Daszak, said: 'Surely that wouldn't be done in a BSL-2 lab.'
'Wild West…' responded Farrar.
Their emails, on February 4, 2020, followed a teleconference four days earlier that Farrar led at Fauci's request as