Harvard scientist says experts refused to consider lab leak theory to avoid being called ‘racist’
A scientist from Harvard and MIT said her colleagues denied any possibility of a lab leak theory because they didn’t want to be seen as “a tool for racists” or be associated with former President Donald Trump.
“At the time, it was scarier to be associated with Trump and to become a tool for racists, so people didn’t want to publicly call for an investigation into lab origins,” Alina Chan, a postdoctoral associate at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University said.
“I know a lot of people want to have a smoking gun,” Chan continued. It’s more like breadcrumbs everywhere, and they’re not always leading in one direction. It’s like the whole floor is covered in breadcrumbs.”
Chan says it could be possible that the scientists at the Wuhan lab were genetically engineering viruses and tweaking with virus samples. She added that finding evidence of such work would be very difficult to do so.
“You can do recombination without leaving a trace,” she said. “Basically, it’s like you can 3D-print clothing with no seams, so it’s difficult to tell if anything has been manipulated or stitched together in a lab.”
Chan made clear that she is not fully on board with the lab leak theory and says it’s “definitely possible” that the virus evolved in nature. She contends that since neither theory can be disproven at this time, both must be investigated to find the truth.
“All the evidence right now is circumstantial, and it’s consistent with both lab and natural origins,” Chan continued. “There’s precedents for lab leaks, the genetic data could swing either way, and the epidemiological data, which is how it unfolded in Wuhan, can also swing either way. None of this is pointing in any one direction.”
Chan was one of 18 experts who signed a letter in May demanding the government thoroughly investigate the Wuhan lab leak theory.
“As scientists with relevant expertise, we agree with the WHO director-general, the United States and 13 other countries, and the European Union that greater clarity about the origins of this pandemic is necessary and feasible to achieve,” the letter stated.
“We must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data. A proper investigation should be transparent, objective, data-driven, inclusive of broad expertise, subject to independent oversight, and responsibly managed to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest,” the letter continued.
Watch Chan’s interview here:
Chan is co-author of an upcoming book titled “Viral” which will chronicle “every twist and turn in the detective work to uncover the origin of Covid-19,” according to the publisher’s announcement.