WHO official reverses position on lab leak theory, now says it’s ‘probable’
The World Health Organization’s Dr. Peter Ben Embarek initially discredited the lab leak theory regarding the origin of Covid-19’s patient zero but has flipped his position after conducting an investigation.
“An employee who was infected in the field by taking samples falls under one of the probable hypotheses. This is where the virus jumps directly from a bat to a human,” he said. “In that case, it would then be a laboratory worker instead of a random villager or other person who has regular contact with bats. So it is actually in the probable category.”
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Embarek originally tried to prevent scientists from pursuing the theory, but the results of the WHO probe he led has convinced him it bears further inquiry.
“When I still think we should investigate the hypothesis of a laboratory leak, it is for several different reasons. One of them is the way the Chinese government has behaved,” he continued. “They have tried to suppress all research in this area. We do not know if it is because they just want to try to control the story, or if it is because they have something to hide.”
Embarek and his colleagues were not able to see any lab notes or documentation during their investigation. While at the Wuhan Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, they were prohibited from accessing any notes, books, or records of any kind from the lab. In fact, they almost did not get permission to discuss the theory during the inquiry at all.
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“We did not get to look at laboratory books or documents directly from the laboratory,” Embarek said. “We got a presentation, and then we talked about and asked the questions we wanted to ask, but we did not get to look at any documentation at all.”
“Until 48 hours before we finished the whole mission, we still had no agreement [with the Chinese scientists] that we would talk about the laboratory part of the report,” he continued. “So it was right up to the end that it was discussed whether it should be included or not.”
The Wuhan Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has publicly spoken nor published anything discussing research with bats since 2013. Embarek cautioned that that doesn’t mean it hasn’t occurred off the record.
Patient zero – the original source of the virus – is yet to be identified, although the virus is responsible for the deaths of over 3.5 million people worldwide.
Earlier this year, Director General of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, whom many consider being an ally of China, accused them of withholding information and data from a WHO investigative panel, maintaining that the lab-leak theory should be investigated further.
“I expect future collaborative studies to include more timely and comprehensive data sharing,” he added, in a somewhat surprising jab at China.
Other pieces of evidence suggest that Covid could have been in the public for months before China ever reported it to the rest of the world – either as a result of the often-mild disease going undetected or the result of a cover-up.
Embarek also backtracked on his statements saying there was no evidence of virus transmission “in Wuhan or elsewhere” before December 2019. He flipped his position shortly thereafter, based on discoveries about 13 different variants of Covid present in China in December, suggesting that that virus had been around for a while.
Italian scientists in Italy detected Covid in blood samples in the fall of 2019, and Spain says the disease was in their country in January 2020, which is before the first reported case.
Another intelligence report makes the claim that there were three staffers at the Wuhan laboratory who were hospitalized in November 2019 whose symptoms were ”consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness.” That was a month before the first official cases of Covid were detected.
China has vigorously denied that the pandemic originated in the Wuhan lab. They have accused nine other countries, including the U.S., of being responsible for the pandemic and have even said the U.S. is “playing politics” by bringing up the lab leak theory at all.