by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Editors at National Review Online call for a more thorough probe into the cause of our yearlong pandemic problems.
The World Health Organization’s investigation into the origins of COVID is an international scandal. The global health body has released a joint report with the Chinese government on its findings about the disease, following a WHO mission to China in February, and it only confirms the grave doubts harbored by outside observers regarding the panel’s impartiality.
The 17 WHO-appointed investigators and 17 Chinese experts who authored the study dismiss out of hand as “extremely unlikely” the lab theory of COVID’s origin — the idea, specifically, that it leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is the highest-level-security lab in China (biosafety level four) and one known to have experimented with coronaviruses carried by bats. They instead assert that the virus most likely reached humans either directly from bats or from bats via other small mammals.
The truth is that each of these theories is just that — a theory, unsupported yet by direct, material evidence. But the lab theory can’t be blithely dismissed, even though, incredibly enough, the WHO study treats more seriously a debunked theory pushed by the Chinese government stating that the disease originated in China when it arrived on foreign frozen-food packaging.
A recent segment on 60 Minutes explained why the lab theory remains a plausible explanation. Jamie Metzl, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who advises WHO on genetic engineering, noted that the facility had experimented with nine viruses taken from bat caves, including one with genetic similarities to SARS-CoV-2. More crucially, the theory favored by WHO fails to explain a missing link. If it were true, Metzl said, the virus would have showed up prior to reaching Wuhan: “You would have had an outbreak, perhaps in Southern China where they have those animal farms. You may have seen some kind of evidence of an outbreak along the way.”