It can be difficult at times for the public, I think, to observe the debate and discern the likelihood of the various hypotheses. That is particularly true where science becomes politicized, and the current vilification of scientists and subject matter experts sets a dangerous precedent. We saw that with the climate change debate and now we’re seeing it with the debate around various facets of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Throughout this pandemic, I have made my best efforts to help explain what the scientific evidence is and suggests, and I have no regrets about that.
I have always supported further inquiries into the origin of SARS-CoV-2, including President Biden’s recent call, as it is important that we more fully understand how the virus emerged.
As is true for any scientific process, there are several things that would lend credence to the lab-leak hypothesis that would make me change my mind. For example, any credible evidence of SARS-CoV-2 having been at the Wuhan Institute of Virology prior to the pandemic — whether in a freezer, in tissue culture or in animals, or epidemiological evidence of very early confirmed Covid-19 cases associated with the institute.
Other evidence, were it to emerge, could lend further weight to the natural origin hypothesis. That includes the identification of an intermediate [animal] host (if one exists). Also, now that we know that live animals were sold at markets across Wuhan, further understanding of the flow of animals and connected supply lines could lend additional credence to natural emergence.
I have always seen Twitter as a way to interact with other scientists and the general public to encourage open and transparent dialogue about science.
Increasingly, however, I found that information and comments I posted were being taken out of context or misrepresented to push false narratives, in particular about the origins of SARS-CoV-2. Daily attacks against scientists and the scientific method have also become common, and much of the conversation has steered far away from the science.
Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/14/science/covid-lab-leak-fauci-kristian-andersen.html