Prominent Scientists Call for Deeper Investigation Into COVID-19 Origins

Headline Roundup May 14th, 2021

A letter written to the academic journal Science by 18 prominent scientists called for deeper investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable," said the letter. "Knowing how COVID-19 emerged is critical for informing global strategies to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks." The scientists also criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) for its original probe into the disease's genesis and initial conclusion that a lab leak was "extremely unlikely."

The letter was covered by many center- and right-rated outlets, with the right often covering it more prominently and framing the WHO and China in a negative light. Notably fewer left-rated outlets offered original reporting on the letter. Some right-rated voices also argued that the letter "disarms the cynical instrumentalization of the fight against anti-Asian racism" purportedly advanced by people who called the lab leak hypothesis a conspiracy.

From the Center

The origin of the novel coronavirus is still unclear and the theory that it was caused by a laboratory leak needs to be taken seriously until there is a rigorous data-led investigation that proves it wrong, a group of leading scientists said.

COVID-19, which emerged in China in late 2019, has killed 3.34 million people, cost the world trillions of dollars in lost income and upended normal life for billions of people.

"More investigation is still needed to determine the origin of the pandemic," said the 18 scientists, including Ravindra...

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From the Left

A group of 18 scientists stated Thursday in a letter published in the journal Science that there is not enough evidence to decide whether a natural origin or an accidental laboratory leak caused the Covid-19 pandemic.

They argued, as the U.S. government and other countries have, for a new investigation to explore where the virus came from.

The organizers of the letter, Jesse Bloom, who studies the evolution of viruses at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and David Relman, a microbiologist at Stanford University, said they strove...

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From the Right

A group of top scientists from around the globe has pushed back on the World Health Organization’s conclusion that it is “extremely unlikely” COVID-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab — insisting the theory is “viable” and deserves “a proper investigation.”

Eighteen prominent scientists, including a Harvard University epidemiologist and a Stanford University microbiologist, are calling for a “transparent” and “data-driven” probe into the origins of the pandemic that has killed more than 3.34 million people worldwide as of Friday.

“Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both...

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