Why Did Scientists Suppress the Lab Leak Theory?

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Join Reason on YouTube and Facebook Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern for a discussion with Matt Ridley of new documents that reveal how and why scientists downplayed the possibility of a COVID lab leak scenario.

Zach Weissmueller and Nick Gillespie |

A widely cited paper dismissing the COVID lab leak theory “expressed conclusions that were not based on sound science or in fact,” wrote the authors of a recent House of Representatives committee report entitled “The Proximal Origin of a Cover-Up.”

“The question is why,” ask the authors.

For a deep exploration of that question and the wider implications of its possible answers, join Reason‘s Nick Gillespie and Zach Weissmueller on Reason‘s YouTube channel or Facebook page, where they’ll discuss the lab leak theory with Matt Ridley, science writer and co-author of Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19, this Thursday at 1:30 pm ET. 

Sources cited in this interview:

YouGov: Two-thirds of Americans believe COVID-19 originated in a lab: https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/articles-reports/2023/03/10/americans-believe-covid-origin-lab

Early February 1 draft of Proximal Origin paper: https://drive.google.com/file/d/11zyWYG1OZ7z7RMZHaj2EoDeHveGnendT/view

House Oversight Committee evidence: https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/2023.03.05-SSCP-Memo-Re.-New-Evidence.Proximal-Origin.pdf

Nature: “Proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2”: https://www.nature.com/articles/S41591-020-0820-9

Kristian Andersen’s written statement to Congress: https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Testimony-of-Dr.-Kristian-Andersen.pdf

Redacted vs. unredacted Fauci email: https://twitter.com/justin_hart/status/1679705254462631937/photo/1

Wall Street Journal: U.S.-funded scientist among three researchers who fell ill amid early COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-funded-scientist-among-three-chinese-researchers-who-fell-ill-amid-early-covid-19-outbreak-3f919567

Unredacted Fauci email: https://twitter.com/COVIDSelect/status/1679606442414809090?s=20

House Oversight Committee report on Proximal Origin paper: https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Final-Report-6.pdf

Shi/Baric paper on gain-of-function research: https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3985

Shi group created 8 chimeric SARS CoVs in 2017: https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1006698

RFK Jr. on bioweapons: https://twitter.com/LevineJonathan/status/1680205451483283456?t=CFNd8mp9HzgQPeF7jR8F_g&s=31

RFK Jr. response to New York Post reporting: https://twitter.com/RobertKennedyJr/status/1680227322509635595?s=20

BMC Medicine: The genetic susceptibility of populations to COVID-19 https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-020-01673-z

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