Lancet article calls for ‘objective, open and transparent’ debate over COVID-19 origins


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Previous articles dismiss lab-leak theory as ‘conspiracy’

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The Lancet medical journal has published an article calling for “objective” and “transparent” debate about the true origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, more than a year and a half after its controversial article denounced “conspiracy theories”. The latter suggest that this virus has leaked from a laboratory in China.

NS article published on FridayThe title, “An Appeal for an Objective, Open and Transparent Scientific Debate About the Origins of SARS-CoV-2,” has been signed by 16 scientists who argue that a laboratory-related accident is “plausible” is, as it is, a natural virus of origin, and that no theory has yet to be dismissed.


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“There is an overwhelming lack of evidence for a zoonotic or research-related origin: the jury is still out,” he wrote. “As a complement to our own analyzes of the coronavirus genome and proteins, based on the current scientific literature, we believe that there is currently a natural origin (i.e., a virus that has evolved and transmitted only to humans) between There is no compelling evidence to make a selection. Through contact with wild or farmed animals) and a research-related origin (which may occur at sampling sites, during transport, or within a laboratory, and may include natural, selected or Engineered viruses may be involved).

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The authors criticized a controversial “statement in support of scientists” article published by The Lancet in February of 2020, which declared, “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories, suggesting that That COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.” That letter, signed by 27 experts, warned that the sharing of data on the COVID-19 outbreak was “threatened by rumors and misinformation” about its origins.

The February 2020 letter faced scrutiny after one of the authors, Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance and member of The Lancet’s COVID-19 commission, did not disclose competing interests and the origins of the subsequent pandemic. Working on was “re” done. Daszak has since updated its disclosure statement to include information about EcoHealth’s work in China.

In July, the same group of experts published another paper in a 2020 paper reaffirming their belief that COVID-19 evolved in nature, while calling on others to “diminish the heat of rhetoric and shine the light of scientific inquiry.” requested to start”.

The authors of Friday’s letter argued that the statements from the second group “have had a muted effect on the broader scientific debate, including those of science journalists.”

“Scientific journals should open their columns for a thorough analysis of all hypotheses,” he argued. “As scientists, we need to evaluate all hypotheses on a rational basis, and weigh their likelihood based on facts and evidence devoid of speculation concerning potential political implications.”

“More importantly, science embraces alternative hypotheses, paradoxical arguments, validation, refutation and controversy,” he continued. “Departing from this theory risks establishing dogma, discarding the essence of science, and, worse, giving way to conspiracy theories. Instead, the scientific community should bring this debate to where it is.” .: Columns of scientific journals.”

The World Health Organization-led investigation into its inconclusive results in March sparked much scrutiny of the virus, and China rejected a second phase of investigation into its origins. In Friday’s article scientists said that preliminary studies concluded the origin of the laboratory was “extremely unlikely”, with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declaring that all hypotheses remained on the table.

The authors then called for an “evidence-based, independent and bias-free assessment” into the origins of the virus, which they said would require “an international consultation of high-level experts from diverse disciplines and countries without conflicts of interest”. . “

Alexandria Hein contributed reporting.

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