Posted July 10, 2021 5:17 pm by

NAIROBI, Kenya July – 10 – The virus that led to the COVID-19 pandemic evolved in nature, while suggestions of a laboratory-leak source “remain without scientifically validated evidence”, a group of international scientists have written in The Lancet medical journal.

In a letter published on Monday, 24 physicians, veterinarians, epidemiologists, virologists, biologists, ecologists and public health experts from around the world continued to dismiss the lab-leak idea, as more recent, peer-reviewed studies strongly suggest that COVID-19 has a natural origin.

In February 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, the same team of scientists wrote in a letter, also on The Lancet, saying: “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”

“Recently, many of us have individually received inquiries asking whether we still support what we said in early 2020,” they wrote in a new letter titled “Science, not speculation, is essential to determine how SARS-CoV-2 reached humans”.

“The answer is clear: we reaffirm our expression of solidarity with those in China who confronted the outbreak then, and the many health professionals around the world who have since worked to exhaustion, and at personal risk, in the relentless and continuing battle against this virus. Our respect and gratitude have only grown with time,” the authors wrote.

The authors said their original letter was also intended to express their working view that SARS-CoV-2 “most likely” originated in nature and not in a laboratory.

This view was based on early genetic analysis of the new virus and “well-established evidence” from previous emerging infectious diseases, including the coronaviruses that cause the common cold as well as the original SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, they noted.

SARS-CoV-2 stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, while MERS is short for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, another viral respiratory illness.

As of Tuesday, the world has reported more than 183.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases, with the COVID-19 death toll nearing 4 million, according to the World Health Organization statistics.

“We believe the strongest clue from new, credible, and peer-reviewed evidence in the scientific literature is that the virus evolved in nature, while suggestions of a laboratory-leak source of the pandemic remain without scientifically validated evidence that directly supports it in peer-reviewed scientific journals,” the new letter stated.

In March, the WHO released the origin-tracing study report of the China-WHO joint mission, drawing a conclusion that lab leak is “extremely unlikely”.

In late May, US Read More…