London: A Canadian molecular biologist on Wednesday told cross-party members of Parliament (MPs) on the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in the United Kingdom (UK) that a leak from a laboratory in the Wuhan region of China is now the more likely origin of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Dr. Alina Chan, specializing in gene therapy and cell engineering and co-author of ‘Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19’, told the Parliament panel’s evidence session on scientific research that the pandemic was being caused by the unique feature of the coronavirus called furin cleavage site, which has been linked to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
When asked by the panel about the probability of a lab leak as the origin of the pandemic, Chan said a lab origin is more likely than a natural origin at this point.
Chan stressed that the burden was on the scientists in question to show that their work did not result in the creation of SARS-COV2, the virus behind Covid-19 and that an investigation of documents being made available by US-based EcoHealth Alliance could hold the key.
There is no evidence pointing to a natural animal origin of the virus, she noted. On the question of her level of confidence that the world would eventually be able to establish the true origins of Covid-19, Chan said it was simply a matter of time.
Her co-author, Lord Matt Ridley also concurred with Chan’s assertion that it was more likely than not the cause behind the pandemic. The evidence session forms part of the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee inquiry into “reproducibility and research integrity”, which is expected to produce its findings in 2022.