biology: recent publications

Why did scientists suppress the lab-leak theory?

My article for Spiked:In August 2007 there was an outbreak of foot-and-mouth virus on a farm in Surrey. It was a few miles from the world’s leading reference laboratory for identifying outbreaks of foot and mouth.

Nobody thought this was a coincidence and sure enough a leaking pipe at the laboratory was soon found to be the source: a drainage contractor had worked at the lab and then at the farm.In December 2019 there was an outbreak in China of a novel bat-borne SARS-like coronavirus a few miles from the world’s leading laboratory for collecting, studying and manipulating novel bat-borne SARS-like coronaviruses. We were assured by leading scientists in China, the US and the UK that this really was a coincidence, even when the nine closest relatives of the new virus turned up in the freezer of the laboratory in question, at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.Now we know what those leading scientists really thought.

Emails exchanged between them after a conference call on 1 February 2020, and only now forced into the public domain by Republicans in the US Congress, show that they not only thought the virus might have leaked from a lab, but they also went much further in private. They thought the genome sequence of the new virus showed a strong likelihood of having been deliberately manipulated or accidentally mutated in the lab.

Coronavirus biology Science
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biology: Readers Choice

My article for Spiked:In August 2007 there was an outbreak of foot-and-mouth virus on a farm in Surrey. It was a few miles from the world’s leading reference laboratory for identifying outbreaks of foot and mouth.
My article for the Telegraph:It is almost exactly two years since the pandemic began. According to an official document seen by the South China Morning Post, the first retrospectively diagnosed case of Covid in Wuhan was on November 17 2019, while genetic analysis points to a similar date, November 18.

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