By Dr. Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao
It is over a year since Covid19 pandemic broke and taken away the lives of over 3 million people across the globe and economy hit the nations but still there is no official information on the origin of SARS-CoV-2. More the China refuse to answer the questions from international community and stonewall the investigation into the origin of Corona, more the needle of suspicion sticks to that country. Its insensitive leadership focused more on its own economy at the cost of the world is confirming the guilt of that country.
Lab leaked theory which was dismissed as conspiracy theory by China and its communist admirers including WHO a year ago is back in the reckoning with many intelligent and scientific agencies and specialists digging into the available data to raise many more questions and they are getting huge support unlike in the beginning of pandemic when largely the benefit of doubt was given to China.
China is suspected because of many its questionable acts from the very beginning. China on its part was slack in warning the world at the impending pandemic, though it knew that a new virus is making the people to grasp for breath, for almost three or four months in advance. The spread by the revelers of China’s New Year into the Europe and US was the cause for the first wave and none can deny that. At that time China tried to convince the world on its ignorance claiming it was a naturally transmitted zoonotic virus.
It was Indian researchers of IIT Delhi who first flagged the Lab leak theory as early as January end of 2020. Their 22 page research paper suggested an “uncanny similarities” between aspects of SARS-Cov-2 and HIV. Studying the protein structure of the virus the IITD team found four unique inserts in the naval corona virus glycoprotein not seen in any other corona viruses. These inserts are critical for the virus to identify and latch onto their host cells in human and then multiply. This was the first scientific study signaling the possibility of virus being engineered.
Few months after IIT D came with its ‘engineered virus’ suspicion Monali Rahalkar and her husband Rahul Bahulikar, both Pune based researchers, published a research paper ‘Lethal Pneumonia Cases in Mojiang Miners (2012) and Mineshaft could provide important clues to the origin of SAARC-CoV-2’. They found that mine shaft was infested with bats and six miners hired to clean the fecal matter were infested with pneumonia like illness. Monali has hypothesized that viral samples after reaching the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) had high chances of modification and those modified virus was leaked from that lab. The Indian scientists now form an online group Decentralized Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating Covid-19 (DRASTIC) who are trying through their research to pin down China’s absurd defense of innocence. It was this DRASTIC team which bolstered with a bunch of documents that gave the world to firmly fix the needle of suspicion on China. Now both media and scientific world is seriously giving its eyes and ears to this the theory of ‘lab made Chinese viruses’.
The immediate reaction to the DRASTIC findings was the US President Joe Biden’s order to his intelligence agencies to investigate on the origin of virus and come with the report in 90 day time and former President Donald trump demanding payment of $10 trillion reparations to US and the world for its handling of the virus. His further demand for nations “to cancel their debt to Beijing” is a serious one.
Trump was a known critique of WHO and it’s unusual sympathy towards China despite Wuhan’s lab leakage reports were confirmed by many sources. His denouncement of American virologist, Fauci, who advises all the nations on pandemic issues as “not great doctor but a great promoter and his wrongs on the Wuhan lab issue” is a serious one which can’t be missed. The role of American funding to the Wuhan virology Lab is also now questioned with in the US. The suspicion of infiltration of Chinese in all spheres in US as well as in many countries as academicians, skilled professionals is now complete.
The Wuhan laboratory is doing Gain of Function research which alters the transmissibility, virulence and immunogenicity of a target virus. As an example the H1N1 influenza virus which is known to affect humans is shown likely to jump to another host on mutation. Now it is believed that Wuhan Lab was involved in such experimentation on viruses and one such synthesized virus might have escaped from the lab. At this stage it is not easy to answer whether that leak from the lab was deliberate attempt by the Chinese authorities to cripple other nations, though the suspicion of ‘bio warfare’ remains.
Every day new evidence is coming out denouncing the attitude of China. The latest one coming from Australia, where their investigation team found out that Chinese military scientist Yusen Zhou, who worked closely with WIV and Shi Zhengli, called ‘bat woman’ for her work on coronavirus in bats, filed patent for corona vaccine weeks before pandemic was declared and that scientist mysteriously died few week after filing the patent application in February 2020. That his death was not reported in the Chinese media, except in one paper, despite the fact that he was one of the leading Chinese scientist further confirms the suspicion of ‘man made virus’ theory.
Indian leading virologist and ex-Professor from the Christian Medical College, Vellore Dr. T. Jacob said that “China is hiding something. This epidemic being unique to the world and Chinese episodes on WIV are mysterious”. His statement that “there are smoking gun evidences in molecular biology that point to the possibility that is a lab- manipulated virus and China must have started work on Covid vaccine at least a year earlier” nails the China’s consistent lies.
Now that lab leak theory is confirmed and suspicion on man-made virus gained credence what should the major nations should do to hold China accountable to the world? It is better for all the leading scientific researching nations, including India, to pool up their findings, prepare a consolidated report to confront China. They should do that knowing that China will resist and even unleash the acquired economic muscle on the nations. But if ten leading economies stay together, forgetting short term economic gains from China, and collectively challenge there may not be any escape for China, the current ‘evil empire’. The sooner the accountability of China is fixed and action initiated on compensation payment to the world it is better for the safety of the humanity and also in the prevention of any future pandemics.
(Author is retired professor and occasional contributor for dailies and magazines on politics and environmental issues. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at email@example.com)