The lab-leak hypothesis seems likely to be true, or: Why a technocracy is a nightmare

I have written about the lab-leak hypothesis regarding the origin on SARS-CoV-2; first I dismissed it, then … I didn’t entirely. Now, it looks likely to be true.

The materials show that the 2014 and 2019 NIH grants to EcoHealth with subcontracts to WIV funded gain-of-function research as defined in federal policies in effect in 2014-2017 and potential pandemic pathogen enhancement as defined in federal policies in effect in 2017-present. (This had been evident previously from published research papers that credited the 2014 grant and from the publicly available summary of the 2019 grant. But this now can be stated definitively from progress reports of the 2014 grant and the full proposal of the 2017 grant.) The materials confirm the grants supported the construction–in Wuhan–of novel chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses that combined a spike gene from one coronavirus with genetic information from another coronavirus, and confirmed the resulting viruses could infect human cells.

The materials reveal that the resulting novel, laboratory-generated SARS-related coronaviruses also could infect mice engineered to display human receptors on cells (“humanized mice”). The materials further reveal for the first time that one of the resulting novel, laboratory-generated SARS-related coronaviruses–one not been previously disclosed publicly–was more pathogenic to humanized mice than the starting virus from which it was constructed, and thus not only was reasonably anticipated to exhibit enhanced pathogenicity, but, indeed, was *demonstrated* to exhibit enhanced pathogenicity. The materials further reveal that the the grants also supported the construction–in Wuhan–of novel chimeric MERS-related coronaviruses that combined spike genes from one MERS-related coronavirus with genetic information from another MERS-related coronavirus.

The documents make it clear that assertions by the NIH Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful.
Richard H. Ebright

So, not only were USA and China actively involved in gain-of-function research using SARS-related coronaviruses, but the research was targeted human receptors.

Yes, the purpose was to create viruses that might appear naturally and then prepare the global health response to those. Except, such a virus might have escaped due to failures of safety protocols. We don’t know yet.

But we know that China and USA has lied about it. We know that the American director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, told an untruth when asked about this research. And that Fauci has lied before, for political reasons. I’d like to withdraw my support of him.

I’ll also link to B.J. Campbell’s “Everyone is Wrong about Covid-19 for a Reason” which is a good read, though I disagree with the author on the evidence about “leaky vaccines” and the general question of whether the vaccines are even vaccines at all.

I really hadn’t figured out why advisors and decision-makers should be, and often are, separate, but just the example above and previously regarding Fauci show why. A decision will always be political, weighing different costs against different benefits. So, advisors present the facts, the decision-makers make the decision and take the responsibility, politically.

By mixing the two, the decision part takes precedence and everything becomes political, meaning we can’t really trust the advisor. And who should you then trust?

A technocracy is an utopian rule of experts where every decision is made by those most qualified. But there is never just one answer; not to the pandemic, to climate change, pollution, economy, infrastructure, education, anything. And a technocracy will be able to escape responsibility as their decisions by definition are the best.

A technocracy cannot be trusted and will not accept responsibility.

A clean separation of advice and decision making is fundamental to important US government decision making because it helps to insulate experts from actual or perceived political influences. For politicians that separation enhances democratic accountability by making clear who is responsible for important decisions. The US government utilizes more than 1,000 expert advisory committees, involving tens of thousands of experts, arguably making it the global leader in connecting expertise with policy.

That global leadership is what makes the US government’s failure to establish a high-level advisory committee for COVID-19 utterly incomprehensible. Any new approach must depend to a much greater degree on independent expert advice.

Consider masks, which were politicized from the start. The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams Tweeted on February 20, 2000: “STOP BUYING MASKS!” and members of Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force engaged in a campaign to tell the public that masks simply were not effective.  We later learned in admissions from Dr. Anthony Fauci that this guidance was not grounded in scientific evidence, but couched in the language of evidence in an effortto protect the limited supply of masks for health professionals. No matter how noble the intent, the resulting hit to credibility has been long-lasting.

An independent advisory body could have short-circuited the early politicization of masks by clearly and unambiguously summarizing the state of knowledge on the role of masks in limiting the spread of disease. Making such knowledge public – along with inevitable accompanying uncertainties and areas of ignorance – would have made it more difficult for the Trump Administration to make the obviously inconsistent argument that masks protect health workers but not you and me. The politicization of masks that began in February 2020 still reverberates with us today, with mask wearing now bizarrely associated with one’s political affiliation.
— Roger Pielke, Jr., “Washington, We Have A Problem















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1 Response to The lab-leak hypothesis seems likely to be true, or: Why a technocracy is a nightmare

  1. Pingback: 1, maybe 2 or 3 lab leaks later | Henning's blog

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