Featured Image
Dr. Francis CollinsNational Institutes of Health

(LifeSiteNews) – Top researchers privately acknowledged it was “likely” that COVID-19 escaped from a laboratory but feared publicly admitting as much would undermine “science and international harmony,” according to emails between American and British scientists.

The Telegraph reported that Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the London-based Wellcome Trust, emailed National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director Dr. Anthony Fauci and former National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins on February 2, 2020 to posit rapid evolution in a low-security lab, “accidentally creat[ing] a virus primed for rapid transmission between humans,” as a “likely explanation” for COVID’s origin.

“I share your view that a swift convening of experts in a confidence-inspiring framework is needed or the voices of conspiracy will quickly dominate, doing great potential harm to science and international harmony,” Collins replied.

Dutch virologist Dr. Ron Fouchier, deputy head of the Erasmus MC Department of Viroscience, chimed in that “Further debate about such accusations would unnecessarily distract top researchers from their active duties and do unnecessary harm to science in general and science in China in particular.”

Publicly, the lab leak theory was dismissed, and for months any suggestion of it was condemned as misinformation. It was not until mid-2021 that mainstream media outlets began to acknowledge it as a possibility.

The emails display a “lamentable lack of openness and transparency among Western scientists who appear to have been more interested in shutting down a hypothesis they thought was very plausible, for political reasons,” said Matt Ridley, co-author of the book Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19.

Since those emails, further evidence has emerged supporting the lab leak theory, as well as implicating the U.S. government. Last May, Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee released a report finding “significant circumstantial evidence” that COVID spread from a leak at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). “The U.S. Government must also provide a full accounting of any American cooperation with the Wuhan lab’s coronavirus research, including the support of these projects through U.S. Government funds,” the report declared. 

For months, U.S. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has taken the lead in grilling Fauci over NIAID’s approval of funding for EcoHealth Alliance to explore gain-of-function (GOF) research, which entails intentionally strengthening viruses to better study their potential effects, on coronaviruses, at several sites, including the Wuhan lab.

Fauci and his defenders have insisted that the work NIAID approved was not gain-of-function research and could not have lead to COVID, but last week the conservative investigators of Project Veritas released documents they obtained showing that, before going to NIAID, EcoHealth previously pitched its funding request to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA), which rejected it on the grounds that the project would violate a preexisting moratorium on GOF research and failed to account for its potential risks.

U.S. Marine Corp Major Joseph Murphy, a former DARPA fellow, put it starkly in one of the documents, an August 2021 report to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense: “SARS-CoV-2 matches the SARS vaccine variants the NIH-EcoHealth program was making in Wuhan.”