Surprisingly, even CNN has much-belatedly and very unexpectedly started posing critical questions centered on the Wuhan Institute of Virology while doing a review of various theories as to COVID-19's origins. CNN on Monday cited that "one expert, a chemical biology professor and bioweapons expert at Rutgers University, has suggested to several media outlets that the lab-accident theory has credence."
"The possibility that the virus entered humans through a laboratory accident cannot and should not be dismissed," Dr. Richard Ebright told CNN in an email Sunday. This comes more than two months after the mainstream media went ballistic over our posing the same questions. In late January we had asked whether a prolific Chinese scientist who was experimenting with bat coronavirus at a level-4 biolab in Wuhan China was responsible for the current outbreak of a virus which is 96% genetically identical - and which saw an explosion in cases at a wet market located just down the street.
And now this via Reuters Tuesday: "A senior Trump administration official urged China on Tuesday to allow the United States to work directly with laboratories in Wuhan on research into the novel coronavirus, saying this was critical to saving lives globally."
“We would appreciate the opportunity to work directly with their Virology labs in Wuhan to share whatever research they have,” the Trump admin official said.
The unnamed administration official explained:
“Since the pandemic originated in Wuhan, we think cooperation with PRC medical and disease experts there is critical to saving lives globally.”
Well yes, it's about time there's some official movement centered on the very place most likely to hold the keys to the mystery of both COVID-19's origins and how to combat it and/or prevent it.
The admin statement is specifically in response to an apparent fast thawing of tensions between Beijing and Washington on the outbreak, after a month-long war of words trading accusations over its handling. China's ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai, said in a NYT op-ed Sunday that despite recent “unpleasant talk” between the two centered on the pandemic, it's now time for “solidarity, collaboration and mutual support.”
In a rare belated moment, the senior Trump administration official zeroed in on the Wuhan Institute of Virology Biosafety Level 4 Laboratory, the county's top lab dedicated to the research of severe infectious diseases, which again happens to be located a mere miles from the Wuhan wet market which witnessed the first cases:
“If Ambassador Cui is saying that China is willing to cooperate with the U.S., we would appreciate the opportunity to work directly with their Virology labs in Wuhan to share whatever research they have, since they’ve known about it and have been fighting it for at least a month longer than our scientists here in the U.S.,” the official said.
It also just so happens that Wuhan at the start of this week lifted its lockdown after infections have dramatically declined to near zero new infections per day.
It must be remembered that starting in February the director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Kelvin Droegemeier, requested in a letter to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, that scientific experts "rapidly" look into the origins of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak.
The White House letter said this remained crucial "to inform future outbreak preparation and better understand animal/human and environmental transmission aspects of coronaviruses."
Beijing's response to this latest initiative to open up the Wuhan lab for cooperation with US scientists investigating the origins of the virus is sure to be interesting. And a potential lack of response altogether, a likely prospect, will also be telling.