COVID leaked out of a laboratory in America rather than China, it has been sensationally claimed.
Famous US economist Jeffrey Sachs, who led a two-year probe into the pandemic’s origins, said he was ‘pretty convinced’ the virus was the result of ‘US lab biotechnology’.
The claim, made at a global conference last month, has been seized upon by Chinese Government officials who said it warranted a ‘thorough investigation’.
Professor Sachs, who was twice named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, admitted ‘we don’t know for sure’.
- ‘But there’s enough evidence that it should be looked into and it’s not being investigated — not in the US, not anywhere.’
He added: ‘I think for real reasons, they [US officials] don’t want to look under the rug too much.’
Critics have previously described Professor Sachs as a President Xi ‘propagandist’, dismissing China’s genocide of Uighurs and publicly calling for US cooperation.
It is unclear if Professor Sachs believes COVID originated in the US or was borne out of a collaboration between American and Chinese scientists in Wuhan.
MailOnline has approached Professor Sachs for comment.
China has faced its own accusations of covering up the origins of COVID.
Scientists were found to have wiped crucial databases and stifled independent investigations into a lab just miles away from the pandemic’s ground zero.
The virus first began spreading from a wet market in Wuhan, about eight miles from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) which worked with dangerous coronaviruses.
- Researchers who fell ill with a mysterious flu-like virus months before the official COVID timeline were silenced or disappeared.
Professor Sachs is the chairman of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission, set up at the start of the pandemic to assist governments and scrutinise responses.
- He oversaw a 12-man taskforce investigating COVID’s origins that was shut down in September 2021 when it emerged the team had financial links to the WIV.
The celebrity economist has said previously he believes the pandemic was the result of experiments done between Chinese and American scientists.
But until now, claims the virus was created in the US were confined to Chinese disinformation campaigns.
Speaking at a conference on June 15, Professor Sachs said: ‘I’ll add one provocative statement, it may shock you or not shock you, you may say “I already know that Professor Sachs”.
‘But I chaired a commission for the Lancet for two years on COVID.
‘I’m pretty convinced it came out of US lab biotechnology — not out of nature — just to mention after two years of intensive work on this.
‘So it’s a blunder in my view — of biotech — not an accident or natural spillover.’
A video of the full conference, organised by Spanish globalisation think-tank Gate Centre, was posted on YouTube last month.
But his comments have been clipped and shared on Twitter by at least two Chinese diplomats in recent days.
Hua Chunying, the country’s assistant minister of foreign affairs, tweeted: ‘Given the heavy human and economic toll taken by the virus, don’t we owe it to the millions of lives lost to have a thorough investigation into US labs?’
- A disinformation campaign launched by the Chinese Government last year claimed COVID originated from an American military base in Maryland.
It gained significant traction in China but was widely seen as an outlandish counter-claim by the rest of the world.
Serious questions have, however, been raised about the Wuhan facility’s links to COVID.
The lab was known to be conducting experiments on bat coronavirus strains similar to the one responsible for the pandemic in the months before the pandemic.
In public, mainstream media and academics in the West called the lab leak theory an unhinged conspiracy theory.
But leaked emails showed top scientists advising the UK and US Governments were expressing concerns about the official narrative privately.
- Sir Jeremy Farrar, an eminent British expert who publicly denounced the theory as a ‘conspiracy’, admitted in a private email in February 2020 that a ‘likely explanation’ was that the virus was man-made.
The then-UK Government adviser said at the time he was ’70:30 or 60:40′ in favour of an accidental release versus natural origin.
In the email, sent to American health chiefs Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, Sir Jeremy said it was possible COVID had been evolved from a Sars-like virus in the lab.
He went on that this seemingly benign process may have ‘accidentally created a virus primed for rapid transmission between humans’.
- But the British scientist was shut down by his counterparts in the US who warned further debate about the origins of the virus could damage ‘international harmony’.
- Last month Government sources claimed the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) privately believes the COVID pandemic started following a leak in China.
While publicly the group maintains that ‘all hypotheses remain on the table’ about the origins of COVID, the source said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), had recently confided to a senior European politician that the most likely explanation was a catastrophic accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, where infections first spread during late 2019.
WHO chief ‘believes COVID DID leak from Wuhan lab’
- The head of the World Health Organisation privately believes the COVID pandemic started following a leak from a Chinese laboratory, a senior Government source claims.
- While publicly the group maintains that ‘all hypotheses remain on the table’ about the origins of COVID, the source said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), had recently confided to a senior European politician that the most likely explanation was a catastrophic accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, where infections first spread during late 2019.
The Mail on Sunday first revealed concerns within Western intelligence services about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where scientists were manipulating coronaviruses sampled from bats in caves nearly 1,000 miles away – the same caves where COVID-19 is suspected to have originated – in April 2020.
The worldwide death toll from the COVID pandemic is now estimated to have hit more than 18 million.
The WHO was initially criticised for its deferential approach to China over the pandemic, as well as a willingness to accept Beijing’s protestations that claims of a laboratory leak were just a ‘conspiracy theory’.
- However, in the absence of any compelling evidence of ‘zoonotic’ spread – the process by which a virus leaps from animals to humans – it is now adopting a more neutral public stance.
- Dr. Tedros updated member states on the pandemic this month, admitting: ‘We do not yet have the answers as to where it came from or how it entered the human population.
‘Understanding the origins of the virus is very important scientifically to prevent future epidemics and pandemics.
‘But morally, we also owe it to all those who have suffered and died and their families. The longer it takes, the harder it becomes. We need to speed up and act with a sense of urgency.
‘All hypotheses must remain on the table until we have evidence that enables us to rule certain hypotheses in or out. This makes it all the more urgent that this scientific work be kept separate from politics.
‘The way to prevent politicisation is for countries to share data and samples with transparency and without interference from any government. The only way this scientific work can progress successfully is with full collaboration from all countries, including China, where the first cases of SARS-CoV-2 were reported.’
Source: Connor Boyd – Mail Online