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Friday, June 04, 2021

Why we should welcome the lab leak theory

When you give it some thought, this makes a lot of sense.

 If SARS2 — the virus that causes Covid-19 — came from nature then, logically, it’s only a matter of time before something like this happens again. And again. And again. And next time, it could all too easily be worse. Our best recourse, then, is clearly to study potential zoonotic pathogens in the lab. It could even be argued, as it has been by many researchers, that we should enhance these infectious agents to discover their vulnerabilities so that next time, we’ll know just what to do.

How else could we discover what we’re up against? After all, if SARS2 came from nature, then the biologists who were furiously studying its close relatives were, if anything, too slow and too cautious to protect us. The straightforward lesson of the pandemic would be to simply face up to the clear risk of studying dangerous, novel infectious agents in the lab. Indeed, we would be forced to redouble our efforts before SARS3 catches us off-guard.

If, on the other hand, SARS2 emerged from a lab, then the lesson is the opposite. Covid-19 would be, at the bare minimum, the direct result of our failure to heed prior warnings about the possibility of such an accident. Lab leaks are not uncommon, so making already dangerous viruses even more dangerous is a recipe for disaster. If, therefore, we want to avoid a pandemic from happening again, obviously we would need to curtail this research.


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