Analysis: Mounting Pressure on China About Covid ‘Lab Leak’ Could Backfire
President Joe Biden has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to determine whether the covid virus, or a near ancestor, emerged from a cave, a live-animal market, a farm — or a secretive Chinese laboratory.
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But it’s doubtful this probe will yield definitive insights, and it could even backfire.
Some experts hypothesize that global pressure could prompt a Chinese scientific whistleblower to come forward with evidence of a lab leak. After all, it is unlikely such an accident could have occurred without dozens of people finding out about the leak, or an ensuing cover-up.
But the growing political pressure to discover Chinese malfeasance or a lab accident at the root of the pandemic could make a definitive answer less, rather than more, likely, according to virologists and experts on U.S.-China scientific exchanges.
“We have to reduce the political tension and let the scientists do the work, not the politicians,” said Dr. Jennifer Huang Bouey, a Chinese-born Rand Corp. researcher.