“His 2018 request for $14.2 million from the Pentagon to do this was turned down amid uneasiness that it was too risky; but the very fact that he was proposing it was alarming”

Matt Ridley:

Most of the funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology comes from the Chinese not the American government, after all; so the failure to win the US grant may not have prevented the work being done. More-over, exactly such an experiment had already been done with a different kind of coronavirus by — guess who? — the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

It is almost beyond belief that Dr Daszak had not volunteered this critical information. He played a leading role in trying to dismiss the lab-leak idea as a ‘conspiracy theory’, using his membership of the WHO-China investigation to support the far-fetched theory that the virus reached Wuhan on frozen food.

If the trail to the source of the pandemic leads through Laos, it is possible western countries can find out more. The Chinese government has blocked anybody who tries to get near to the mineshaft in Yunnan where RaTG13 was found. But now that we know the US government was funding virus sampling in Laos, the EcoHealth Alliance should be required to report in full on exactly what was found. Saying ‘Oh, that data belongs to the Chinese now’ is not good enough. American taxpayers funded the work. Belatedly, the US National Institutes of Health has requested more information.

The Wuhan Institute had a database of 22,257 samples, mostly from bats, but took it offline on 12 September 2019, supposedly because somebody was trying to hack into it. The lab has published few details of viruses collected after 2015, so details of any found in Laos since then are presumably in that database. Dr Daszak says he knows what’s there and it’s of no relevance. Yet he refused even to request that the Wuhan Institute release it, despite his close relationship with the scientists in question.