Friday, 17 September, 2021

Backtracking Covid-19

Scientific Research or Witch-hunt?

Syed Saifuddin Ali

Scientific Research or Witch-hunt?

The entire world has been fighting the novel coronavirus for almost two years now. Besides, the tireless search for its preventives, researchers and experts across the globe has also been keen to trace the origin of the catastrophe. It has been given emphasis, considering that knowing how the virus came into existence and has been able to create such a massive impact within such a short period might help us see newer solutions, and also help better prepare for similar situations ahead. But a rather peculiar and seemingly biased attempt to the origin-tracing of covid-19 has created further chaos.

At the center of the debacle are, quite presumably, the USA and China.

Back in March, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an official report with conclusions from the initial phase of the covid-19 origin-tracing that took place in China. Backed by scientists, the report stated that a case of leak from the virology lab in China’s Wuhan is "extremely unlikely" to have been the source of the virus. While nobody, not even China, proceeded towards any conclusion based on this statement, the US had suddenly been seen to press heavily on the issue, followed by their recommendations for another probe.

The authenticity of the report was thoroughly questioned by the Biden administration, as the US govt. went on to undertake the matter on its own. Its own intelligence community took charge of the alleged second-phase origin-tracing probe in China. At the same time, it managed to get a number of allied countries to be on the same page, all in all to – “press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence”.

One might question – how come the WHO not respond to this massive question mark held against their scientific research data-based report?

Strangely enough, the WHO has rather been quiet, as the issue gradually saw a change of color, from scientific to political. Although more than 80 members of the WHO soon stepped in urging for a fair and transparent report that is beyond the influence of political manipulations, all that followed was a perplexing silence.

In the middle of the piling dead bodies and the piling questions thrown at each other by global leaders, very little suspicion or probe had been noticed against the US itself. But there remains no concrete reason behind the deflection of attention from the USA’s precarious management of covid-19 cases (not to forget the Brookings Institution’s research findings that 400,000 deaths could have been avoided with a better response by the USiv), to the budding pretense to backtrack towards Wuhan.

And even if it was subject to further inquiry, why would the intelligence service be needed to take charge, instead of scientists, doctors and statisticians?

There is another side to this strange backtracking. With the next probe report hastily produced by intelligence personnel, even if there is no clear clue of covid-19 originating from China, the USA could still bring objections that China’s non-cooperative attitude regarding the second phase investigation has led to the persisting global misery. For the second-phase, the US provided the WHO with a framework under which, expert investigation teams from the US, Europe, Canada and Japan shall have access to all parts of China, and China must share all information on the virus, clinical cases and biological samples. It is not clear who could possibly validate (or invalidate) one such demand that could potentially violate the privacy of millions, but we move on.

With Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria in hindsight, it should not take a genius to smell something suspicious here. A thick layer of ambiguity continues to envelope the activities inside the infamous Fort Detrick in Maryland, USA. Media manipulation and mass-deception is no longer new in 2021, as the gloomy conjecture against China continues to spread among the mass with each post on social media and clickbait portals, regardless of the truth, still eclipsed.

Data shows that bio-samples testing positive for covid-19 had been collected from patients across the US and Europe even dating back to September 2019, earlier than the Wuhan outbreak. This simply indicates to the fact that equal measures of probing and origin-tracing is required to be taken in the US, Europe and other countries as well, where the very initial samples were found from. Rather than turning the matter into a political tool, it is imperative that now we focus on reaching the roots of it at the earliest, so we can save more lives. The history of mankind forbids all such blame-games, if only we were to oblige.


The writer is an analyst in the field of contemporary issues and international relations