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Title: Stop China From Getting a Civilization-Killing Pathogen | Opinion
Source: Newsweek
URL Source: https://www.newsweek.com/stop-china ... lling-pathogen-opinion-1595838
Published: May 31, 2021
Author: gordon chang
Post Date: 2021-05-31 12:33:52 by tankumo
Keywords: None
Views: 36

(It is scary what CCP can do.)

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden issued a statement ordering the U.S. intelligence community to "collect and analyze information" on the origin of COVID-19 and report back to him in 90 days.

A better approach would be for the U.S. to declassify intelligence related to the virus's origins immediately. Assessments prepared by the intelligence community can follow. The U.S. already has enough evidence to begin imposing severe costs on Beijing—and it must do so to establish deterrence.

Biden's statement came just hours after CNN reported that the State Department's Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance had ended an investigation, begun by former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, into the same matter. State denied the report, maintaining that the department was concerned about the "quality" of the work but had in any event completed it. CNN reporting suggests the inquiry was in fact not completed.

The Washington Times mentioned that the State Department investigation was terminated, in the words of that paper, "over concerns the inquiry would upset China."

NEWSWEEK NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP > The Biden-ordered inquiry comes days after the Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the Chinese city of Wuhan had been hospitalized in November 2019. The paper said they had symptoms "consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illness."

Yuan Zhiming, the current director of the Wuhan lab, issued a denial, calling the Journal story "a complete lie." The American paper's disclosure, nonetheless, seems to have triggered debate on the origins of the disease. Tracing the origins of the virus is all the more consequential because of the Biden administration's belief that the United States should cooperate with China where it can.

Cooperation with China would be appropriate if COVID-19 were the result of a zoonotic—that is, animal-to-human—jump, and if Beijing had done its best to work with the international community to contain it. Cooperation would, however, be reckless if SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing COVID-19, was stored in a Chinese lab—or was even a biological weapon—and China tried to hide its origin.

Sean Lin, a microbiologist and former lab director of the viral disease branch of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, told Newsweek that no one has been able to find the reservoir of the pathogen for COVID-19 or the transmission links from animals to humans. "No scientific researcher has been able to identify a progenitor virus for SARS-CoV-2 in any animal samples so far, including samples from bats, pangolins, minks, and cats," he writes. "Without a clear identification of a progenitor virus or an immediate animal reservoir, the zoonotic theory is still missing important proofs."

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