A year and a half after the start of the pandemic, the “official” thesis on the origin of the virus remains that it was transmitted naturally from a bat to a human in a wild animal market in Wuhan, in China. However, last Sunday, new information released by the Wall Street Journal could point to another possibility about the start of the pandemic.
According to a US intelligence report, three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November 2019 and sought help from the hospital. Sources close to this report confirmed the information. It is not known exactly what the symptoms presented by these researchers.
What is known is that they worked in a laboratory in Wuhan that conducts research on the coronavirus in bats and other wildlife, and fell ill about a month before Chinese authorities. confirm the first cases of infection with the new coronavirus in December 2019., also in Wuhan.
Another important piece of information published by the Wall Street Journal predates these recent developments by a few years. In 2012, at a mine in southwest China, there was an unexpected encounter between workers and a deluge of bats. Six of them fell ill, three died. Scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were called in to investigate the case, and after collecting bat samples in the mine, they identified several new types of coronavirus.
Since the 2002 outbreak, which also started in China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology has been conducting research on viruses in wild animals, as reported on the Institute’s website.
I spoke with a source, on condition of anonymity, who has worked in public health in the United States for 30 years and who is currently with the Department of Health and Human Services. He raised a fundamental question about the ethics of countries researching pathogens that do not even exist in humans. Why are countries doing this type of research? Why are there no international standards for the detection of pathogens, as is the case with the atomic bomb?
Another important point that was mentioned is the need for a strategic look to the future.
What will we do if another pandemic hits the world again? What will the rules of the game be in the future? What are the possible scenarios of a health and economic crisis, and what will the international community do to quickly stop the problem if it occurs again? How will communication be done so that the borders are closed as quickly as possible? Why is an international treaty not made for the preservation of public health?
These are all fundamental questions which must be widely debated by the international community.
What draws attention in this story, in addition to the obvious suspicion that the virus may have been transmitted to humans in a laboratory, even accidentally, is the attempt by several sectors to stifle the simple questioning of the origin of the pandemic.
We have the most serious problem in the world since World War II. The health, economic and psychological effects on the world’s population have been devastating. To date, 3.5 million people have died from Covid-19. Countries around the world are facing serious economic crises with extremely high unemployment rates. Faced with this scenario, anyone with little intelligence will wonder: how did this problem start? Could it have been avoided?
Many people, faced with these obvious questions, argue that China is Brazil’s main trading partner and therefore we should not arouse suspicion as to the origin of the pandemic. Now this argument makes no sense. It is a fact that China has a fundamental economic weight, not only for Brazil but for several countries in the world. This does not change the fact that the people of the world have a right to know how this pandemic started and whether it could have been prevented.
Here we can draw a parallel with the companies studied in Petrolão. All of them undeniably carry significant economic weight and are responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs. Therefore, after timely corrections and sanctions, they must continue to play this important role in our economy. This is not to say that the controllers of these companies should not have been investigated.
Intelligence agencies and the scientific community increasingly wish to conduct a thorough investigation into the origin of the pandemic. We must not only know its origin, but also debate what will be the ethics and rules of the international community in the future if we are to avoid another problem of this magnitude in the coming decades. It remains to be seen whether the diplomatic community will have the courage to put this debate on the table, given that China is not very willing to provide the answers we seek.
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