Wuhan lab leak more likely origin of Covid-19: Researchertext_fields
London: A Canadian molecular biologist on Wednesday told that it is 'reasonable' to believe that Covid was genetically engineered in China, PTI reported.
Dr Alina Chan, specialising in gene therapy and cell engineering and co-author of 'Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19', told the Parliament panel's evidence session on scientific research that a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan region of China is now the "more likely" origin of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
As per reports, Chan told the MPs that the pandemic was being caused by the unique feature of the coronavirus called "furin cleavage site", which has been linked to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
She noted that there is no evidence pointing to a natural animal origin of the virus at the wet food market.
When asked her level of confidence that the world would eventually be able to establish the true origins of COVID-19, Chan said it was simply a matter of time.
On whether the virus was modified in the lab before a leak, Chan said: "We have heard from many top virologists that a genetically engineered origin of this virus is reasonable...and this includes virologists who themselves have made modifications to the first SARS virus.
Chan stressed that the burden was on the scientists in question to show that their work did not result in the creation of SARS-COV2, the virus behind COVID-19.
Her co-author, Lord Matt Ridley, was also asked similar questions about the lab leak theory and he concurred with Chan's assertion that it was "more likely than not" the cause behind the pandemic.
Ridley, along with Chan, agreed that any leak was most likely an "accident" as he traced the journey of scientists a few years ago to bring SARS-like viruses back to Wuhan for experiments.
Ridley added: "We need to find out so we can prevent the next pandemic. We need to know whether we should be tightening up work in laboratories or whether we should be tightening up regulations relating to wildlife sales in markets. At the moment we are really not doing either.
The evidence session forms part of the UK Parliament's Science and Technology Committee inquiry into "reproducibility and research integrity", which is expected to produce its findings in 2022.