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Why China and climate activists declare Covid-19 a "natural disaster"


All the findings suggest that the virus came from the laboratory in Wuhan, according to the Hamburg scientist Roland Wiesendanger. Why the opposite has to be written even in children's books and why Wiesendanger is slandered by the German media.

Mr. Wiesendanger, you were heavily criticized for your study , according to which the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, comes from the laboratory in Wuhan, especially by the German media. Has that changed your mind, what's next?

Prof. Dr. Roland Wiesendanger: Right, criticism from the German media rained down. Otherwise, I have received thousands of positive responses with words of thanks and respect: from scientists, doctors, clinic directors, lawyers and many private individuals from all walks of life. I was also given around 100 more documents and information about what was going on in Wuhan. This brings us closer and closer to the truth which is characterized by a lot of oddities such as the deletion of data on coronaviruses from the virological institute in Wuhan, that doctors in China were not allowed to openly report on the occurrences in the early phase of the pandemic or that samples from patients from the period from October to December 2019 were not handed over, not even recently to members of the WHO commission of inquiry. I am by no means alone in my analysis of the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. Steven Quay, founder of the biopharmaceutical company Atossa Therapeutics, Inc. in Seattle, has calculated based on scientific methods a 99.8% probability that the SARS-CoV-2 virus originates from the laboratory, while a natural "zoonosis" only has one 0.2% probability (see here). The latest articles from the USA also support the statements of my study (see here).

Are you planning a new publication and if so: with what aim?

I can well imagine. I'm not about coming to terms with the past and assigning blame. The central question of the global community is much more: Is it allowed to conduct biotechnological research with the aim of making naturally occurring viruses more contagious, dangerous and ultimately deadly for humans? Remember: The research group around Zheng-Li Shi at the “Wuhan Institute of Virology” not only examined naturally occurring coronaviruses, but also manipulated them in a targeted manner with the aim of adapting them perfectly to human cell receptors. This so-called “gain-of-function” research at the “Wuhan Institute of Virology” is proven by several original scientific publications in refereed journals and cannot be disputed. The perfect adaptation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to human cell receptors ensures, among other things, that not only the upper respiratory tract and the lungs, but also additional internal organs are attacked. These clinical findings, which have been known for a long time, ensure that healing from COVID-19 disease is sometimes considerably more difficult. “Long COVID”, that is, the long-term consequences, will possibly be much more far-reaching than we could previously have imagined. In particular, we have no experience of the effects of artificially generated viruses.

Sorry for asking the naive question: what is the point of research aimed at making viruses more contagious and deadly?

Your question is justified. For a long time it has been argued by some virologists that “gain-of-function” research could provide deeper insights into possible mutations in viruses and thus be better prepared for future pandemics. With the onset of the current pandemic, this argument has now been definitively refuted: We were in no way better prepared for the current pandemic through this high-risk research. The community of scientists has been discussing this question intensively since 2011: Is it ethically justifiable to conduct such research, which exposes the world's population to considerable dangers? Should this question only be discussed in small groups of scientists and politicians, or shouldn't the entire population be included in this extremely important discussion?

Again, how can such experiments be justified? The only thing that comes to mind is Bert Brecht, who warned that the jubilation over a success in the laboratory could be answered by the horror of humanity because of the terrible consequences ...

It is exactly like that. And that is why a large number of national and international bodies have been dealing with these questions since 2011. In 2014, the national ethics council in Germany prepared a 140-page report on “Biosafety - Freedom and Responsibility in Science” on behalf of the German Bundestag. Nobody can (or wants to?) remember that now. The essential point is that this topic has only ever been discussed in relatively small circles of scientists and politicians. But this question, which is decisive for humanity, ultimately concerns everyone.

And I remind you that this debate has also been held in the USA, since 2011/12 work has been carried out to make the avian flu pathogen infectious and dangerous for mammals and ultimately also for humans.

With what result?

In the period from 2014 to 2017, President Barack Obama banned further funding of “gain-of-function” research by law. But what happened? American researchers have relocated their activities in this regard to Wuhan in China, ie the "gain-of-function" experiments at the virological institute in Wuhan were financed to a significant extent from the USA. Donald Trump has lifted the Obama administration's ban and the EU has never been able to bring itself to a ban on “gain-of-function” research.
France also helped set up the laboratory in Wuhan at the time. From today's perspective, nobody can understand the decision to build such a biotechnological laboratory, which carries out high-risk research, in the center of a 10 million metropolis. That is the real cause of the disaster we are experiencing. We suffer the consequences every day now and for many years to come.

Now you are being accused of unilaterally shifting the responsibility onto China and in reality it would be a well-known zoonosis, i.e. the not completely improbable transition from animals to humans.

I have shown in my study that this answer cannot be correct, as have many scientists before me. In my opinion, the insistence on a zoonosis as a possible cause of the current pandemic is justified by the fact that people prefer to speak of a “natural disaster” because something fateful seems to be easier for many people to endure. In fact, however, it is not a natural disaster, but a man-made and man-made disaster. Maybe it's a terrible truth. But as a scientist, I am committed to truthfulness. If we as scientists do not take this obligation seriously, we will lose our claim to be a scientist - even worse - we lose our role model function for future generations of scientists.
Incidentally, the topic of the “origin of the pandemic” is discussed much more openly and broadly in the USA, for example. It's different in Europe, not just in Germany, but also in France. For example, in an interview with a French television broadcaster in April of last year, the Nobel Prize in Medicine, Luc Montagnier, found that the novel coronavirus contains sequences that are in some cases identical to those of HIV viruses. He concluded that SARS-CoV-2 could only have been produced in a laboratory. He was then massacred in a highly defamatory manner, for example by the French magazine Le Monde.

Mr Montagnier has contradicted a group of researchers, including Peter Daszak. He is a recognized British-American zoologist and expert in infection epidemiology, specializing in the field of zoonoses, among other things.

At the beginning of March last year, 27 virologists published a corresponding joint statement in which they praised the quick, open and transparent reaction of the Chinese side after the outbreak of the pandemic. It is interesting that this initiative came from Peter Daszak, who has worked closely with the researchers in Wuhan for years and published together. Exactly this group of 27 virologists formulated that the thesis of the laboratory accident was a "conspiracy theory". Wonderful. One of those responsible acquitted himself. Professor Drosten also signed this declaration.

Almost sounds like the virologists are covering each other?

The problem is that in the event of evidence of a laboratory accident, significantly restrictive regulations of biotechnological research activities can be expected. Many scientists fear that the Wuhan disaster could have similarly drastic consequences for biotechnology as in the case of nuclear power technology after the Fukushima reactor disaster. But in view of the enormous danger posed by “gain-of-function” research, it is not possible without international regulations and mutual supervision. The consequences of the accident in Wuhan are too monstrous: millions of deaths, damage to the economy of astronomical amounts and unquantifiable damage to the well-being of every individual. The world community cannot accept that. We must not expose ourselves to such danger again.

But also in the USA the debate was swept under the carpet at times.

This was justified by the fact that Donald Trump pointed his finger at Wuhan very early on, but the reason for the suspicions remained guilty. At that time, American intellectuals in particular shied away from addressing the extremely important question of the origin of the pandemic because they did not want to give the right-wing and populists a boost. But after the change of government in the USA, the debate on this topic is now very broad and very open. There was a change of opinion. It is no longer forbidden to talk about it. In fact, the legitimate question of the origin of the pandemic is politically neither “right” nor “left” - it is the most natural of all questions in view of the current global tragedy.

In Germany, the narrative or fairy tale is built up, for example by Fridays for Future and other climate activists, that the zoonosis is a consequence of global warming.

You gave the answer yourself. It's a fairy tale. The virus does not come from nature. It comes from the laboratory.

China cracks down on laboratory claim. In Germany, a children's book publisher has even been attacked, which has written that the virus came from China.

This is a protective claim so as not to have to take responsibility.

Your reasoning is staggering. Because if I summarize, then you are saying nothing less than that we have become victims of a kind of Frankenstein science.

Truthfulness is the basis of science. We are committed to it, uncompromisingly. Politicians have to get majorities behind them and make compromises. These are different roles. It becomes dangerous when scientists become political. That happened in this case, for example in the statement of the 27 virologists already mentioned in March of last year, i.e. at a time when no one could rule out laboratory origin on a scientific basis.

The president of the university stood behind you in a video message and reminded the scientists that they were responsible for their actions. Do you feel confirmed?

Indeed, as scientists we have many obligations to society. This is not limited to subject-specific elaboration of fundamentally new knowledge, but must also include the classification of scientific activities and actions, right up to the concrete assumption of responsibility towards society.

Thank you for the interview!

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