What do the newly released emails say about the origin of SARS-CoV-2?

At the start of the pandemic, did American health authorities hide from the general public that SARS-CoV-2 could have come from a laboratory? This is the conclusion that some draw from a document of about ten pages made public on January 11, 2022 by the Republican Party, targeting Anthony Fauci, director of the American National Institute of Infectious Diseases (Niaid), the main person responsible for managing the pandemic in the United States.

“We have posted previously unpublished emails showing that the Dr Fauci concealed information about an origin of Covid-19 from the Wuhan laboratory, and intentionally minimized the thesis of a laboratory leak. »

This publication comes as the Dr Fauci, auditioned in the United States Senate, blame the Republicans to encourage the “cracked” to threaten him with death by spreading false accusations about him for months.

What do these documents contain?

the file posted online contains nine emails, received or sent by officials from the US National Institute of Health (NIH), the main medical research agency, including geneticist Francis Collins. Most date back to the very beginning of February 2020, when several international experts in virology, immunology, and evolutionary biology met by teleconference to discuss the possible origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

These emails had already been obtained by the Washington Post and Buzzfeed in June 2020, but some of the content was then redacted: they are now partially or completely transcribed. Two things stand out:

  • As several e-mails made public already showed, the thesis of a virus “coming out” of a laboratory was from the start taken seriously by the experts, and even sometimes considered more probable than a zoonosis (disease transmitted from animal to man). “For me, it’s 70-30 or 60-40”, wrote the virologist Michael Farzan, on the 1is February 2020.
  • The NIH lobbied for this lead to be disqualified, via scientific publications or communications from the World Health Organization (WHO). He even reduced it to a “very destructive conspiracy theory”, believing that it would harm scientific research.
Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Origins of Covid-19: the hypothesis of an accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology revived after the disclosure of unpublished work

What do we know about the authenticity of these e-mails?

They were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, a law on the right to information which obliges US federal agencies to share their documents with anyone who requests them.

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What do the newly released emails say about the origin of SARS-CoV-2?