Marjorie Taylor Greene Questions Scientists on COVID Origins, and Their Answers Are Astonishing

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

A hearing on the origins of COVID-19 took place on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, and two scientists made news with their answers.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene questioned Dr. Kristian Andersen and Dr. Robert Garry about how COVID-19 made its way into the general population, eventually leading to a worldwide pandemic. Both defiantly answered that they still believe the virus began naturally and did not come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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It’s simply astonishing to see supposedly unbiased scientists still peddling that line in 2023 without a hint of attrition. The natural origin theory relies on the idea that a dead bat transferred the virus to humans via unsafe food practices at a Chinese wet market. On its face, that’s not a wild supposition. Bats have been a vector for viruses before, such as with SARS. In that case, though, scientists were able to quickly identify other animals infected with the virus. That confirmed they were the vector. With COVID-19, though, no animal has ever been directly identified as a reserve for the virus. The closest scientists have gotten is finding “similar” viruses present in animals in Southeast Asia, but if COVID-19 made its way to humans via a bat, shouldn’t it have been easy to find other animals carrying it?

MIT Technology Review hit on this issue in 2021, and nothing has changed since then.

That’s a reasonable theory: other bat coronaviruses have jumped to humans the same way. In fact, it was the origin of SARS, a similar coronavirus that panicked the world in 2003 when it spread out of southern China and sickened 8,000 people. With SARS, researchers tested caged market animals and quickly found a nearly identical virus in Himalayan palm civet cats and raccoon dogs, which are also eaten locally.

This time, though, the intermediate-host hypothesis has one big problem. More than a year after covid-19 began, no food animal has been identified as a reservoir for the pandemic virus. That’s despite efforts by China to test tens of thousands of animals, including pigs, goats, and geese, according to Liang Wannian, who leads the Chinese side of the research team. No one has found a “direct progenitor” of the virus, he says, and therefore the pandemic “remains an unsolved mystery.”

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Of course, there are other issues with the natural origin theory as well. That includes the fact that bats are not even common in Wuhan and the species zeroed in on isn’t local to the area. In fact, you’d have to travel hundreds of miles away to find one in the wild, and wet markets are usually local affairs. So when Dr. Garry says the natural origin theory is most likely “based on all the science and the data” we have, one is left asking exactly what he’s citing aside from hypotheticals.

As RedState reported earlier this year, a 2021 Lancet letter confirmed there was essentially no scientific evidence for the natural origin theory. Just as importantly, there is ample evidence that the virus came from a lab. That also happens to be the most logical explanation on its face. Are we to believe it’s just a coincidence that workers at the Wuhan Insitute of Virology, one of the few labs of its type in the world, were some of the first people infected? That just doesn’t add up. What’s more likely? That the Chinese were tinkering around with a virus and accidentally released it, or that a mysterious, theoretical bat, of which no other has ever been located, facilitated a jump of COVID-19 from animals to humans? I know where my money is.

I could understand if the two doctors wanted to hedge their bets and just say “I don’t know.” To see them continue to toe the line on the natural origin theory at this point is surprising, though. I understand there is a deep political desire among some in the scientific community to protect China (and their access to China). That doesn’t excuse this kind of willful misleading about what we do and don’t know.

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