Scientist David Baltimore, whose words have been widely cited to back the Wuhan ‘lab leak’ theory as the origin of COVID-19, is now appearing to backtrack on some parts of his claims. Just last month, the Nobel laureate told Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that the part of the coronavirus genome, the furin cleavage site, was “smoking gun” evidence that it originated in a laboratory. While Baltimore’s quote from last month was grabbed by several supporters of the conspiracy theory, on June 8 he told the Los Angeles Times “I should have softened the phrase ‘smoking gun’ because I don’t believe that it proves the origin of the furin cleavage site but it does sound that way.”
The biologist also told the newspaper, “I believe that the question of whether the sequence was put in naturally or by molecular manipulation is very hard to determine, but I wouldn’t rule out either origin.” The professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Baltimore even clarified some of his remarks to journal Nature and said, “There are other possibilities and they need careful consideration, which is all I meant to be saying.”
While Baltimore has chosen to soften his stance, the coronavirus lab leak theory has gain traction especially in recent months as the United States President Joe Biden on May 26 ordered a 90-day review to collect more information and review the already existing proof about COVID-19 origin. Several scientists including US top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci believe that the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes COVID-19 is most likely natural. However, the baseless theory has often been supported by different hypothesis developed by virus researchers.kabaddi-meaning
Two United States experts have said on June 6 that “damning” science strongly indicates that COVID-19 causing novel coronavirus, is man-made and optimized in a lab for maximum infectivity before leading to a pandemic last year. In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal published on Sunday, Dr. Steven Quay and Richard Muller noted two crucial pieces of evidence to back their claim of SARS-CoV-2 being manufactured in a laboratory after the theory was long derided as little more than speculation.
Firstly, according to US experts, it is the nature of gain-of-function research which includes scientists tweaking the genome of the virus to make it more infectious or lethal such as the one taking place in China’s Wuhan Insitute of Virology. Quay and Muller wrote that the COVID-19 pathogen has a genetic footprint that has never been observed in a natural coronavirus. Quay is the founder of US-based biopharmaceutical company Atossa Therapeutics and Muller is a Physics professor at the University of California Berkeley.
"The most compelling reason to favour the lab leak hypothesis is firmly based in science," the experts wrote.