The British government has said that it is now actively considering the possibility that the Chinese coronavirus crisis was a result of a Wuhan lab leak after reports showed that the Cabinet Office previously censored references to the theory.
Earlier this week it was revealed that pandemic-era health secretary Matt Hancock’s memoirs were stripped of mentions of his belief that COVID-19 may well have emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology by the Cabinet Office of the British government, which has the right to review books from top-level government officials prior to publication to prevent potentially sensitive information from being released.
“It’s just too much of a coincidence that the pandemic started in the same city as the lab, which – by the way, is a full 40 minutes drive from the wet market originally linked to the outbreak,” Hancock had written in one of his references to a possible lab leak in the original version of his book.
Justifying removing the ex-health secretary’s lab leak commentary, the Cabinet Office said it was the governmnet’s position that the proximity of the Wuhan lab to the initial outbreak was “entirely coincidental” — despite prominent figures such as former MI6 director Sir Richard Dearlove having long supported the idea, and warning the government should “rethink how it treats its relationship with China”.
In a slight rejection of the apparent kowtow to the communist government in Beijing, Downing Street said in a statement on Friday that there are “still questions that need to be answered about the origin and spread of Covid-19”.
“The UK wants to see a robust, transparent and science-led review and believes all possibilities remain on the table until that is concluded,” the spokesman claimed in comments reported by The Telegraph.
This comes on the back of both the Department of Energy and the FBI in the United States appearing to admit that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was likely the origin point for the virus.
Speaking last month, the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, said: “[T]he FBI has, for quite some time now, assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.”
During the heights of the China virus crisis, health officials, the establishment media, and Silicon Valley all attempted to shut down conversation surrounding the lab leak theory, branding it a conspiracy theory after then-President Donald Trump highlighted the possibility of the Wuhan lab being the source of the pandemic.
Dr Anthony Fauci in the U.S. was an early critic of the theory, claiming in May 2020 that “the best evidence shows the virus behind the pandemic was not made in a lab in China.”
In Britain, the lab leak hypothesis was also branded as a “conspiracy theory” by a group of 27 scientists in a letter in the esteemed English medical journal The Lancet in March of 2020.
It would late be alleged that 26 out of the 27 scientists who signed the letter had conflicts of interest, either being directly tied to the Wuhan lab or linked to it through researchers and funders tied to the facility.
The infamous Lancet letter was organised by none other than British zoologist Dr Peter Daszak, who was later forced to admit his own conflict of interest, given that he serves as the president of the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance — an NGO which directly funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology after being granted U.S. taxpayer dollars by the then-Dr Anthony Fauci-run National Institutes of Health (NIH).
A report by The Intercept last year alleged that the U.S. government provided EcoHealth Alliance with funding of $3.1 million, including $599,000 that was given to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for studying how to modify bat coronaviruses to increase their ability to infect humans, calling into question Dr Faucci’s claims that his agency did not fund so-called gain of function research.
Dr Daszak later served on the World Health Organization’s team of investigators who examined the lab and concluded that there was “no evidence” of a leak.
However, the investigation relied heavily on the information provided by Chinese researchers at the lab, and the WHO team did not have access to hard evidence proving that the virus did not exist in the lab prior to the pandemic — meaning that they essentially were forced to take the word of the communist officials to reach their conclusion.
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka