Scientists who wrote a controversial paper refuting the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a Chinese laboratory privately wrote that the theory was highly likely after the paper was published, according to messages released on Tuesday.
Kristian Andersen and Robert Garry were among the authors of the “Proximal Origins” paper published in March 2020, which argued that COVID-19 was the result of human interaction with a bat, and denied privately contradicting their assessments before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on July 11. Andersen and Garry wrote in Slack messages to other scientists, published by a group of journalists on Substack, that the likelihood of the virus leaking from a lab in China was high. (RELATED: ‘Are You Both Conspiracy Theorists?’: Nicole Malliotakis Grills Scientists On Why They Did ‘180’ On Lab Leak Theory)
“I’m still not fully convinced that no culture was involved,” Andersen wrote in an April message, nearly a month after the Proximal Origins paper was published, according to the Substack. “If there is no engineering and no culturing, then it means that somebody magically found a pre-formed virus, put it in a lab, and infected themselves.”
“So friggin’ likely” – Feb 1
— Louis R Nemzer (@BiophysicsFL) July 18, 2023
“The likelihood of somebody finding exactly that pandemic virus and infecting themselves is very, very low,” Andersen wrote. “If they did find that pandemic virus, they would get infected if they grew it in the lab – but the likelihood of them finding it in the first place is exceedingly small (or so one would hope – otherwise, good luck World avoiding [a] future pandemic).”
Andersen had expressed a belief in the theory of a lab leak as far back as February when he wrote “the lab escape version of this is so friggin’ likely to have happened because they were already doing this type of work and the molecular data is fully consistent with that scenario,” according to the Substack.
Garry had explained the possible science behind the virus’ creation in a laboratory in a Slack message, according to the Substack.
“Transmitting a bat virus-like RatG13 in HeLa cells and then asking your graduate student to insert a furin site…” he wrote to the other scientists, adding that “it’s not crackpot to suggest this could have happened given the GoF [gain of function] research [which increases infectiousness] we know is happening.”
The Proximal Origins paper became the fifth-most viewed scientific work “ever tracked” with 5.84 million scholarly accesses, according to a Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic report released on June 11.
Anthony Fauci, the then director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, encouraged the paper’s publishing and quoted it frequently in 2020.
Andersen and Garry did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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