What Really Happened in Wuhan?

“It began in the autumn of 2019. Months before the first reported case of human-to-human contact, the Wuhan Institute of Virology began to go dark. Publicly available information was wiped from the internet. Staff connected with the Institute disappeared as the scientists fiercely criticised its safety practices and standards. At the same time, there were burgeoning social media mentions of a new respiratory illness.”

This is an impressive book. Whether Sharri Markson has got everything right I’m not knowledgeable enough to know. Don’t fall for the critical reviews here which dismiss her out-of-hand as a Trump apologist. Yes, she works for Sky News Australia and the channel has a bias to the right. But at the same time, ABC Australia and CNN have a bias to the left. There is no fair and impartial network. To be a high profile journalist, you have to work for someone – and if she wasn’t high profile, the book wouldn’t get much play.

Markson puts forward the case for an accidental lab leak of a genetically manipulated virus rather than one which came out of nature. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence for the lab leak – and very little for the ‘zoonosis’ or out of nature theory. However, the lab leak was long seen as a conspiracy theory – largely because it was touted by Donald Trump who the mainstream media hated so. Also, it’s nigh on impossible to get any concrete evidence when the Chinese government is covering everything up.

It’s hard to sum up this book packed with science. In a nutshell, the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been doing ‘gain of function’ research on bat viruses for years. Gain of function is where – basically – you manipulate a virus to make it more deadly. The Coivd-19 virus has a spike protein suited to infect human rather than bat cells. The wet market in Wuhan did not even sell bats – let alone pangolins, the apparent intermediate host of the virus between the bats and humans.

Then there was the WHO and the wider science community afraid of contradicting China, not to mention American intelligence services failing to investigate. Any local who tried to report on the virus in China, and some did, disappeared. Even more sinister is that the Chinese military was involved in the Institute in researching biological weapons. The major twist in the story for me was around the role of Fauci – the guy CNN etc. loved to paint as the good guy.

I can’t give this book five stars because 1) a big book like this needs an index, 2) the science is a headache to read for the laymen, but I don’t see how the author could have avoided this. Give it a read and decide for yourself. 

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