"Laboratory spillover events have happened in the past. And they will continue to happen in the future. The question is, how can we reduce the risks?"

How to make biomedical research (and biosafety labs) less dangerous and more ethical, post-COVID-19
"There are no surveillance systems of laboratory-acquired infections and, if they occur, there are no mandatory mechanisms in place to notify state and local health officials about those infections."
"Laboratory-acquired infections are not 'notifiable' diseases under CDC guidelines," so they don’t get reported to local and state health officials. The CDC does not collect data on laboratory-acquired infections because they are considered occupational exposures."
"In other words, laboratory-acquired infections fall through the cracks in government surveillance systems."
"In essence, health officials are in the dark when it comes to potential laboratory-acquired infections in their jurisdictions.: This lack of awareness hinders public health preparedness efforts in cases of high-risk laboratory-acquired infections with potential to spread"
"Laboratory and laboratory-acquired infections occur, but without..surveillance..at regional, national, and international levels, it’s difficult to know until a disaster strikes. Of note, biosafety concerns existed at the WIV long before the emergence of SARS-CoV-2."
"NIH funding for EcoHealth Alliance’s research..very clearly describes gain-of-function research that creates novel coronavirus genomes and uses them to experimentally infect across a range of cell cultures from various animal species to humanized mice."
"We don’t know if gain-of-function research caused this pandemic or if it was naturally occurring. But the arguments for gain-of-function research can be countered by two points."
"First, the mRNA [and other] vaccines that were developed so quickly in response to the pandemic took decades of prior research and required the sequence of genetic material from the virus’s spike protein. Gain-of-function research was not needed."
"Second, investments in public health would improve response capabilities much more than any information that gain-of-function research could provide."

"We don’t need scientists helping nature to make deadlier pathogens in a misguided effort to improve public health."
"Just because an experiment can be done doesn’t mean it should be done. Until COVID-19, society had largely abdicated research funding decision-making to the scientific community with little, if any, oversight or input by humanists, ethicists, or public health professionals"
"And the fact that the scientists made the mere suggestion that SARS-CoV-2 might have had a laboratory origin a taboo subject demonstrates that they are incapable of policing themselves."

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More from @R_H_Ebright

8 Jun
"[S]unlight is the best disinfectant. Especially under penalty of perjury"

By Investigating Itself The US Can Answer Many Of The Key COVID19 Origin Questions
"Many threads of investigation are available in the U.S. and would be accessible to a Congressional inquiry with subpoena power. At EcoHealth. At funding agencies (USAID, DTRA, DARPA, DHS, and NIH). At publishers (Springer–Nature and Lancet). No cooperation from China needed."
"In 2014..Obama..implemented a 'Pause' in..funding for GoF research of concern. However..document announcing.Pause stated..'exception from pause may be obtained if head of funding agency determines research is urgently necessary to protect public health or national security'"
Read 9 tweets
8 Jun
"Nature and The Lancet played important roles in enabling, encouraging, and enforcing the false narrative that science evidence indicates Sars-CoV-2 had a natural-spillover origin points and the false narrative that this was the scientific consensus.”

"The science establishment colluded to dismiss the lab leak hypothesis as a conspiracy theory, assisted by prominent experts with clear conflicts of interest, patsy politicians and a pathetic media that mostly failed to do its job."
"[A]t the heart of this scandal lie some of the world’s most influential science journals. These..have played a central role in shutting down discussion and discrediting alternative views on the origins, with disastrous consequences for our understanding of events."
Read 5 tweets
5 Jun
"EcoHealth Alliance...received more than $123 million from the government"

$65 million from US Agency for International Development
$39 million from Department of Defense
$13 million from NIH

"The majority of the DoD funding came from the DTRA, a military branch with a mission to 'counter and deter weapons of mass destruction and improvised threat networks."
"One notable EHA 'policy advisor' is David Franz, a former commander at the principal US government biowarfare and biodefense facility Fort Detrick."
Read 4 tweets
4 Jun
"Biden’s call for an investigation and a report within 90 days into the possibility that the virus originated in a lab, if handled skillfully, may also prove to be an important step towards healing America’s democracy."

"Social and political polarisation, a fractured media environment, and rampant disinformation have created..barriers to establishing..facts. The space for elected officials..to challenge narratives that have gained hold among their own parties has been shrinking rapidly."
"In this context,..Biden’s..call for US intelligence agencies to investigate the Wuhan lab origins thesis sends a strong signal to Congress, the US public, and the expert community that science and facts will take precedence over partisanship."
Read 5 tweets
3 Jun
"[F]ormer FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb..says..burden should be on Beijing to 'provide evidence that would be exculpatory,' such as virus samples, blood samples from lab workers hospitalized with covid-like symptoms in November 2019, and..access to..lab"
"So long as the Chinese..fail..to provide that exculpatory evidence, and obstruct..an impartial international investigation, then the assumption should be that the Wuhan lab was the source of the pandemic"
A nation or institution seeking to its clear name immediately would open the books, open the databases, and open the freezers.

A nation or an institution seeking to obfuscate and obstruct would not.
Read 4 tweets
3 Jun
"[S]ilencing of scientists,..blanket denials,..careful guarding of..data and..samples—these elements have been emblematic of the approach by Chinese authorities at every stage of..outbreak. And they continue to obstruct..world’s ability to get answers."

"Tian and..team from...Wuhan CDC are filmed catching..bats and collecting..guano, in search of new bat-borne diseases..'It is while discovering new viruses that we are most at risk of infection,' he says, though he is shown handling..vials without wearing full protective gear."
"The video is perhaps even more notable for what it doesn’t reveal. Nothing is known outside China about the science gleaned from that expedition by the Wuhan CDC..The team has not disclosed what viruses, if any, it found in the cave, or even when the mission took place."
Read 8 tweets

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