Editors at scientific journals, you can do something to stop risky pathogen research - form a pact to collectively refuse to publish research where pathogen sequences have been kept private for more than 2 years and where chimera of known/novel pathogens have been created.
If you refuse to publish this type of risky pathogen work, scientists will hesitate to spend their millions on research that they cannot publish in journals or present at conferences in order to advance their careers.
Accordingly, any scientist asked to peer review such a paper must be able to report it to an external party. I wish that the Cambridge working group or a similar organization was active so that they could receive and manage whistleblower reports.
Journals that glamorize risky pathogen research need to be properly censured and penalized for incentivizing the type of work that could lead to millions of people dying.
For example, research where SARS1 virulence factors have been inserted into SARS2 should not be published at top journals. Scientists elsewhere will want to do the same experiment according to their own biosafety standards to also publish in a top journal. selectagents.gov/resources/sagr…
Regarding accepted practices for uploading new virus sequences, this must be a recognized international database that is not under the control of a single country or entity that take the database offline, scrub data, or even alter the data when a lab leak is suspected.
As we have all seen, the data may as well be non-existent if it is only available on a database that can be unilaterally taken offline in the early days of a crisis.
Before covid, many in the science community (including me) did not understand the full risks of this specific type of pathogen research, but we should learn from the pandemic.

Journals must demonstrate leadership in deterring risky pathogen work, don’t leave it to scientists.

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More from @Ayjchan

26 Nov
The #OriginOfCovid saga has shown that some scientists have their priorities all messed up.

Early 2020, prominent scientists condemned the lab origin hypothesis as a conspiracy theory & some claimed they knew this virus was not genetically modified. Mostly everyone fell in line.
Later, the China-World Health Organization joint expert panel said this virus could've emerged in Wuhan from frozen meat #PopsicleOrigins

Instead of calling out the China-WHO joint study, several evolutionary biologists and virologists jumped in to support this hypothesis.
Over the past year and a half, we've seen time and again that scientists from the EcoHealth Alliance and Wuhan Institute of Virology were withholding key information about the origin of some of the closest relatives to SARS-CoV-2 and experiments done in the lab...
Read 8 tweets
25 Nov
Nice early reviews of our book VIRAL: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19 from Amazon US and UK.

“This is the first non political deep dive into what actually occurred. Instead of pushing their own conclusions - they let the reader decide.”

“Authoritative, meticulously researched, critically reasoned, chilling… The authors hold back nothing in evaluating the countless research papers, news reports, eyewitness reports and historically significant events.”
“I've been following Alina on Twitter for the past many months of the virus. I'm not sure how she found her way to Matt Ridley, but I'm glad she did. The combination is powerful, and the story is mesmerizing.”
Read 10 tweets
24 Nov
We don’t need a new SARS1.5 pandemic right now. Anyone creating chimera of SARS1 + SARS2 should incinerate all samples.

No more hiding them in freezers to be discovered decades later please.
“the work to create this chimeric virus is a ‘restricted experiment’ and requires prior approval from CDC before performing the experiment.”

How about NO approval for anyone to create a SARS2 x SARS1 chimera?

What’s the point of this experiment??
People said don’t worry because pathogen researchers have learnt their lesson…

“By 90 days after the publication (by February 15, 2022), any individual or entity that intends to continue to possess, use, or transfer this agent…”

No one should be making SARS2 x SARS1 babies.
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov
This is like trying to guess the shape of an iceberg when you can only see what's above the surface.

Where are the November case data? We know that by December there had been a superspreader event at the seafood market and cases numbered in the hundreds.
How is it possible that basic contact tracing wasn't done?

China showed us again and again throughout the pandemic how fast and effectively they could contact trace the h*ll out of any new Covid-19 case. Most recently locking down an entire Disneyland.
The @WHO spokesperson even said the errors in the China-WHO joint report on #OriginOfCovid were not important because “the current first known patient is most probably not the first case.”
Read 15 tweets
18 Nov
To the folks saying (or hoping) “don’t worry, I’m sure labs around the world are conducting research more safely now.”

Where is the evidence of this happening? How do we know that people approving and conducting risky experiments have turned over a new leaf?
See this letter to Congress by dozens of US scientific orgs:

“We urge you to reject attempts to impose restrictions on federally funded research or the operations of federal science agencies based on premature conclusions about how the pandemic emerged.”

There’s no new moratorium, no new framework, no new review process for risky pathogen research.
Read 8 tweets
17 Nov
The most important questions (and books) tend to offend a large section of society.

Did Covid-19 come from a lab? #OriginOfCovid

I never imagined I would one day co-write a book that would upset and threaten so many scientists and science journalists.

We @mattwridley would not be surprised if this book makes us unwelcome in some countries.

Our book lays bare the type of pathogen research that was ongoing prior to the pandemic, the frequency and risks of lab leaks, and a case for both natural and lab #OriginOfCovid scenarios.
Rescuing the lab origin hypothesis from being condemned by experts as a conspiracy theory demanded the ingenuity and determination of numerous scientists, journalists and sleuths whose stories are described in our book.
Read 4 tweets

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