Lab origin not ruled out as India studying all aspects of Covid-19

New Delhi: India has initiated an assessment on “all aspects” of Covid-19, with the top security establishment not yet ruling out a possible lab origin of the virus that has claimed over 200,000 lives worldwide. Consultations at the top level, being driven by scientific experts and resources, started last month as India went on a war footing to contain the spread.

Sources said that while a conclusion has not yet been made, all aspects—whether it was an experiment in biological warfare that went awry, a vaccine experiment or a natural occurrence that could have been controlled with adequate warning—are being looked at by experts, with the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) aware of developments.

“We are examining all aspects of the virus in light of disturbing reports and allegations of lab origin. There is no credible evidence as yet, however to prove that it is not of lab origin,” a source in the security establishment told ET.

While serious thought is going on at the NSCS on the matter, sources warned that it may be too early to make conclusions but the international community needs to ask tough questions and accountability needs to be fixed at the earliest. They added that a global consensus is imperative on the matter.

Several international studies and reports on the alleged lab origin of the virus are being closely followed by the security establishment, with an independent scientific assessment of the strain also being conducted, sources said.

Experts speaking on the condition of anonymity said that the exercise is esoteric in nature, with the goal being to understand both the impact of spread of the virus and its origin. Few academic institutions of India have also conducted study on the same subject, which are being studied by the security establishment.

Sources said that ongoing litigation efforts against China are being closely followed, especially multiple lawsuits in the US. A particular $20 trillion lawsuit against Chinese authorities by advocacy group Freedom Watch has raised concern, as it charges Wuhan Institute of Virology director Shi Zhengli as well. Shi had published a research paper with other scientists in October last year that studied animal to human transmission (via bats) in north-east India.


A top Russian expert has also described scientists at Wuhan laboratory doing “absolutely crazy things” to alter the coronavirus. Professor Petr Chumakov has said that the Wuhan laboratory team was actively involved in the development of various coronavirus variants for more than 10 years, possibly for HIV vaccine research.

While opinion has been divided over the origin of the virus, some scientists have questioned the “natural” origin of the coronavirus, including French Nobel Prize-winning scientist Luc Montagnier.

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