Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
The World Health Organization’s new chief scientist made a crucial change to an influential 2020 paper that claimed it was “improbable” that COVID-19 came from a laboratory, a newly disclosed email shows.
Jeremy Farrar, the chief scientist, was credited in one message with helping guide the paper about the origin of COVID-19, according to one email released by the U.S. House select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic on March 5.
“Thanks for shepherding this paper. Rumors of bioweaponeering are now circulating in China,” Dr. Ian Lipkin, a Columbia University professor, wrote to Farrar in the message.
“Yes I know and in US – why so keen to get out ASAP. I will push nature,” Farrar responded.
In the early 2020 paper, Lipkin and four co-authors claimed: “It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus.”
SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.
A draft of the manuscript, published by Nature, included a different word, the House panel found.
“Sorry to micro-manage/microedit! But would you be willing to change one sentence?” Farrar wrote to Kristian Andersen, who co-authored the paper, in an email just one day before publication.
Farrar asked to insert “improbable” in place of “unlikely,” the email showed.
“Sure,” Andersen responded.
The paper also stated that “SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct” and that the authors “do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.”
“This evidence suggests that Dr. Farrar was more involved in the drafting and publication of Proximal Origin than previously known and possibly should have been credited or acknowledged for this involvement,” the panel said.
Asked for a comment from Farrar, the World Health Organization (WHO) told The Epoch Times via email he hasn’t yet started in his new position.
The British scientist was, at the time of the messages, at the helm of the Wellcome Trust, which controls millions of dollars in funding for research in the UK.
The WHO announced on Dec. 13, 2022, that Farrar would be the next new chief scientist and that he would start in the second quarter of 2023. Wellcome, which didn’t respond to a request for comment, has stated that Farrar was due to leave in 2023.
Farrar helped arrange a secret Feb. 1, 2020, teleconference with Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to discuss the origin of COVID-19, previously released emails show.
Some of the participants said details of SARS-CoV-2 indicated it didn’t originate from nature, though others favored the natural origin theory.
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