Prominent NYC scientist returns to ‘natural origin’ of COVID

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A prominent New York City microbiologist said Friday that “disturbing information” has led him to change course regarding his belief in the “natural origin” of COVID-19.

Peter Palese was one of 27 scientists who: signed an influential statement last year in the British scientific journal The Lancet that denounced the idea that the coronavirus could have escaped from a lab – or even been man-made.

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But Palese β€” chair of the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he… runs a lab named after him β€” said he is no longer convinced that this is the case.

β€œI believe a thorough investigation into the origin of the COVID-19 virus is needed,” says Palese told the Daily Mail.

“A lot of disturbing information has surfaced since the Lancet letter I signed, so I want to see answers to all the questions.”

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Peter Palese heads the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
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Medical worker in scrubs
Palese said a lot of “disturbing information” has led him to flaunt his feelings about the origins of COVID-19.
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Palese declined to specify that information or say what prompted him to sign the Lancet statement, according to the Daily Mail.

In the Lancet statement, the signatories expressed β€œsolidarity with all scientists and health professionals in China,” adding, β€œWe stand together to vigorously condemn conspiracy theories that suggest COVID-19 has no natural origin.”

On Thursday, Vanity Fair revealed that the statement was secretly organized by Peter Daszak, president of the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance.

Peter Palese
Peter Palese had originally come out and exposed “conspiracy theories” surrounding COVID-19.
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China's Wuhan Institute of Virology
There have been discussions about whether the NIH has given the Chinese Wuhan Institute of Virology money for so-called “function gain” research.
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Virologist Shi Zheng-li, left, works with her colleague in the P4 lab of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Virologist Shi Zheng-li (left) works with a colleague in the P4 lab of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
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that organization gave almost $600,000 in US taxpayers’ money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, which researches coronaviruses and is suspected of being the source of COVID-19.

In January, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the WIV collaborate on secret projects with the Chinese military since at least 2017.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has since said he is “convinced” that COVID-19 was the result of a lab leak and accused the Chinese government of covering.

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