U.S. health expert analyzes difficulties in proving coronavirus lab leak hypothesis

WASHINGTON, June 4 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. health expert recently analyzed the challenges in proving the lab leak hypothesis pursued by some American politicians, saying the likely conclusion might end up with further suspicion.

Mark Kortepeter, who is an infectious disease and public health physician, scientist, retired soldier and author, published an article titled "Proving The Covid Lab Leak Hypothesis: Why It's Not So Simple" on the website of Forbes on Wednesday.

With working experience at the U.S. military biological lab of Fort Detrick in Maryland, the author said it is important to determine the intent behind the lab work and laid out three scenarios for lab activities associated with infectious viruses -- legitimate work, altering the virus for peaceful purposes, and altering the virus for nefarious purposes.

He pointed out the first two scenarios are for better protecting public health and normally occur in labs around the world. Diseases such as SARS, MERS, and influenza have been studied under such circumstances.

However, the third kind of lab work which is labeled as "nefarious" is usually for the military purpose of bioterrorism, in which the United States has experience, either as a perpetrator or victim.

Commenting on U.S. President Joe Biden's request that U.S. intelligence agencies should find out evidence within 90 days to decide whether the coronavirus was a lab leak, Kortepeter said, "Lacking key evidence from on-the-ground in China and trying to draw definitive conclusions on the origin of Covid in 90 days is Herculean at best."

Even if China would allow an investigation as Washington demanded, it would still be "unlikely to reach any definitive conclusions" as "the time that has lapsed only serves to make an investigation more challenging," the expert wrote.

"At best, the likely conclusion we might end up with is further suspicion, but nothing definitive," he added.

[ Editor: WPY ]