Op-ed: Virus tracing must be science-based
Tracing the origin of the novel coronavirus is a serious scientific issue that needs to be studied by scientists and medical experts with science-based approaches.
In response to rumors about the origin of the novel coronavirus spread by media reports and on social media, World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Fadela Chaib said on April 21 that all available evidence suggests that the new coronavirus is not a virus manipulated or constructed in a lab or somewhere else. She pledged that the WHO welcomes all countries to support efforts to find the origin of the virus.
The solemn statement showed respect for science and dispelled rumors, forcefully responding to the fallacies and conspiracy theories circulating in the international society. It also helps the international society to hold justice and build consensus.
Finding the origin and source of the virus is essential for mankind to fight the global war against the virus. Science-related issues must be solved in science-based approaches and professional questions need to be answered by professionals.
As early as Feb. 19, 27 medical experts from 8 countries issued a joint statement on The Lancet which said that “Scientists from multiple countries have published and analyzed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2),1 and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife as have so many other emerging pathogens. This is further supported by a letter from the presidents of the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine13 and by the scientific communities they represent.”
A research team stressed in an article published on journal Nature Medicine that the novel coronavirus originated from natural evolutionary process, and is not a laboratory construct.
“We have no argument to claim that this virus would have escaped or been manufactured in a laboratory,” said Belgium’s spokesperson for COVID-19-related issues and virologist Emmanuel Andre, adding that the genetic structure of this virus is natural.
The scientific circles of all countries should carry out professional verification in a scientific spirit and using scientific methods, and trace the virus together to provide scientific support for pandemic prevention and control, and jointly overcome the common enemy of human beings.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a “natural disaster” and a sudden attack launched against human beings by an unknown virus. The virus knows no borders and doesn’t care about ethnicity. Like many other countries in the world, China is also a victim of the pandemic.
In coping with this global public health crisis, the urgency and importance of building a community with a shared future for mankind has become more prominent.
Only by adhering to the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind, and uniting and cooperating with each other, can countries overcome the pandemic and safeguard the common homeland of mankind.
The fallacies and conspiracy theories accompanying the spread of the pandemic are not only unhelpful for countries to fight the pandemic, but also breed mistrust, and eventually disrupt the joint anti-virus efforts and disturb global solidarity and cooperation.
Spreading conspiracy theories, stigmatizing other countries under the excuse of the virus, and staging ugly performances that disregard facts and run afoul of science are in essence anti-science and politicizing public health issues. These conducts must be resolutely resisted and corrected from the source.
To defeat ignorance with science, crush rumors with truth, resist prejudice with cooperation, and fight the pandemic together to overcome hardships is the correct attitude to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the pandemic is affecting global countries, the international society needs to firm up confidence, stay united and cooperate with each other, so as to win the war against the major infectious disease,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mankind will surely overcome the pandemic and usher in a better future for development as long as they worship science, stay more united and help each other.