A renowned US epidemiologist has urged China to be “radically transparent” if it wants to stop speculations and rumours over the origin of the novel coronavirus. Speaking to a news agency, Larry Brilliant, who is known for his contribution in successful eradication of smallpox, reportedly said that China’s refusal of allowing independent experts to review the outbreak is fuelling the conspiracy theories.
Brilliant said that everyone including Chinese scientists should be allowed to study the origin of the virus which will help in stopping rumours and theories. Referring to the victory over smallpox, the top epidemiologist has also emphasised on the importance of global cooperation.
40 years ago, all the nations of the world gathered to declare the first disease in history eradicated—smallpox. Today we remember that 2 centuries after we had a vaccine it was global cooperation that finally ended the worst disease in history. Important lesson for COVID19! https://t.co/okyZakMsNS— Larry Brilliant MD, MPH (@larrybrilliant) May 10, 2020
The United States and Australia have been demanding an independent investigation into the origin of the virus but China has outrightly reject it and has also shown ambivalence over an inquiry led by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The origin of SARS-CoV-2 is not known but preliminary studies suggested that the bats could be the source since the coronavirus present in bats has a genome that is 96 per cent identical to the novel coronavirus.
However, the US has been repeatedly indicating the possibility of a man-made virus, fuelling speculations that China either wanted to use it as bioweapon or it accidentally escaped from a Chinese laboratory. China has also come under fire for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak allegations of a cover-up are flying thick and fast.
Germany’s federal intelligence agency has reportedly claimed that Chinese President Xi Jinping had requested the UN health agency to downplay the severity of the coronavirus outbreak. According to a report of German publication Der Speigel, Xi had personally requested WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on January 21 to delay the message about the disease and downplay the seriousness of the threat.