It’s taken more than three years but for the first time since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic a Chinese scientist has acknowledged it might have started in a lab. Professor George Gao, former head of China’s Centre for Disease Control, tells the BBC’s former Beijing correspondent John Sudworth: “You can always suspect anything… Don’t rule anything out.” Beijing’s official position is that the lab leak theory is false and put about by China’s enemies. Gao’s remark will be seized on by politicians, especially in the US, still anxious to blame the Chinese government for Covid. It doesn’t actually get the world closer to the truth, though, which was already obscured by a problem with the theory that the virus crossed to humans in Wuhan’s Huanan seafood market – namely, three of China’s first four Covid patients never went near the market. Sudworth’s podcast notes there are two big labs handling viruses in Wuhan. The Wuhan Institute of Virology has hogged the limelight so far. Expect to hear more about the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control.
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