Investigating the Origins of the Covid-19 Virus
We begin with the Trump administration abruptly cutting off funds today to EcoHealth Alliance which was researching infectious diseases emerging from viruses in animals like the Covid-19 virus because of the New York-based organization’s ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Recently Trump was asked a softball question from a right-wing plant working for Trump’s friend the owner of Newsmax who incorrectly blamed Obama for funding EcoHealth Alliance, prompting Trump to promise, “We will end that grant very quickly”. John Latham, the co-founder and Executive Director of the Bioscience Resource Project and the Editor of Independent Science News, joins us to discuss the coincidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology has a Level 2 lab next door to the Wuhan “Wet” market and a BSL-4 lab eight miles from where the outbreak began. That Level 4 lab was working with EcoHealth Alliance capturing and identifying viruses in bats, some very similar to Covid-19. And while there is no suggestion of genetic engineering for a bioweapon, there were warnings in State Department cables of lax containment procedures at the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s BSL-4 lab. But as Trump tries to heap blame on China to distract from his unconscionable failures, the real villains responsible for these zoonotic leaps from animals to humans are the intrusions into nature caused by the Palm Oil industry which eradicates rainforests to grow a product that should be banned as an additive in food. And compounding this, as factory farms pen in animals shot full of antibiotics, new strains of swine flu and avian flu flourish, producing drug resistant viruses that can cause similar pandemics.