The Investigation of Virus Origins Should Not Be Related to a US “PR Initiative”

The question of the appropriate methods and the appropriate breadth of focus of the investigation, including specific subject areas, must therefore be asked and answered by the worldwide community of scientists.

Editor’s Note: The origin of coronavirus is a global concern due to the COVID pandemic. Global scientists and research institutes have been working on the virus tracing. But the politicization of the virus’s origins has seriously damaged the international cooperation, especially after some US politicians spread conspiracy theories that “the virus originated in a Chinese lab”. The US intelligence agencies delivered a report on the origins of the virus in the end of August, which was inconclusive about the question. Why would US President Biden tasked intelligence community to produce such a report? Does the report help research of the origins of the virus? Dr. med. Michael Hühn, a specialist in general medicine in the federal state of Hesse, Germany, gives his opinions in an interview with China Focus.


China Focus: A report on the origins of the coronavirus was already published in March by the World Health Organization (WHO). It was concluded in this report that the virus is extremely unlikely to be originated in a laboratory. This result has been recognized by a lot of scientists and governments around the world. Why does the US continue pressuring the WHO to investigate the Wuhan Institute of Virology?

Dr. Michael Hühn: My thoughts on this issue are as follows. The US has identified China as its adversary because China is successful. In order to achieve public acceptance or tolerance for hostile economic policy and military orientation (here in the context of its “Pacific century”), it is useful to associate the “enemy” with a wide variety of negative qualities or acts. The narrative of how China may have secretly cultivated the virus in a laboratory, causing great harm and difficulties all over the world, and then released it against humanity, makes China seem threatening and deceitful.

It makes China look like a country, that must be viewed with justifiable distrust and opposed, or should the occasion arise, must be treated “strictly” or harshly. Because of this it is suggested, that the question of whether the virus originated from a Chinese laboratory is still “open” or “not sufficiently resolved” – and of course because of Chinas secrecy – although there is no evidence that makes this theory believable.

China Focus: Why did President Biden assign US intelligence agencies to investigate this issue instead of research institutes? What political goal is being pursued with this action in your opinion – because, as is well known, the intelligence services of a country serve the interests of the country.

People walk on a street in New York, the United States, July 20, 2021. (Photo/Xinhua)

Dr. Michael Hühn: Perhaps the American research institutions are too cautious about their good reputation, to adopt the arguments that are so easily recognizable as ridiculous, for the well-informed parts of the public. But it may also be that on request for evidence for the allegations made, one would like to be able to answer succinctly, in a tried and tested manner: “We have evidence, that’s why you have to believe us, but we don’t show it, because it’s confidential.” A researcher could never argue like that.

The principle of how unjustified allegations can be useful for PR-work was explained by Joe Biden himself, when he mentioned the example of a statement by his predecessor Donald Trump: “I’m not sure anybody that hadn’t already made up their mind they’re for Trump will believe it”, said Biden, “But who knows. He’s sort of like Goebbels. You say the lie long enough – keep repeating it, repeating it, repeating it – it becomes common knowledge.”

China Focus: The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has requested a second study on the origins of the corona virus. Does this contradict WHO procedures? Can this plan of tracing the origin be implemented, given the fact that 46 countries have expressed their disagreement with politicizing the work of the WHO? And most of the research activities have shown that the corona virus most likely originated from nature. It is also possible that the virus could have spread among humans before the outbreak in December 2019. Do you think tracing the origin should have a broader focus, including the United States and Europe?

Dr. Michael Hühn: The American way of reasoning along the lines of “There is no evidence of a virus being released from a laboratory, but it could be theoretically possible. That is why a recognized foe like China has to prove the opposite of this theory” seems purposeful, especially since such evidence could only be provided through positive evidence of where the virus actually originated from. And to obtain this evidence does not seem possible for research and science at the moment. Even way the question is formulated, contradicts the basic rules of logical reasoning.

It is therefore completely inappropriate as a basis or starting point for serious scientific research. A WHO re-investigation carried out for US propaganda purposes is not an adequate framework for scientific research. Research on viruses – especially on the current coronavirus – and on the ways they are spreading and transmitting, is of great importance. The question of the appropriate methods and the appropriate breadth of focus of the investigation, including specific subject areas, must therefore be asked and answered by the worldwide community of scientists. It should in no way be related to a US “PR initiative”, like the one discussed here.