If you “trust” these science honchoes at all after this episode… well, COVID-19 is not as serious a threat as wilful stupidity. But going forward, another question looms: How much of “settled science” that has never been subjected to this type of careful outside scrutiny would likewise collapse? What ELSE don’t we know and what difference would it make in various science arenas?
We wish Jacques van Helden and his co-authors good luck getting an honest discussion going. It’s not like China is going to become transparent anytime soon. In any event, few virus researchers would want to be told bluntly that, because gain-of-function research in viruses can go badly wrong, they now face controls. Some nations wouldn’t heed the controls. And nature never responds – on her own – to calls for clarification. Most likely, whatever happened with COVID will need to happen again a few more times until a pattern develops. Then we’ll see. It doesn’t help that Lancet itself became politicized in recent years.