It is not possible to “100%” exclude that the spread of the SarsCov2 virus may have originated from a laboratory accident in Wuhan, China, but the evidence points to a natural origin of the virus. This is the position expressed by virologists and infectious disease specialists today at the hearing of the joint Foreign and Social Affairs Committees of the Chamber, as part of the examination of the proposal for a parliamentary inquiry concerning the establishment of a Commission of inquiry into the causes of the outbreak of the pandemic of Sars-CoV-2 and on the adequacy of the measures adopted by the States and the WHO.
“I don’t have the tools to be able to 100% exclude the laboratory accident with a virus leak, which could still be related to a virus of natural origin. However – said Fausto Baldanti, head of the Molecular Virology laboratory of the Foundation Irccs Policlinico San Matteo di Pavia – these viruses exist in nature, then we are only observing how they are spreading in a globalized world. Viruses are spreading, but it is the first time this happens in a completely globalized world “. According to the expert, moreover, “the problem of understanding what happened arises from the time path and it is therefore important to understand the entry of the virus in Italy: the alert is launched on December 31 and the virus enters Italy on January 15 and it was a different strain from that in China. But from January to February 20, the date of the first Codogno case, it is difficult to imagine that the virus has mutated “. So, Baldanti says, “the virus was already present in previously mutated forms”.
Also for Massimo Ciccozzi, professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics at the Campus bio-medico University of Rome, “the laboratory accident cannot be ruled out, but in my opinion this virus has a natural origin”. “We are sure of the fact that – he said – it housed in the bat and now it is in humans, and the preventive moves that we must make essentially consist in veterinary surveillance and genomic surveillance in order to be able to trace the cases”. Massimo Galli, Professor of Infectious Diseases at the State University of Milan and Director of the School of Specialization in Infectious Diseases of the Luigi Sacco Hospital in Milan, along the same lines.
“In terms of probability – explained Galli – 99% of the probability leads to a natural event and 1% to an accidental event, always starting from the concept that it is not a virus that has been mounted in the laboratory. However, the The hypothesis of an escape of the virus from the laboratory and of its immediate adaptation to humans with this effectiveness seems to me somewhat science fiction. In short, there is no evidence of genetic engineering in it and I find it hard to think that it is something escaped. from a laboratory. There is no evidence of genetic manipulation and I believe it is a virus that came from nature “.
Giuseppe Ippolito, scientific director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases “Lazzaro Spallanzani” in Rome, also believes “it is essential to have information on the incident, but it is also important – he said – to understand what foreign intelligence is doing precisely to try to obtain information. “. But one thing, he concluded, “is certain: those who study viruses also use animal models to see the effects on infected animals, and this has been done with all hemorrhagic fever viruses and has also been the subject of extensive ethical debate. But I believe that no country that has such capabilities decides not to use them “.