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Alex Washburne

Alex Washburne
@WashburneAlex

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From 1977 influenza pandemic, it took ~40 years before a laboratory origin was widely accepted, despite being clear by 1978. In those 40 years, scientists who correctly determined it was a virus from a lab were underfunded. Global coordination on biosafety was postponed. 1/

SARS-CoV-2 is overwhelmingly likely from a lab. Nations like China withhold the datasets that would help our world learn the lessons of this pandemic and reward the right scientists before many of them die in 40y. Think of what could be done in the next 40y with the Truth. 2/
Suppose we hear a deathbed confession in 40 years that SARS-CoV-2 arose from a lab In the interim, we'll have alienated the best & brightest scientists who discovered the Truth while giving massive grants to people who helped China cover up their role in 18 million deaths. 3/
There are massive opportunity costs to delaying the truth about the origins of SARS-CoV-2 We've sampled bats and pangolins and raccoon dogs for 3 years & 18 million deaths It's time to devote similar $$ + effort to sample lab notebooks, databases, communications, and more. 4/4
P.S. Just imagine: if we had quickly converged on the correct origin of the 1977 pandemic, it's possible we may have emerged from the Cold War with more appetite for global coordination on biosafety. The Truth might've saved 18 million lives by preventing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alex Washburne

Alex Washburne

@WashburneAlex
Deaf guy (he/him), great listener! Princeton PhD Math/Stats/Bio/Finance microbiomes, epi + evo
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