#169 - Katherine Eban: COVID-19 Lab Leak: Examining all sides of the debate and discussing barriers to a full investigation
Manage episode 297809555 series 2352826
Katherine Eban is an award-winning investigative journalist who previously appeared on The Drive to discuss the widespread fraud in the generic drug industry. In this episode, she discusses the content of her recent Vanity Fair article, which examined the evidence for the theory that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted from a virus lab escape as opposed to a natural virus that came from an animal host. Katherine and Peter walk through the evidence for both theories as well as discuss the long and troubling history of dangerous lab leaks and safety concerns about the Wuhan Institute of Virology. They also talk about the controversy surrounding gain-of-function research and its funding by the US government. Finally, they conclude with a discussion on the likelihood of definitively establishing the origins of the virus given the Chinese government’s lack of cooperation and highlight the fact that the many barriers to performing a full investigation may be the most troubling aspect of the controversy. This episode was originally recorded on July 6, 2021.
- An overview of the lab leak controversy [1:30];
- The troubling history of lab leaks of dangerous pathogens [8:30];
- The zoonotic transmission theory: did SARS2 come from a bat? [11:45];
- The debate about gain-of-function (GoF) research [26:15];
- Questions about US funding of GoF research in China [33:45];
- The uncertain significance of the furin cleavage site [51:30];
- Discerning what’s most important about both the zoonotic transmission and lab leak theories [1:01:15];
- Barriers to a full investigation [1:19:15]; and
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