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Opinions of Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Columnist: Dr. Henry Asante Antwi

Coronavirus and the bioweapon dilemma {Part 2}

Dr. Henry Asante Antwi Dr. Henry Asante Antwi

In the particular case of the COVID-19, the conspiracy theories about its origin has gained substantial public attention because senior government officials and prominent media outlets in China, Russia, America etc have openly supported these theories. For example, several international media outlets, especially in the US, have consistently suggested that COVID-19 leaked from the Biosafety Level 4 Laboratory at the Institute of Virology in Wuhan in the Hubei province in central China.

Even though US government officials have not directly accused China of creating the virus, senior officials such as Wilbur Ross (US Secretary of Commerce) indicated at the onset of the epidemic that such a monumental collapse could help bring back jobs to the US. Little did he know that Europe and the US will become the global epicentre overtime.

US Senator Thomas Bryant Cotton is probably the most visible US personality to suggest that the deadly coronavirus may have originated in a high-security biochemical lab in Wuhan. According to him, his main source of information is a study published by Chinese scientists in the Lancet, which he called a “respected international science journal”.

In February 2020, when the epidemic was at its peak in China the Acting US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia; Philip Reeker accused Russia in an interview with Agence France Presse-AFP of using fake Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts to spread false theories that suggest that COVID-19 is a US bioweapon engineered by the CIA to “wage economic war on China.

Zhao Lijian (a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in China) also openly associated the US with the possible exportation of the virus from the US to Wuhan. This was after Robert Redfield, who is the director of US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had disclosed to US Congress that some US soldiers who took part in a military championship game in Wuhan in October 2019 when the virus was unknown in Wuhan had tested positive with the virus. Robert Redfield had also disclosed to the US Congress that some people in the US who were previously thought to have died of influenza actually tested positive for COVID-19 long before the disease surfaced in Wuhan.

It is gainsaying that, the mention of US, China and Russia does not in any way suggest that they are the only countries interested in the bioweapon industry, but in doubt at front liners in global weapon manufacturing and distribution.

Indeed over the last two weeks a video of the late ex-president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein has gone viral in which he is heard accusing the US of attempting to attack Iraq with coronavirus in the 1990s. On March 22, 2020, Kate Feldman reported for the New York Daily News that Iran’s Supreme Leader; Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran had rejected US medical aid to fight COVID-19 in the country because they believed the US will use it as an opportunity to spread the virus to Iran to make the government unpopular.

A critical examinations of the main countries involved in the cycle of accusations and counteraccusations about bioweapons shows that these countries have been unfriendly nations for a long time and their feud usually spills over into an otherwise positive medical safety initiative to cultivate viruses for public health protection.

To be continued… Watch out for the final Part

Source: Dr. Henry Asante Antwi
Centre for Health and Public Policy Research
Jiangsu University, P.R.C