In a move that should have been done long ago, “the scientist who funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s ‘gain of function’ research on coronaviruses, which many now believe to be the source of the pandemic, has finally been removed from one position of investigative authority” reports Summit News.
Peter Daszak was tasked with heading the medical journal The Lancet’s UN-backed commission to investigate the origins of the global coronavirus pandemic. Daszak was later also employed as an “expert fact-checker” be Facebook to help monitor and remove “misinformation” about COVID-19 origins.
Summit News reports, “The British scientist was picked despite the fact that he was intimately associated with the Wuhan lab, had repeatedly dismissed the lab leak hypothesis a ‘dangerous conspiracy theory’, and created a pressure campaign via a letter published by The Lancet to force the scientific community into avoiding looking into the lab as a potential source of the outbreak.”
This week, The Lance issued a statement saying it has invited the other scientists who signed Daszak’s original letter to “re-evaluate their competing interests.” Many of those scientists are involved in the investigative commission. The Lancet’s website now reads “recused from Commission work on the origins of the pandemic” underneath Daszak’s photo, above his bio.
National Review reminds us it must not be forgotten that Daszak was also a “China apologist” who did interviews with Chinese-state-run media backing up Beijing’s theory that COVID-19 was imported to Wuhan from Cambodia, Thailand, or Japan.
National Review reports:
This week, Daszak recused himself from the COVID-19 Commission established by the medical journal The Lancet — not over his public embrace of China’s implausible blame-shifting theories, but because of complaints he didn’t disclose past conflicts of interest in his contributions to that journal.
The Lancet didn’t quite run a correction on an article from early 2020 that dismissed the possibility of a lab leak setting off the COVID-19 pandemic. But it did feel sufficient pressure from readers and other medical experts to offer an update on the question of whether Daszak was honest when he declared in that statement that he had no competing interest. The editors of The Lancet write:
In February 2020, 27 public health experts co-authored a Correspondence in The Lancet (“Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting COVID-19”), supporting health professionals and physicians in China during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this letter, the authors declared no competing interests. Some readers have questioned the validity of this disclosure, particularly as it relates to one of the authors, Peter Daszak. In line with guidance from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, medical journals ask authors to report financial and non-financial relationships that may be relevant to interpreting the content of their manuscript.
There may be differences in opinion as to what constitutes a competing interest. Transparent reporting allows readers to make judgments about these interests. Readers, in turn, have their own interests that could influence their evaluation of the work in question. With these facts in mind, The Lancet invited the 27 authors of the letter to re-evaluate their competing interests. Peter Daszak has expanded on his disclosure statements.