According to a Houston Chronicle report, James Le Duc, the director of the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), is of the opinion that an accident in the Wuhan lab could have kicked off the global pandemic that everyone must now put up with.
“Accidents happen,” Le Duc, a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official, informed the Chronicle.
“You do your best to prevent it, and you prepare for an eventuality if it should happen. So all I can say is (the Wuhan lab) was built comparable to ours, with a whole series of redundant safety measures in place.” he continued.
“We did our best to share best practices so that they knew how to drive it and keep it safe. But it would be foolish to say there’s no risk, because there’s risk in everything.” Le Duc noted.
Le Duc was part of a team that provided training to staff in the Wuhan lab. He pointed out that China has a lack of experience when it comes to establishing biocontainment labs with tight security standards when compared to the U.S.
“I can say that this was a brand-new laboratory that was working at a level of biocontainment that they had not worked at in the past, so it’s not surprising that they don’t have a whole lot of people with experience in it,” stated Le Duc.
Regarding the current investigations into the potential lab origin of the pandemic, Le Duc viewed it as “speculation”, but urged that “I think it’s very appropriate that people look into this because that’s where some of the work is done.”
“I think the Chinese government has done themselves and the global community a big disservice by not being more transparent as to what’s going on, but that’s a whole different set of issues.” Le Duc opined.
The scientist’s comments came after a world renowned Russian microbiologist claimed that the novel virus responsible for the Wuhan virus pandemic was the consequence of Wuhan scientists doing “absolutely crazy things” in their lab.
Dr. Peter Chumakov of the Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology and Russian Academy of Sciences believes that the Wuhan scientists’ attempts to create the Wuhan virus was not with malicious intent. However, Chumakov stated that the scientists added “inserts in the genome, which gave the virus the ability to infect human cells.”
“There are several inserts, that is, substitutions of the natural sequence of the genome, which gave it special properties,” Chumakov highlighted, suggesting that the Wuhan lab was working on a vaccine for HIV.
“I think that an investigation will nevertheless be initiated, as a result of which new rules will be developed that regulate the work with the genomes of such dangerous viruses,” the Russian scientist concluded.
The Attorney General on His Way Out?: Trump Mulls Firing Bill Barr, Advisers Trying to Dissuade Him
Trump is unhappy about more than just Barr’s recent voter fraud comments.
President Donald Trump is considering firing Attorney General William Barr, with the Washington Post reporting Wednesday evening that Trump “remained livid” at him.
On Tuesday Barr said that the Justice Department did not find evidence of “fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
An unnamed senior administration official told the Post that although Trump is upset about Barr’s comments, he’s also unhappy with Barr about other matters, such as his previous lack of action on the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign and his handling of John Durham.
The president is pressuring Barr to release the “Durham report,” which could implicate officials in using the investigation to target Trump for political reasons. Trump also sees Barr’s secret appointment of Durham to DOJ special counsel as a “stall tactic.”
In the wake of Election Day Attorney General Barr authorized federal prosecutors to “investigate substantial allegations” of voter fraud. But in his comments Tuesday, Barr claimed that “most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct.”
“They are not systemic allegations,” said Barr.
Trump may want to fire Barr, but several advisers are trying to persuade him not to, according to the unnamed senior official.
Either way, it’s tough to see how Barr remains attorney general for much longer. If Joe Biden pulls off the steal and gets inaugurated, he will certainly replace Barr with his own AG. And if Trump hangs on for his second and final term, he may very well want to clean house and start afresh.
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