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Experts condemn 'rumors and misinformation' about coronavirus

the Wuhan Institute of Virology
claims.“The Wuhan Institute of Virology
EcoHealth Alliance

Chen Quanjiao
Tom Cotton
Peter Daszak



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The New York Times
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Scientists from nine countries have issued a joint statement “strongly condemning conspiracy theories” surrounding the origin of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and urging those who cultivate the rumors to consider the harmful consequences of misinformation.On Wednesday of this week, 27 public health specialists hailing from international research institutions in nine countries have issued a joint statement published in The Lancet.In the statement, they express increasing concern over the spread of unsupported claims that the new coronavirus — SARS-CoV-2 — was created and leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.“We are public health scientists who have closely followed the emergence of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are deeply concerned about its impact on global health and well-being,” the scientists write.The rumors — which have permeated social media and fed tabloids — have spurred specialists’ worries that misinformation could significantly harm progress in tackling SARS-CoV-2.“The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumors and misinformation around its origins,” warn the authors of the statement in The Lancet.Although the statement does not mention specific names or institutions, speculations about the alleged origin of the virus have incriminated the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has studied coronaviruses in bats.However, researchers officially affiliated with that institution have repeatedly denied such claims.“The Wuhan Institute of Virology has no infections, and the patient zero did not come from us,” Chen Quanjiao, a researcher at the institute, reportedly told media outlets.But specialists have not been able to quash such rumors, which have been perpetuated even by individuals with highly public profiles, such as politicians.One recent example is that of United States Senator Tom Cotton, who has publicly accused Chinese authorities of secretiveness around the true origins of the new virus.The specialists who co-signed the new statement in The Lancet emphasize that such claims are not based in fact and that they threaten what is currently a strong international collaboration between researchers and health officials.

As said here by Maria Cohut Ph.D.