China’s favorite Covid apologist, Peter Daszak, recused himself from participating in a prestigious medical advisory board on Covid-19 after it was revealed he has massive conflicts of interest.
It may surprise Daszak to find out that if your company gets millions of dollars from research being done at the Wuhan Virology Institute and then that same lab comes under suspicion of leaking the coronavirus that caused the pandemic, you might want to declare a conflict of interest in signing a letter dismissing the theory as hogwash.
The Lancet was forced to “clarify” the letter published in February that stated the lab leak hypothesis was “extremely unlikely” and that none of the scientists or researchers who signed the letter had any conflicts.
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.
In truth, Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance didn’t get any money from the Chinese. But the money EcoHealth got from the U.S. government was used to fund research at that lab, which would have been nice to know before such a prestigious medical journal put its name to a letter that Daszak was reportedly the catalyst for.
Daszak has tried so hard to misdirect governments, researchers, and virologists away from any hint that the virus even originated in China.
It will probably not surprise you to learn that Peter Daszak, the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, is the favorite American COVID-19 expert of Chinese-state-run media. But it may surprise you to hear that in an interview with the state-run Global Times earlier this year, Daszak echoed the supremely implausible claim of the Chinese government that SARS-CoV-2 originated in another country and was somehow imported into Wuhan. “There was a virus from Thailand close to the SARS-CoV-2, and also Japan and Cambodia. Ecohealth Alliance is already starting our work in tracing their origins.”
Jim Geraghty points out that there’s a sound reason for Daszak spouting Chinese propaganda.
I must interrupt to point out that the People’s Republic of China funds the laboratory doing the research on coronaviruses in bats in partnership with EcoHealth Alliance, and that the work of the EcoHealth Alliance in China is entirely dependent upon the continued approval of the Chinese government. So no, the president of EcoHealth Alliance is not someone who can be relied upon to declare when the Chinese government is being dishonest. His organization’s ability to continue its work in China is dependent upon him never saying something that will anger Beijing. That is a crystal-clear example of a conflict of interest that does not involve any direct payments from the Chinese government.
Well, of course, but in his clarification of his conflict of interest published in the Lancet, all Daszak would say is that the Chinese government didn’t pay him or EcoHealth Alliance. Not a word about the consequences of freely stating what many researchers have begun to say; that the lab leak theory deserves a second look.
Daszak is a scientific whore who sold his soul for millions of dollars from the U.S. government — some of which was used to fund the very suspect research into bat viruses that may have caused the pandemic.