As the rivalry between China and the US deepens, as China fills the vacuum created by the post-soviet era, as world politics turn bi-polar again as it were during the cold war, there is a highly debated public discourse; did the Peoples’ Republic of China deliberately develop the Corona Virus to weaken the economy of its somewhat western foe(s) or was it just an accident of nature?
The western media fueled the speculation as even Former US President, Donald Trump repeatedly called it “The Chinese Virus”.
There are divergent and convergent views to this assertion. Accusations that pandemics or epidemics are “biological warfare” are not new. Humans rightly have an innate fear of disease. “This plague is a Deliberate attack” is a trope that has been from time
immemorial. Disease outbreaks has long been blamed on convenient scapegoats from medieval plagues, which was often blamed on Jews or heretics, to recent conspiracy theories. For instance, some years there were speculations that the CIA secretly developed HIV/AIDS to control population explosion in the world esp. in Africa and Asia and save the human race. These speculations could be anything but the fact; sheer balderdash.
Though there is substantial evidence that the virus started at the city of Wuhan in China which also houses an advanced virology lab. Funny enough there is a counter speculation by some Chinese and Iranian commentators as they claim it was an American attack.
The media around the globe are more likely to go with what is sensational than what is factual. The speculation of a Chinese attack is quite sensational, weighing the fact that cases of the virus in the Western Bloc were horrendous as China quickly recovered with a low number of cases. Though it’s believed in some quarters that the figures in Chinese media are false as the media is highly censored by the communist party. As any news that tends to discredit President Xi’s government is manipulated.
The answer is “NO” as vehemently written in an article by Dan Kaszata, a london-based expert in chemical and biological defense with many years experience as an agent in the US secret service. He argues that there are far more lethal viruses that could be synthesize in the laboratory. If China was really out for a germs warfare, it could have developed a more deathly bioweapon from a more deathly virus.
Many other experts has put up both practical and scientific evidences to support Dan Kaszata’s divergent view. It starts from the basic facts of virology and genetics. The very premise that the virus must be man-made simply because it is bad is the height of anthropocentric hubris.
Nature has been / and is still making viruses for aeons and is most capable of making viral horrors on its own without help. When it comes to man-made viruses, this is a field that started just a few decades ago. Laboratories do not create viruses as neatly and headily as mother nature does.
The groundbreaking Miller and Urey experiment in 1953 which was a strong scientific evidence of the existence of God or a supreme being or what the atheist calls an intelligent-first-cause; shows that natural amino acids in DNA, which is the building block of life, are all left handed while the amino acids molecules that they synthesized at the laboratory is 50-50, left handed and right-handed. This phenomenon is called optical isomerism in organic chemistry. Optical isomers or chirals are molecules with the same elements, same number of atoms, same arrangements but different view. thus mirror compounds to each other- for those who are not familiar with SSCE chemistry or have forgotten. Genetic evidence shows that Covid-19 is a mother nature kind of virus and not man-made. Thus, it couldn’t be China.
The obdurate convergent party, with no science to substantiate their claims, hold that China, the first to recover and first to develop a vaccine, created the virus to slow and torment the western economies. On the other hand, the conspiracy theory in China, holds that it’s a US attack targeted on Chinese soil as China recorded the first cases.
The divergence school of thought responds; a biological weapon that disproportionately kills off or incapacitates the elderly and vulnerable, but leaves the economically productive and fighting age intact seems not well thought through.
In summary, the science of biological warfare is a subject little understood by the public. The public knowledge in this area is mostly based on sci-fi novels and films rather than the actual history of the subject. An ideal virus capable of multiplying and spreading to become a global pandemic will take years and immense resources to develop; probably hundreds of millions of USD. No country is willing to embark on a venture with no direct economic returns. The US officially ended its biological weapon program in 1970.
The world is increasingly becoming interconnected like never before. The volume of trade and people of all races and nations living and traveling around the world has increased exponentially with exchange of culture and ideas – this is globalization. You would not want the bad disease you created to affect your own people. Though there is a trade war and Cyber attacks from these countries. Europe and America have long decried China’s industrial espionage and labelled Chinese technologies and inventions as mimicry or copycats. Nevertheless, the speculations of a man-made biological attack that could result in an epidemic or in a global sense, a pandemic remain largely hypothetical.