Damage caused by Covid-19 to countries around the world should be covered by Washington if claim of origin of US biological research is confirmed, Duma speaker says
The United States may owe the world huge compensation for the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of Russia’s State Duma, said on Wednesday. He cited remarks by the chairman of The Lancet commission on the disease, which suggested that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may have originated from a US research program.
Speaking in Madrid last month, economist Jeffrey Sachs called the current situation “a mess” and blamed diminishing American leadership for it, identifying the pandemic as one of America’s failures. He said he was convinced that the virus “came out of American laboratory biotechnology” instead of evolving naturally, citing his experience with the authoritative British medical magazine.
Volodin claimed that the US government would not comment on Sachs’ remarks because President Joe Biden is “afraid that the world will know the truth about the real culprit of the pandemic”.
He added that the suffering of millions of people who contracted the virus, including the many who died, and the economic crisis caused by the pandemic were the responsibility of the United States. “The United States must compensate the damage caused to all affected nations,” he ordered.
The Russian official added that the United States should “Stop and Downgrade” his “military biological weapons research” referring to the chain of biolabs scattered around the world that receive funding from the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The United States says they are used to detect emerging pathogens, but some countries, including Russia and China, believe they can be used for clandestine military research.
Sachs himself called his remark “challenging” and lamented that the theory “is not the subject of any investigation, neither in the United States nor anywhere”, despite the evidence that warrants such an investigation. “They don’t want to look too much under the rug” he said.
The theory that Covid-19 started as a leak from a Chinese lab in Wuhan was popularized by the US government under President Donald Trump, who said Beijing should pay compensation for its alleged culpability. The Chinese government and political opponents of Trump at home have angrily dismissed the idea. Big US tech companies have even suppressed the lab leak theory because “disinformation” on their online platforms.
The censorship was rolled back under the administration of President Joe Biden, who accused Beijing of failing to subject its microbiology research to international scrutiny. The outbreak was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, home to a leading biosafety lab that has extensive US grant-funded research records.
The World Health Organization investigated the origins of Covid-19 and concluded last February that the virus most likely originated from an animal host.