Wuhan lab leak theory grows as Brit expert who tried to silence claims is SACKED from UN’s pandemic probe

A BRITISH scientist who tried to silence the Wuhan lab leak theory has been removed from the United Nations commission investigating the the origins of Covid.

Dr Peter Daszak has been ousted from the UN-backed Lancet probe as he has repeatedly attempted to dismiss allegations the virus could have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).

 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates

NINTCHDBPICT000635499149-2

Dr Daszak is the president of the EcoHealth Alliance – a US-based organisation that was revealed to funneled taxpayer cash to WIV to carry out gain of function research of bat-based coronaviruses.

The 55-year-old has a close relationship with the lab’s chief Dr Shi Zhengli – dubbed “Batwoman” – and was last year jovially tweeting about singing karaoke with her and “partying in a bat cave” amid the pandemic.

WIV however are the prime suspect as circumstantial evidence mounts that link the origins of the virus to a lab leak as the US ordered a “redoubled” probe.

Dr Daszak was part of the much derided WHO investigation which visited Wuhan early this year, only to have its findings dismissed as a “whitewash” and the be undermined by WHO’s director on the same day as its release.

He remains listed on the website of the The Lancet COVID-19 Commission, but his profile has been updated to reflect his departure.

Under his photo and biography it now reads “recused from Commission work on the origins of the pandemic”.

No further information was given – but Daszak has been widely blasted for appearing to have a conflict of interest over his links to WIV.

He was one of 28 experts from around the world asked to probe the origins of the virus and how best to respond to a pandemic.

It was organised by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which boasts it operates “under the auspices of the United Nations to mobilize scientific and technical expertise in support of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Dr Daszak’s removal from the probe after he helped organise a letter signed by 27 scientists denouncing the lab leak as a “conspiracy theory” and “nonscientific”.

Dr Peter Dazak has been ‘recused’ from investigations in the origins of Covid

“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,” he said, in a statement signed by himself and the 26 others.

“Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumors, and prejudice that jeopardize our global collaboration in the fight against this virus”.

The 2020 letter helped shape the narrative of the early days of the pandemic and quash very serious questions about whether WIV could have been linked to the virus.

Dismissed as a conspiracy theory, key questions went unanswered and the chance for early scrutiny of China and WIV over the origins of the lab may have been lost.

Some 18months since the virus was first detected in Wuhan, only now are questions about the potential lab origin being taken seriously in mainstream discourse.

Scientists and experts who raised questions over the lab leak last year were dismissed and ridiculed.

While big tech firms like Facebook attempted to police the narrative under the auspices of “fake news” and “misinformation”.

Dr Peter Daszak was part of the much derided WHO investigations

Dr Daszak and WHO probe chief Dr Peter Ben Embarek  pose for pictures in China

Dr Peter Palese, a microbiologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, signed the Lancet letter but now acknowledges there are serious questions about the origins of the virus.

The 77-year-old told MailOnline: “I believe a thorough investigation about the origin of the Covid-19 virus is needed.

“‘A lot of disturbing information has surfaced since the Lancet letter I signed, so I want to see answers covering all questions.”

Dr Daszak had also previously denied that live bats were being studied at WIV – only for footage to emerging appearing to show the animals being handled at the lab.

He had already backpedaled on his comments and revealed they didn’t even ask if WIV kept live bats when they visited as part of the WHO probe.

Covid may have escaped by a researcher getting infected, improperly disposed of waste, or potential breaches in the security at the lab.

Meanwhile, Dr Zhengli continues to furiously deny all allegations – accusing the world of “pouring filth on an innocent scientist”.

China has long been accused of covering up or distorting its role in the early days of the pandemic, with claims the Communist Party manipulated case and death figures while withholding information from WHO.

Beijing has a history of lab leaks in which deadly viruses have accidentally escaped and critics have highlighted what they allege is a gung-ho approach to safety.

There is currently no evidence to suggest the virus was intentionally released by China.

And there is renewed questions on the Mojiang Mine – where a mystery virus killed three miners in 2012, and from where Covid’s closest living relative was recovered at a 96 per cent match.

Meanwhile, the hunt is on for the mysterious “Patient Su” – who could be one of the world’s fist Covid cases and who lived just three miles from WIV.

China has accused the US of playing politics by stoking fears over a lab leak, and have even attempted to shift the focus to bio labs in the US.

It emerged last month Wuhan lab staff became sick and needed hospital care weeks before China admitted it was facing an outbreak.

And experts have claimed that the truth about Covid could bring “national shame” to China and topple the Communist Party.