Landis H.

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First, how much has COVID-19 played into your change of heart here? What do you think of Jeffrey Sachs, chair of the Lancet's COVID origins commission coming to the conclusion that a lab leak was the likely source and true investigation is being prevented?


Second, if there's a non-zero chance that virological research resulted in the current pandemic, I think that it's equivalent to that unbelievable fact about Chernobyl that the USSR kept other reactors of the same design online lest they admit that a fault in their design caused the meltdown. Except in this case, it seems to me that Deep VZN is the equivalent of rolling out thousands more reactors of the same design. If a lab leak indeed is the source of the current COVID pandemic, do you think that fact is necessary to turn the policy tide here? Do you agree with my metaphor here, couched in the fact that we're not 100% sure?


Third, how much should MRNA vaccine technology change our risk-benefit analysis of virology that introduces new and more dangerous viruses into imperfect human custody? Treatment or prevention seem like the only two hard arguments for such work, and it seems to me the Moderna 48-hour miracle is an argument that the upside is even more indiscernable.

Fourth and finally, how do we effectively mount this argument when those who are advocating the risky approach are leading industry researchers who seem intent on snuffing out discussion that might pour cold water on their work? Cf. Daszak's coordination of the Lancet article and the Lancet commission member who helped approve EcoHealth grants recommending Sachs's recommendations be struck from the final report?


This is a several months old thread, but if you do see this I appreciate your input. I'm not in the field but desperately worried about this as an X-risk.