Scientific evidence suggests COVID-19 conspiracy outside China
Published: Jul 27, 2021 09:39 PM
Editor's note: Keith Lamb is a University of Oxford graduate with an MSc degree in Contemporary Chinese Studies. His primary research interests are China's international relations and "socialism with Chinese characteristics." The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Those who espouse conspiracies are usually dismissed as tin foil hat-wearing lunatics. That is unless it's something to do with China. In that case, even the most outrageous claims can be considered.

I was "fortunate" enough to witness the Western media's depiction of China's "hell-scape" on the ground, as COVID-19 broke out in the early months of 2020. I witnessed a unity of action, swift organization and overall goodwill which contrasted with the chaos I witnessed in the early days of tackling COVID-19 in the UK.

This stark difference, between reality and reporting, has always made me skeptical of Western reporting on COVID-19, fed by various political actors, who have dogmatically attempted to pin the blame for COVID-19 on China.

When it comes to COVID-19, even the very heights of our global governing system, so we are told, are no longer fit for purpose. For example, the WHO, which didn't step in line with the anti-China narrative, had to be "infiltrated by Chinese influence."

When it comes to China and COVID-19, we've been asked to believe all types of smears. As COVID-19 spread around China, we were told that the Chinese were dirty and feasted on all sorts of strange creatures, hence COVID-19 started there. Then when Western governments, who had plenty of forewarning, handled the COVID-19 crisis considerably worse, the original schadenfreude narrative of China's suffering under COVID-19 soon turned into a lab leak theory underpinned by narratives of Chinese technological incompetence.

No doubt, with people locked indoors there was a lot of time for active imaginations. However, as much as I endorse an active imagination, it's nice for it to be supported by hard science. For example, just recently the Western press has reported on the retesting of blood samples from Italian cancer patients that, according to Western press reports, COVID-19 was maybe circulating in Italy as early as October 2019.

Alas, even science can't be reported accurately. The scientific report, in fact, shows that COVID-19 was at the very least spreading in Italy before September 2019. Blood samples that were collected starting September 2019 show that these cancer patients already had the anti-bodies for COVID-19. Antibodies for COVID-19 take a week or two to build up so we can surmise that the virus was spreading in August too.

Secondly, just because there is no data before September, it doesn't mean COVID-19 wasn't spreading much earlier. Of the 959 samples, it was detected that 111 had SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific antibodies. Over a 10th of the sample cannot simply get COVID-19, in a blink of an eye, it had to have been spreading months before.

Indeed, this is precisely what the paper suggests. The reason this research was taken was because the spread of COVID-19 in Italy did not fit in with Washington's "China virus" conspiratorial narrative. Italy's first two cases of COVID-19 were recorded on January 30, 2020, when two Chinese tourists tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Rome.

However, the first Italian laboratory-confirmed case was on February 20, 2020 – a male with no history of possible contacts with positive cases in Italy or abroad. Furthermore, the rapid spread of COVID-19, leading to large-scale hospitalization, suggested that "COVID-19 in a less symptomatic form had been in Italy for several months previously." As such, it is likely that COVID-19 did not start in China.

Of course, funding of this scientific paper titled "Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the pre-pandemic period in Italy," which was published in SAGE journals and peer reviewed, might turn up untoward bias. Perhaps, just as the reports on Xinjiang "atrocities" are funded directly by Washington, this report might be directly funded by Beijing? The answer to that is a resounding no. The study is funded by the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC) and the Italian Ministry of Health.

Consequently, the important question is, why is this information only coming out in the Western press now? It's not because the research has only just been released. This evidence was presented to the world in November 2020. I know because I reported on it the same month it was released.

The truth is, this news did not fit the anti-China narrative disseminated by the corporate media, and deep state interests, who desperately refuse to report China in a positive light. I would guess this is why even now reports do not delve into the full ramifications of the evidence which show that COVID-19 was more than likely present in Italy months before it was discovered in China.