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为什么说新冠病毒可能是从武汉病毒研究所泄漏的

ALINA CHAN

2024年6月5日

Illustration by Mike McQuade. Source photographs by Getty Images.

On Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci returned to the halls of Congress and testified before the House subcommittee investigating the Covid-19 pandemic. He was questioned about several topics related to the government’s handling of Covid-19, including how the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which he directed until retiring in 2022, supported risky virus work at a Chinese institute whose research may have caused the pandemic.

周一,安东尼·福奇回到美国国会的会议室,在众议院调查新冠病毒大流行委员会前作证。他被问及与政府处理新冠病毒有关的几个话题,包括他在2022年退休之前一直领导的国家过敏症与传染病研究所如何支持了一家中国研究所从事高风险病毒研究工作,该研究所的工作可能导致了这次大流行。

For more than four years, reflexive partisan politics have derailed the search for the truth about a catastrophe that has touched us all. It has been estimated that at least 25 million people around the world have died because of Covid-19, with over a million of those deaths in the United States.

四年多来,条件反射式的党派政治阻碍了人们探寻这场影响我们所有人的灾难的真相。据估计,全球至少有2500万人死于新冠病毒,美国的死亡人数超过了100万。

Although how the pandemic started has been hotly debated, a growing volume of evidence — gleaned from public records released under the Freedom of Information Act, digital sleuthing through online databases, scientific papers analyzing the virus and its spread, and leaks from within the U.S. government — suggests that the pandemic most likely occurred because a virus escaped from a research lab in Wuhan, China. If so, it would be the most costly accident in the history of science.

尽管大流行的起因一直备受争议,但越来越多的证据——从通过《信息自由法》获取的公共记录、用在线数据库进行的数字调查、分析病毒及其传播的科学论文,以及来自美国政府内部的泄密——表明,大流行发生最有可能的原因是,病毒从中国武汉的一个研究实验室泄漏出来了。如果是这样,那将是科学史上代价最惨重的事故。

Here’s what we now know:

以下是我们现在所知道的:

1. The SARS-like virus that caused the pandemic emerged in Wuhan, the city where the world’s foremost research lab for SARS-like viruses is located.

1. 导致大流行的SARS类病毒出现在武汉,世界上最重要的SARS类病毒研究实验室就设在这座城市。

• At the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a team of scientists had been hunting for SARS-like viruses for over a decade, led by Shi Zhengli.

· 在武汉病毒研究所,石正丽领导一个科学家团队十多年来一直在寻找SARS类病毒。

• Their research showed that the viruses most similar to SARS‑CoV‑2, the virus that caused the pandemic, circulate in bats that live roughly 1,000 miles away from Wuhan. Scientists from Dr. Shi’s team traveled repeatedly to Yunnan province to collect these viruses and had expanded their search to Southeast Asia. Bats in other parts of China have not been found to carry viruses that are as closely related to SARS-CoV-2.

· 他们的研究表明,与导致此次大流行的SARS-CoV-2病毒最相似的病毒在距离武汉约1600公里的蝙蝠中传播。石正丽团队的科学家多次前往云南省收集这些蝙蝠病毒,并将搜索范围扩大到了东南亚。中国其他地区的蝙蝠未被发现携带与SARS-CoV-2密切相关的病毒。

• Even at hot spots where these viruses exist naturally near the cave bats of southwestern China and Southeast Asia, the scientists argued, as recently as 2019, that bat coronavirus spillover into humans is rare.

· 这些科学家们直到2019年都在提出,即使在离这些病毒自然存在的热点地区(如中国西南部和东南亚的蝙蝠洞穴)附近,蝙蝠冠状病毒向人类溢出的情况也很罕见。

• When the Covid-19 outbreak was detected, Dr. Shi initially wondered if the novel coronavirus had come from her laboratory, saying she had never expected such an outbreak to occur in Wuhan.

· 当新冠病毒的暴发被发现时,石正丽最初曾琢磨过这种新型冠状病毒是否来自她的实验室的问题,她,她从未预料到这种暴发会发生在武汉。

• The SARS‑CoV‑2 virus is exceptionally contagious and can jump from species to species like wildfire. Yet it left no known trace of infection at its source or anywhere along what would have been a thousand-mile journey before emerging in Wuhan.

· SARS-CoV-2病毒具有极强的传染性,能像野火一样从一个物种跨越到另一个物种。然而,这个病毒没有在它的源头留下任何已知的感染踪迹,也没有在它出现在武汉之前的1600公里沿途留下任何已知的感染踪迹。

2. The year before the outbreak, the Wuhan institute, working with U.S. partners, had proposed creating viruses with SARS‑CoV‑2’s defining feature.

2. 在疫情暴发的前一年,武汉病毒研究所曾与美国的合作伙伴一起提出了制造具有SARS-CoV-2特征的病毒的建议。

• Dr. Shi’s group was fascinated by how coronaviruses jump from species to species. To find viruses, they took samples from bats and other animals, as well as from sick people living near animals carrying these viruses or associated with the wildlife trade. Much of this work was conducted in partnership with the EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S.-based scientific organization that, since 2002, has been awarded over $80 million in federal funding to research the risks of emerging infectious diseases.

· 石正丽的团队对冠状病毒如何从一个物种跳跃到另一个物种极感兴趣。为了寻找病毒,他们从蝙蝠和其他动物身上采集了样本,也从居住在携带这些病毒的动物附近,或与野生动物贸易有关的病人身上采集了样本。这项工作的大部分是与生态健康联盟合作进行的。生态健康联盟是一家总部设在美国的科学组织,自2002年以来,该组织获得了8000多万美元的联邦资金,用于研究新发传染病的风险。

• The laboratory pursued risky research that resulted in viruses becoming more infectious: Coronaviruses were grown from samples from infected animals and genetically reconstructed and recombined to create new viruses unknown in nature. These new viruses were passed through cells from bats, pigs, primates and humans and were used to infect civets and humanized mice (mice modified with human genes). In essence, this process forced these viruses to adapt to new host species, and the viruses with mutations that allowed them to thrive emerged as victors.

· 该实验室进行了让病毒变得更具传染性的高风险研究:从受感染的动物样本中培养出冠状病毒,经过基因重建和重组创造出自然界中未知的新病毒。然后用这些新病毒来感染实验用的蝙蝠、猪、灵长类动物和人类的细胞,并用其来感染果子狸和人源化小鼠(用人类基因改造过的小鼠)。从本质上说,这一过程迫使这些病毒适应新的宿主物种,发生了有利于生存的突变的病毒,最终脱颖而出。

• By 2019, Dr. Shi’s group had published a database describing more than 22,000 collected wildlife samples. But external access was shut off in the fall of 2019, and the database was not shared with American collaborators even after the pandemic started, when such a rich virus collection would have been most useful in tracking the origin of SARS‑CoV‑2. It remains unclear whether the Wuhan institute possessed a precursor of the pandemic virus.

· 石正丽团队曾在2019年公开过一个数据库,里面有对超过2.2万个采集来的野生动物样本的描述。但到2019年秋季时,该数据库不再对外开放,即使在大流行开始后,也没有与与美国合作者共享过该数据库,而采集来的如此丰富的病毒资源本该对追踪SARS-CoV-2的起源最为有用。目前尚不清楚武汉病毒所是否拥有引发大流行的新冠病毒的前体。

• In 2021, The Intercept published a leaked 2018 grant proposal for a research project named Defuse, which had been written as a collaboration between EcoHealth, the Wuhan institute and Ralph Baric at the University of North Carolina, who had been on the cutting edge of coronavirus research for years. The proposal described plans to create viruses strikingly similar to SARS‑CoV‑2.

· 2021年,“截击”网站公布了一份泄露出来的2018年为一个名叫“化解”(Defuse)的项目提交的资金申请,申请书将研究描述为生态健康联盟、武汉病毒所和北卡罗来纳大学的拉尔夫·巴里克的合作项目,后者多年来一直处于冠状病毒研究的前沿。这份申请书描述了制造与SARS-CoV-2惊人地相似的病毒的方案。

• Coronaviruses bear their name because their surface is studded with protein spikes, like a spiky crown, which they use to enter animal cells. The Defuse project proposed to search for and create SARS-like viruses carrying spikes with a unique feature: a furin cleavage site — the same feature that enhances SARS‑CoV‑2’s infectiousness in humans, making it capable of causing a pandemic. Defuse was never funded by the United States. However, in his testimony on Monday, Dr. Fauci explained that the Wuhan institute would not need to rely on U.S. funding to pursue research independently.

· 冠状病毒之所以得其名,是因为它们的表面布满了刺突蛋白,看上去像是带刺的花冠,冠状病毒用这些刺突侵入动物细胞。“化解”项目提出寻找并制造带有一个独特性质的刺突蛋白——弗林蛋白酶切割位点的SARS相关冠状病毒。该特征增强了SARS‑CoV‑2在人类中的传染性,使其能够引发大流行。“化解”项目从未得到美国的资助。不过,福奇在周一的听证会上解释说,武汉病毒所开展自己独立的研究不需要依靠美国的资助。

• While it’s possible that the furin cleavage site could have evolved naturally (as seen in some distantly related coronaviruses), out of the hundreds of SARS-like viruses cataloged by scientists, SARS‑CoV‑2 is the only one known to possess a furin cleavage site in its spike. And the genetic data suggest that the virus had only recently gained the furin cleavage site before it started the pandemic.

· 虽然弗林蛋白酶切割位点可能是自然演化的结果(正如在一些远缘冠状病毒中看到的那样),但在科学家已登记在案的数百种SARS类冠状病毒中,SARS‑CoV‑2是唯一已知的在刺突中具有弗林蛋白酶切割位点的病毒。其基因数据表明,该病毒在引发大流行前不久才获得了弗林蛋白酶切割位点。

• Ultimately, a never-before-seen SARS-like virus with a newly introduced furin cleavage site, matching the description in the Wuhan institute’s Defuse proposal, caused an outbreak in Wuhan less than two years after the proposal was drafted.

· 从根本上说,一种前所未见的、具有新引进的弗林蛋白酶切割位点的SARS类冠状病毒,也就是与武汉研究所“化解”项目描述的病毒相吻合的病毒,在申请书起草后不到两年的时间里在武汉引发了疫情。

• When the Wuhan scientists published their seminal paper about Covid-19 as the pandemic roared to life in 2020, they did not mention the virus’s furin cleavage site — a feature they should have been on the lookout for, according to their own grant proposal, and a feature quickly recognized by other scientists.

· 在大流行2020年开始肆虐之际,武汉病毒所的科学家们发表了对以后的发展有重大影响的新冠病毒疾病研究论文,但他们没有在论文中提该病毒的弗林蛋白酶切割位点,而根据他们自己写的资金申请,这正是他们本该注意到的一个特征,这个特征很快就被其他科学家认识到了。

• Worse still, as the pandemic raged, their American collaborators failed to publicly reveal the existence of the Defuse proposal. The president of EcoHealth, Peter Daszak, recently admitted to Congress that he doesn’t know about virus samples collected by the Wuhan institute after 2015 and never asked the lab’s scientists if they had started the work described in Defuse. In May, citing failures in EcoHealth’s monitoring of risky experiments conducted at the Wuhan lab, the Biden administration suspended all federal funding for the organization and Dr. Daszak, and initiated proceedings to bar them from receiving future grants. In his testimony on Monday, Dr. Fauci said that he supported the decision to suspend and bar EcoHealth.

· 更糟糕的是,随着大流行的进一步蔓延,武汉科学家的美国合作者们并没有将“化解”计划的存在公开出来。生态健康联盟总裁彼得·达扎克最近向国会承认,他不了解武汉病毒所2015年后采集到的病毒样本也从未问过该实验室的科学家,他们是否已经开始了“化解”项目中所描述的工作。今年5月,拜登政府以生态健康联盟没有对武汉病毒所进行的高风险实验进行监管为由,暂停了联邦政府向该组织和达扎克提供的所有资金,并启动了禁止他们今后获得联邦资金的程序。福奇在周一的听证会上说,他支持暂停和禁止生态健康联盟获得联邦资金的决定。

• Separately, Dr. Baric described the competitive dynamic between his research group and the institute when he told Congress that the Wuhan scientists would probably not have shared their most interesting newly discovered viruses with him. Documents and email correspondence between the institute and Dr. Baric are still being withheld from the public while their release is fiercely contested in litigation.

· 另外,巴里克在国会作证时描述了他的研究小组与武汉病毒所之间的竞争性互动,他告诉国会,该所的科学家们可能不会与他分享他们最有意思的、新发现的病毒。该研究所与巴里克之间的往来文件和电子邮件仍未向公众公开,而公开这些文件和电子邮件往来的诉讼也在激烈进行中。

• In the end, American partners very likely knew of only a fraction of the research done in Wuhan. According to U.S. intelligence sources, some of the institute’s virus research was classified or conducted with or on behalf of the Chinese military. In the congressional hearing on Monday, Dr. Fauci repeatedly acknowledged the lack of visibility into experiments conducted at the Wuhan institute, saying, “None of us can know everything that’s going on in China, or in Wuhan, or what have you. And that’s the reason why — I say today, and I’ve said at the T.I.,” referring to his transcribed interview with the subcommittee, “I keep an open mind as to what the origin is.”

· 到头来,美国的合作伙伴们很可能只了解武汉病毒所的研究的一小部分。据美国情报来源称,该研究所的一些病毒研究是保密的,保密研究或是与中国军方合作、或是受雇于军方进行的。福奇在周一的国会听证会上多次承认,对武汉病毒所的实验缺乏了解,他说:“我们不可能知道在中国、在武汉,或者在其他地方发生的所有事情。这就是为什么——我今天说的,我在TI里也说过,”TI指的是该委员会对他进行的有笔录的问询,“我对病毒起源持开放态度。”

3. The Wuhan lab pursued this type of work under low biosafety conditions that could not have contained an airborne virus as infectious as SARS‑CoV‑2.

3. 武汉病毒所在生物安全等级低的实验室进行了这类工作,不可能控制住由空气传播的、具有像SARS-CoV-2这样的传染性的病毒。

• Labs working with live viruses generally operate at one of four biosafety levels (known in ascending order of stringency as BSL-1, 2, 3 and 4) that describe the work practices that are considered sufficiently safe depending on the characteristics of each pathogen. The Wuhan institute’s scientists worked with SARS-like viruses under inappropriately low biosafety conditions.

· 跟活病毒打交道的实验室通常分为四个生物安全等级(安全性从低到高分为生物安全1级、2级、3级和4级),这些安全等级根据每种病原体的特性,描述了被认为是足够安全的实验操作。武汉病毒所的科学家们在不合适的低生物安全等级下进行了SARS类病毒研究。

• In one experiment, Dr. Shi’s group genetically engineered an unexpectedly deadly SARS-like virus (not closely related to SARS‑CoV‑2) that exhibited a 10,000-fold increase in the quantity of virus in the lungs and brains of humanized mice. Wuhan institute scientists handled these live viruses at low biosafety levels, including BSL-2.

· 石正丽团队在一项实验中,用基因工程技术改造出一种出人意料的致命SARS类病毒(该病毒与SARS-CoV-2没有密切关系),这种病毒在人源化小鼠的肺和大脑中展现出的数量是改造前的1万倍。武汉病毒所的科学家在生物安全等级低、包括生物安全2级的实验室里用这些活病毒做实验。

• Even the much more stringent containment at BSL-3 cannot fully prevent SARS‑CoV‑2 from escaping. Two years into the pandemic, the virus infected a scientist in a BSL-3 laboratory in Taiwan, which was, at the time, a zero-Covid country. The scientist had been vaccinated and was tested only after losing the sense of smell. By then, more than 100 close contacts had been exposed. Human error is a source of exposure even at the highest biosafety levels, and the risks are much greater for scientists working with infectious pathogens at low biosafety.

· 即使在生物安全3级的更严格条件下,也无法完全阻止SARS-CoV-2病毒的逃逸。大流行进入第二年时,该病毒感染了一名在台湾一个生物安全3级的实验室工作的研究助理,那之前,台湾还没有出现过一例新冠病毒感染病例。该研究助理已经完成了当时所有的疫苗接种,她在失去嗅觉后才做了病毒检测,做检测之前已与100多人有过密切接触。即使在生物安全等级最高的实验室,也有人为错误导致接触病源体的可能性,对在生物安全等级低的实验室进行传染性病原体研究的科学家来说,风险要大得多。

• An early draft of the Defuse proposal stated that the Wuhan lab would do their virus work at BSL-2 to make it “highly cost-effective.” Dr. Baric added a note to the draft highlighting the importance of using BSL-3 to contain SARS-like viruses that could infect human cells, writing that “U.S. researchers will likely freak out.” Years later, after SARS‑CoV‑2 had killed millions, Dr. Baric wrote to Dr. Daszak: “I have no doubt that they followed state determined rules and did the work under BSL-2. Yes China has the right to set their own policy. You believe this was appropriate containment if you want but don’t expect me to believe it. Moreover, don’t insult my intelligence by trying to feed me this load of BS.”

• “化解”项目资金申请的一份早期草稿中写道,武汉病毒所将在生物安全2级实验室开展病毒工作,这使其“极具成本效益”。巴里克在草稿中加了一条批注,强调了对防止可能感染人类细胞的SARS类病毒来说使用生物安全3级实验室的重要性,他写道“美国研究人员可能会很害怕”。几年后,在SARS-CoV-2导致了数百万人死亡后,巴里克在写给达扎克的信中说:“我毫不怀疑他们遵循了国家制定的规则,在生物安全2级实验室里开展了工作。是,中国有权制定自己的政策。如果你愿意,你可以相信这是适当的防范措施,但不要指望我也相信。此外,不要试图用这些废话来侮辱我的智商。”

• SARS‑CoV‑2 is a stealthy virus that transmits effectively through the air, causes a range of symptoms similar to those of other common respiratory diseases and can be spread by infected people before symptoms even appear. If the virus had escaped from a BSL-2 laboratory in 2019, the leak most likely would have gone undetected until too late.

• SARS-CoV-2是一种诡秘的病毒,能通过空气高效传播,引发一系列与其他常见呼吸道疾病相似的症状,并让感染者在症状出现之前感染别人。如果该病毒是2019年从一个生物安全2级实验室泄漏出来的话,这次泄漏很有可能不会被发现,直到为时已晚。

• One alarming detail — leaked to The Wall Street Journal and confirmed by current and former U.S. government officials — is that scientists on Dr. Shi’s team fell ill with Covid-like symptoms in the fall of 2019. One of the scientists had been named in the Defuse proposal as the person in charge of virus discovery work. The scientists denied having been sick.

• 一个骇人的细节是,石正丽团队的科学家在2019年秋季就出现了类似新冠病毒疾病的症状,这个泄露给《华尔街日报》的细节已得到现任和前任美国政府官员的证实。其中一名科学家的名字在“化解”项目资金申请中是作为病毒工作负责人出现的。该细节中的科学家否认他们曾患病。

4. The hypothesis that Covid-19 came from an animal at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan is not supported by strong evidence.

4. 新冠病毒来自武汉华南海鲜市场某个动物的假说没有强有力的证据支持。

• In December 2019, Chinese investigators assumed the outbreak had started at a centrally located market frequented by thousands of visitors daily. This bias in their search for early cases meant that cases unlinked to or located far away from the market would very likely have been missed. To make things worse, the Chinese authorities blocked the reporting of early cases not linked to the market and, claiming biosafety precautions, ordered the destruction of patient samples on January 3, 2020, making it nearly impossible to see the complete picture of the earliest Covid-19 cases. Information about dozens of early cases from November and December 2019 remains inaccessible.

• 中国调查人员2019年12月作出的假设是,新冠病毒暴发在一个位于闹市区的市场,每天有成千上万的人到那里买东西。他们寻找早期病例时带有这种认识上的偏见,这意味着与市场无关或远离市场的病例很可能被遗漏了。让事情变得更糟的是,中国当局封锁了与该市场无关的早期病例的报道,并以生物安全预防措施为由,在2020年1月3日下令销毁了来自早期患者的样本,这让了解新冠病毒疾病最早期病例的完整情况变得几乎不可能。外界仍无法获得有关2019年11月和12月的几十例早期病例的信息。

• A pair of papers published in Science in 2022 made the best case for SARS‑CoV‑2 having emerged naturally from human-animal contact at the Wuhan market by focusing on a map of the early cases and asserting that the virus had jumped from animals into humans twice at the market in 2019. More recently, the two papers have been countered by other virologists and scientists who convincingly demonstrate that the available market evidence does not distinguish between a human superspreader event and a natural spillover at the market.

• 两篇2022年发表在《科学》杂志上的论文为SARS-CoV-2是从武汉海鲜市场里人与动物的接触中自然出现的提供了最有力的论据支持,这两篇论文的重点是早期病例分布图,并断言新冠病毒在2019年两次在海鲜市场从动物跳跃到人类身上。最近,这两篇论文已遭到了其他病毒学家科学家的反驳,反驳者令人信服地证明现有的市场证据不能区分市场发生的人类超级传播者事件与自然溢出事件。

• Furthermore, the existing genetic and early case data show that all known Covid-19 cases probably stem from a single introduction of SARS‑CoV‑2 into people, and the outbreak at the Wuhan market probably happened after the virus had already been circulating in humans.

• 此外,现有的基因早期病例数据显示,所有已知的新冠病毒感染病例都可能源于一次SARS-CoV-2向人类的跳跃,武汉那家市场的疫情可能是在病毒已在人类当中传播之后发生的。

• Not a single infected animal has ever been confirmed at the market or in its supply chain. Without good evidence that the pandemic started at the Huanan Seafood Market, the fact that the virus emerged in Wuhan points squarely at its unique SARS-like virus laboratory.

• 没有一只得到过证实的在市场或其供应链中被感染的动物。没有确凿的证据表明大流行始于华南海鲜市场,这个事实将病毒在武汉出现的矛头径直指向其独有的研究SARS类病毒的实验室。

5. Key evidence that would be expected if the virus had emerged from the wildlife trade is still missing.

5. 如果说病毒来自野生动物贸易的话,关键的证据仍然缺失。

• Despite the intense search trained on the animal trade and people linked to the market, investigators have not reported finding any animals infected with SARS‑CoV‑2 that had not been infected by humans. Yet, infected animal sources and other connective pieces of evidence were found for the earlier SARS and MERS outbreaks as quickly as within a few days, despite the less advanced viral forensic technologies of two decades ago. 

• 尽管对从事动物贸易和与市场有关的人员进行了深入调查,但调查人员并未报告发现有动物被人类之外的途径传染了SARS-CoV-2病毒。然而,尽管20年前的病毒鉴定技术不如现在的先进,但在以前SARS和MERS疫情暴发的几天内,调查人员就找到了受感染动物源以及与其相关的证据。

• Even though Wuhan is the home base of virus hunters with world-leading expertise in tracking novel SARS-like viruses, investigators have either failed to collect or report key evidence that would be expected if Covid-19 emerged from the wildlife trade. For example, investigators have not determined that the earliest known cases had exposure to intermediate host animals before falling ill. No antibody evidence shows that animal traders in Wuhan are regularly exposed to SARS-like viruses, as would be expected in such situations.

• 尽管武汉是拥有追踪新型SARS类病毒方面世界领先专业知识的病毒猎寻者的基地,但调查人员一直没有收集到或没有报告过预计存在的关键证据——如果新冠病毒源自野生动物贸易的话。例如,调查人员一直没有确定最早的已知患者是否在患病前接触过中间宿主动物。没有抗体证据表明,武汉从事动物贩卖的人与SARS类病毒有经常性的接触,如果病毒源于动物的话,这会是预料之中的情况。

• With today’s technology, scientists can detect how respiratory viruses — including SARS, MERS and the flu — circulate in animals while making repeated attempts to jump across species. Thankfully, these variants usually fail to transmit well after crossing over to a new species and tend to die off after a small number of infections. In contrast, virologists and other scientists agree that SARS‑CoV‑2 required little to no adaptation to spread rapidly in humans and other animals. The virus appears to have succeeded in causing a pandemic upon its only detected jump into humans. 

• 科学家们能用当今的技术检测到呼吸道病毒(包括 SARS、MERS,以及流感)在动物中的传播,以及在传播过程中不断进行的跨越物种尝试。值得庆幸的是,这些病毒变异体在跨越到一个新物种之后通常传播效果不佳,往往会在感染了少数宿主之后逐渐消失。相比之下,病毒学家和其他科学家一致认为,SARS-CoV-2几乎不需要任何适应就能在人类和其他动物中迅速传播。这个病毒似乎在其唯一一次被检测出跳跃到人类传播后,就成功地引发了大流行。

The pandemic could have been caused by any of hundreds of virus species, at any of tens of thousands of wildlife markets, in any of thousands of cities, and in any year. But it was a SARS-like coronavirus with a unique furin cleavage site that emerged in Wuhan, less than two years after scientists, sometimes working under inadequate biosafety conditions, proposed collecting and creating viruses of that same design. 

大流行可能会由数百种病毒中的任何一种引发,可能会在以万为计的野生动物市场中的任何一个、在以千为计的城市中的任何一个发生,也可能在任何一年发生。但引发这次大流行的是一种在武汉出现的具有独特弗林蛋白酶切割位点的SARS类冠状病毒,而且是在科学家们提出收集和制造有相同设计的病毒,有时是在生物安全条件不充分的情况下工作,不到两年后出现的。

While several natural spillover scenarios remain plausible, and we still don’t know enough about the full extent of virus research conducted at the Wuhan institute by Dr. Shi’s team and other researchers, a laboratory accident is the most parsimonious explanation of how the pandemic began.

虽然几种自然溢出的可能性仍然存在,而且我们仍对石正丽团队和其他研究人员在武汉病毒所进行的病毒研究缺乏足够的了解,但实验室事故是这场大流行如何开始的最容易得出的解释。

Given what we now know, investigators should follow their strongest leads and subpoena all exchanges between the Wuhan scientists and their international partners, including unpublished research proposals, manuscripts, data and commercial orders. In particular, exchanges from 2018 and 2019 — the critical two years before the emergence of Covid-19 — are very likely to be illuminating (and require no cooperation from the Chinese government to acquire), yet they remain beyond the public’s view more than four years after the pandemic began.

据我们现在所知道的情况,调查人员应该顺着最有力的线索,用法庭传唤来获得所有武汉病毒所的科学家与国际合作伙伴之间的交流,包括未发表的研究提案、手稿、数据和商业订单。特别是2018年和2019年(即新冠病毒疾病出现前的关键两年)的交流,很可能具有启发性(而且不需要得到中国政府的配合就能获得),但在大流行开始已经四年多后,公众仍没有看到这些交流。

Whether the pandemic started on a lab bench or in a market stall, it is undeniable that U.S. federal funding helped to build an unprecedented collection of SARS-like viruses at the Wuhan institute, as well as contributing to research that enhanced them. Advocates and funders of the institute’s research, including Dr. Fauci, should cooperate with the investigation to help identify and close the loopholes that allowed such dangerous work to occur. The world must not continue to bear the intolerable risks of research with the potential to cause pandemics.

无论大流行始于实验室工作台还是市场摊位,不可否认的是,美国联邦资金帮助武汉病毒所建立了前所未有的SARS类病毒收藏,并支持了增强这些病毒性能的研究工作。倡导和为武汉病毒所提供过资金的人,包括福奇在内,应该配合调查,帮助找到并弥补让这类危险工作成为可能的漏洞。世界绝不能继续承担可能引发大流行的研究工作所带来的无法容忍的风险。

A successful investigation of the pandemic’s root cause would have the power to break a decades-long scientific impasse on pathogen research safety, determining how governments will spend billions of dollars to prevent future pandemics. A credible investigation would also deter future acts of negligence and deceit by demonstrating that it is indeed possible to be held accountable for causing a viral pandemic. Last but not least, people of all nations need to see their leaders — and especially, their scientists — heading the charge to find out what caused this world-shaking event. Restoring public trust in science and government leadership requires it.

对大流行根源的成功调查将有能力打破数十年来科学界在病原体研究安全方面的僵局,让各国政府能确定如何花数十亿美元来预防未来的大流行。可信的调查还将通过证明确实有可能追究造成病毒大流行者的责任,来阻止未来的疏忽和欺骗行为。最后但同样最重要的是,各国人民都需要看到他们的领导人——尤其是他们的科学家——带头找出引发这场震惊世界事件的原因。这样做才能恢复公众对科学和政府领导力的信任。

A thorough investigation by the U.S. government could unearth more evidence while spurring whistleblowers to find their courage and seek their moment of opportunity. It would also show the world that U.S. leaders and scientists are not afraid of what the truth behind the pandemic may be.

美国政府进行的彻底调查可能会发现更多的证据,同时激励举报人鼓起勇气,寻找机会。这也会向世界表明,美国领导人和科学家们并不惧怕大流行背后的真相。

Alina Chan(@ayjchan)是麻省理工学院和哈佛大学布罗德研究所的分子生物学家,也是《病毒:寻找新冠病毒的起源》(Viral:The Search For the Origin of Covid-19)一书的合著者。她是病原体项目(Pathogens Project)的成员,该项目由《原子科学家公报》(Atomic Scientists)组织,旨在为责任重大的高风险病原体研究提供新思路。

翻译:纽约时报中文网

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