The Political Manipulation by the US Hinders the Science-based Research on COVID Origins

Tehran ( – March 11, 2023 marks three years since COVID-19 was officially deemed worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Although the WHO has not yet announced the end of the pandemic, most countries have resumed normal social and economic activities due to the decline in the pathogenicity of the mutated strain and the steady rise in the  vaccination capacity. Starting from January 8, 2023, China, as the most populous country in the world, has also officially issued steps to treat COVID-19 as a Class-B instead of Class-A infectious disease, which has further released the vitality of China’s economy and society, and enhanced the confidence of the international community in China’s development.

Over the past three years, from emergency response to sudden outbreaks, exploratory practices of normalized prevention and control,  to integrated prevention and control, China has always put the people and their lives above all else. We have effectively responded to five global COVID waves and avoided widespread infections with the original strain and the Delta variant, which are relatively more pathogenic and deadly than the other variants. More than 200 million patients were treated timely and effectively, including nearly 800,000 patients in a serious condition. We have greatly reduced the number of severe cases and deaths, and bought precious time for the research, development and application of vaccines and therapeutics, and for getting medical supplies and other resources ready. During the epidemic, China has had the lowest rates of infection and mortality. Despite the pandemic, average life expectancy in China went up from 77.3 to 78.2 years. China has created a miracle of a populous country in the history of human civilization to successfully walk out of the pandemic.

Over the past three years, China has effectively coordinated COVID response with economic and social development, and refined the response policy in light of the evolving situation. China timely stepped up macro regulation, effectively handled the impact of factors beyond expectation and were able to stabilize the overall performance of macroeconomy. In 2020, China became the first major economy in the world to register positive economic growth . In 2021, China’s economic scale  exceeded 110 trillion yuan, with an average growth rate of 5.1% in two years. In 2022, Chinese economy has withstood the pressure and demonstrated a momentum of steady progress. Many international investment institutions have also raised their forecast for China’s economic growth in 2023. China’s economy still works as stabilizer and propeller in the global economic recovery and contributes to world economic growth.

Over the past three years, despite the huge pressure from domestic epidemic control ,China has firmly advanced international cooperation in fighting COVID-19. It has provided over 2.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to over 120 countries and international organizations. It has also sent large amounts of pandemic control supplies to over 153 countries and 15 international organizations including Iran and dispatched medical expert teams to 34 countries including Iran. Since COVID-19 hit, China has been open and transparent in timely sharing pandemic-related information and has twice received WHO experts to work together on origins-tracing, which led to a science-based, authoritative joint report and laid a solid foundation for global origins-tracing. China recommended experts to join the the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins on Novel Pathogens (SAGO), and organized events for Chinese experts to share research findings with the WHO Secretariat and SAGO. China has helped the international community to fight the epidemic and made important contributions to the global epidemic prevention and control and origin studies.

For some time now, the US has been politicizing, weaponizing and instrumentalizing COVID origins-tracing. It has let a matter of science be dominated by lawmakers and the intelligence community and spread myths such as the “lab leak” theory without any evidence to discredit and attack China. This has seriously poisoned the atmosphere for science-based global origins-tracing. The political manipulation by the US is the main stumbling block to the science-based research on COVID origins. The US has been pointing fingers at WHO’s origins-tracing process, politically punishing scientists with conscience and attacking countries with lies that make no scientific sense. The US has done nothing responsible on origins-tracing. It has never invited WHO expert groups to the US for joint research or shared any early data on COVID origins. At the same time, the resigned COVID policy of the US government has made light of the epidemic and veered from science, which not only lead to a major outbreak that has taken its toll on American lives and people’s health, dragged the economy into a recession, but also undermined the efforts of the international community to fight the epidemic in a united and scientific manner. The US, a country with the best medical technologies and resources, has the largest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths. The US has about 18% of all global cases, millions of Americans lost their life due to the COVID-19, although it has just 4% of the world’s population. During the pandemic, the economic and labor market could not operate at full capacity, many industries were shut down and the unemployment rate soared. The economic situation of low-income Americans further deteriorated, and the gap between the rich and the poor widened further. At a time when all countries are united to fight the epidemic, the US has endorsed lies and rumors to malign and discredit China, intending to stoke division and confrontation. In the meantime, it refused to disclose to the international community the activities of bio-labs set up around the world, such as bio-labs at Fort Detrick  and the University of North Carolina. The double standard behavior and political manipulation intentions are clearly revealed and obvious. The ugly words and deeds of the US are hard to get wide support and will only end in failure.

China’s position on the origins-tracing is consistent. We have supported and participated in global science-based origins-tracing since day one. In the meantime, we have been firmly opposed to all forms of political manipulation on this issue. Politicizing origins-tracing would only hamper science-based cooperation on the issue, disrupt solidarity against the virus, and undermine global health governance mechanisms.  The US should immediately stop political manipulation on this issue, respond to the world’s legitimate concerns, voluntarily share the data of suspected early cases in the US with the WHO, disclose information about its bio-labs at Fort Detrick and around the world, and give the rest of the world the truth it deserves.The COVID-19 pandemic is a test of the governance systems and capabilities of various countries, and it has also exposed many shortcomings and loopholes in the global public health governance system. The international community should work together to contribute to the realization of global public health security. In the era of globalization, such a major emergency will not be the last one. The international community must establish a sense of a human community with a shared future, abandon political manipulation and interference, work together to deal with risks and challenges, and build a better home on earth!

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