COVID-19 origins revisited, with Deborah Seligsohn


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Shortly after Deborah Seligsohn was last on Sinica, in April, the lab leak hypothesis seemed suddenly to gain traction — at least in American media. This week, Kaiser invites Deborah back to the show to talk about why the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a notion long regarded by virologists as less probable than zoonotic transmission, has burst back into the conversation. Deborah served as the State Department’s Environment, Science, Technology and Health Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing from 2003 to 2007. She is an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University in Philadelphia. 

3:00: The persistence of the lab leak theory

11:40: Navigating the political and institutional landscape within China 

25:36: A view from Beijing’s perspective

31:02: Eliciting cooperation from Beijing, and what should our priorities be


Deborah: The podcast This Week in Virology, particularly episodes 760 and 762, which touch on the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kaiser: Richard L. Watkins, a candidate running for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina.