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Some scientists have started speaking out regarding efforts to silence researchers who raised concerns about whether COVID-19 could have originated in a Chinese lab.

“It shot from every direction from people who we now know were actually thinking exactly the same thing but have chosen to say the opposite, which is extraordinary,” Australian Dr. Nikolai Petrovsky, a Flinders University Medicine professor, explained, according to Fox News, he received backlash for voicing concerns that the pandemic may have created in a lab.

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Petrovsky was not alone, according to reporting from Fox News’ Benjamin Hall, who spoke with scientists from Israel, the U.S., Australia, Germany, the U.K., Australia, and Germany. The scientists told Fox News that they got backlash and resistance to getting their work published, even from those who peacefully believed in the possibility of the “lab-leak theory.”

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“It’s taken two years for that to finally come out and be exposed,” Petrovsky announced.

The scientists say that there was a top-down effort aimed at protecting the scientific community from negative public attention, with fears spreading among scientists that a public realization that the pandemic may have spread due to gain-of-function research in a lab could hamper forthcoming experiments.

Lord Matt Ridley, author of the book “Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19,” said, according to Fox News, that funding was also a motive for silence. “Senior scientists were quietly saying to me, ‘We think you’re right that it does need to be taken seriously, but we don’t say so because the funding agencies might give us a hard time.'”

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The lab leak theory has now become mainstream, yet for a long time, most outspoken

scientists denied it, including those at the very top. German physicist Roland Wiesendanger called this move a betrayal of science.

“If famous and top virologists are not sticking to the truth anymore, then we have no basis in science anymore to make progress,” Wiesendanger announced, according to Fox News.

Many in the scientific community who tried to speak out regarding COVID-19’s origins were labeled conspiracy theorists in the media and by fellow scientists early on in the pandemic, even though the case of human error has now acquired renewed

attention from experts.