In a book, the German professor Günter Theißen describes his struggle to also scientifically examine the laboratory thesis on the corona pandemic. From his point of view, the debate bears “ideological, almost pseudo-religious traits”. This does not serve the search for truth. Here you can read an excerpt from his book “The Virus: In Search of the Origin of Covid-19”.

Just imagine: in a wooded area somewhere in Germany, walkers find six corpses with obvious wounds. The police rush in. The chief detective, an experienced investigator, surveys the site. Without considering and examining what exactly could have happened, he is certain: the six people died of natural causes. One of his colleagues, himself an experienced police officer, asks, puzzled: “Are you really sure?

After all, the find is very unusual. Six dead at once and in the middle of the forest. How are they supposed to have died at the same time? I don’t see any traces of a lightning strike or anything like that. Shouldn’t we have the bodies autopsied to find out how the wounds were caused, whether by human hands or animal bites? Shouldn’t we consider multiple homicides as well as natural causes? Above all: Shouldn’t we first carry out thorough investigations before we come to any definitive statements here?”

Günter Theißen, born in 1962, studied biology in Düsseldorf, where he wrote a diploma thesis on viroids in 1987 and received his doctorate in 1991 on gene regulation in bacteria. From 1992-2001 Theißen worked as a group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne and in 2001 as a professor of botany at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster. Since 2002 he has held the chair for genetics at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. Theißen also writes for Die Zeit and Die Weltwoche, among others.

But the investigator brushes him off, referring to his profound knowledge and his many years of experience – he just doesn’t provide concrete arguments for his assessment. One look at the lifeless bodies is enough for him, he claims. “A crime can be categorically ruled out. And what’s more”, the commissioner continues: “People just die, that happens again and again. Sometimes even six at once.” As improbable as the coincidence may seem, you don’t have to think of a crime right away, he concludes, patting his doubting colleague on the shoulder in a fatherly manner. “In any case, there is obviously no case here and nothing to investigate,” says the commissioner, leaving the place and looking forward to an unexpectedly early end of the day. His assistant is left behind, frustrated.

The virus: In search of the origin of Covid-19

You think I’ve never heard of such a nonsensical thriller? No investigations, no suspicion – which investigator does such a lousy job, isn’t that a refusal to work? This whole tale is made up out of thin air and completely unrealistic! You’re right, of course, it’s hard to imagine that an experienced investigator would prematurely dismiss such a dubious corpse discovery as a natural event. On the contrary, the circumstances would arouse all his ambition to set about investigating the case at full speed. Because who knows how many more terrible acts a possible murderer will commit?

So my portrayal is not a thriller, but the story of a scandal. It is that the Commissioner is unwilling to stubbornly investigate the circumstances of this strange event. One would even have to ask oneself: does the Commissioner perhaps have an interest in not pursuing the matter any further?

Now imagine, it’s not six, but six million dead. This is how many lives has by the beginning of May 2022 COVID-19 – COVID stands for Corona Virus Disease, in German: Coronavirus disease, which cost 19 for the year of the outbreak 2019 – according to official figures. There may even be three times as many. And the circumstances under which this deadly pandemic began are no less dubious than the fictional multiple bodies found in the woods.

“International experts” in the field made a judgment on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease, right from the start, without having the necessary information available. It read: The outbreak was a natural process in which the pathogen – starting from an animal – infected humans, which is referred to as natural zoonosis. Everything that makes the appearance of this plague seem dubious should therefore be pure coincidence. This includes the striking proximity of the internationally most important and largest laboratories that research corona viruses to the outbreak site in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

But the experts went even further: Anyone who does not follow their judgment that COVID-19 is due to a natural zoonosis is a conspiracy theorist. The reputation and influence of these experts as well as the political framework meant that no systematic investigations into the origin of SARS-CoV-2 were carried out. And most of the media readily believed that the virus was a natural disaster.

Six million dead instead of six – and yet there were no serious investigations. An incredible scandal. But unlike the mysterious six dead in the forest, unfortunately one that has become reality.

All considerations that brought into play a non-natural release of SARS-CoV-2, especially those that assumed involvement of a research institute in Wuhan, received the stamp “laboratory thesis”. It was accepted that “theses” in science do not have a particularly high reputation. (…) Therefore I prefer the term “laboratory hypothesis” for what is to be discussed here below.

However, I would like to emphasize that, contrary to what has been publicly stated in numerous articles in newspapers and magazines, there is not just one single laboratory hypothesis. Rather, there are a variety of variants that consider the release of a virus in the laboratory or research environment as a possibility, up to the deliberate release of a pathogen, for whatever reason. It does not necessarily have to be a specifically genetically modified virus, as is often wrongly assumed. The transitions between the individual hypotheses are rather fluid: A natural virus could have been released in the laboratory or outside of it, which led to infections among researchers and outsiders.

As I shall show, history abounds with examples of such accidents. In public perception, however, a kind of dualism has emerged with regard to the question of the origin of SARS-CoV-2: nature or laboratory. white or black. Good origin, bad origin. The debate has ideological, almost pseudo-religious traits, in which two camps are irreconcilably opposed – with fatal political consequences. Because such friend-or-foe thinking is not conducive to the search for truth.

Most coronavirus experts tell us to please believe in good natural origin and not in a nasty lab accident. But who actually allowed them to claim or even lease the truth? Because to date they have not presented any clear evidence that SARS-CoV-2 actually led to COVID-19 through a natural zoonosis. A laboratory accident still seems possible, and given the evidence available, even plausible to many.

This is exactly what my book is about: Instead of blindly following experts, it advocates seeking the truth without prejudice and based on facts, and shows how to go about it. Even if that’s not always easy, because even scientific truth is a damn tricky concept. But there is definitely only a chance of finding the truth if there is an open scientific discussion that takes all the evidence into account – and with the participation of everyone who can and wants to make a contribution.

In the long term, scientists in particular can usually agree on a common view. But getting there sometimes takes decades of trial and error. For this reason, novel, previously unexplained phenomena are discussed intensively and often controversially in science and examined from different points of view. Usually, various hypotheses are put forward, which are thoroughly tested and ultimately confirmed or rejected. Open discussions and a tolerant climate of freedom of expression are crucial here.

The suppression of the same by experts who have hastily agreed on a canonical doctrine by consensus is poison for an efficient truth-finding process. Of course, not all hypotheses need to be treated as equal – there are in fact countless crazy conspiracy tales that would be a waste of time for a scientist to delve into. So I will try to show what the difference is between a conspiracy theory and a valid scientific hypothesis, even if there is no crystal clear and universal criteria for this.

In order for the scientific debate to work, those involved must adhere to certain rules that have been tried and tested for decades. This includes recognizing alternative hypotheses as permissible as long as they are not refuted by facts. And this also means that something can only be assumed to be certain if there is an unequivocal empirical basis that cannot be interpreted in any other way.

But these important rules of the game were broken right at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nor have the rule-breakers been afraid to go a step further and vilify some of those who were breaking the rules. As a result, key protagonists, including, unfortunately, some leading and well-known coronavirus researchers, have placed themselves on the scientific side.

You may be wondering how I got involved in the laboratory hypothesis debate in the first place? To put it simply: out of irritation. As a biologist and obsessive consumer of news programs, in the first few weeks after the outbreak of the pandemic, I was amazed to learn what was known about it so damn quickly. Not just which pathogen it is, but more importantly that COVID-19 is a natural zoonosis and the pathogen is said to have jumped from an animal at a certain market in the Chinese city of Wuhan to humans.

(…) My curiosity led me to come across more and more discrepancies and strange coincidences, which gave me no peace. I wondered why renowned scientists weren’t playing by the rules of the scientific game – and identified serious potential conflicts of interest. This did not mean that I became an advocate of the laboratory hypothesis, but from the beginning I advocated open and unbiased exploration of all hypotheses that have not been disproved. Because the truth has to come out in the end, whatever it may be.


In order to make this understandable for the public, I have decided to report on my personal journey through the pandemic. How and why I had my first doubts and realized that renowned virologists are apparently trying to deceive the public about what is really known about the origin of the disease. Because they were the ones who initially denied all considerations of a possible laboratory accident. As it turned out later, false ambition, vanity and personal interests also seem to have played a major role.

In this book I will show what glaring weaknesses are inherent in the arguments of the proponents of a natural phenomenon, yet the power and influence of this group have been able to nip a scientific debate in the bud. Worse, they also managed to convince large sections of the media and politicians of their hasty judgment, giving the impression that anything beyond their claim was unscientific. And I share how I finally decided to publicly advocate honest and unbiased debate myself. But it was a battle against windmills at times, and success was never assured.

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