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Episode 219
Featuring Matt Ridley & Alina Chan
Demetri Kofinas speaks with Matt Ridley and Alina Chan about the mysterious emergence of Covid-19 and the evidence that increasingly points towards the Wuhan Institute of Virology as the most plausible source of the outbreak.

In Episode 219 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Matt Ridley and Alina Chan. Alina is a Canadian molecular biologist specializing in gene therapy and cell engineering at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Matt is a British science journalist who has written countless bestselling books on subjects ranging from evolution to innovation, to genomic science.

They are the co-authors of an electrifying new book titled “Viral” that grapples with the mystery of how Covid-19, a virus whose closest known relatives live in bats residing in subtropical southern China, somehow managed to begin spreading among people more than 1,500 kilometers away in the city of Wuhan, while leaving none of the expected traces that such outbreaks usually create. Instead, nearly two years into this pandemic we’re presented with a trail of evidence that increasingly points towards the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the so-called “Lab Leak Hypothesis” as the most plausible source of the outbreak.

This is a critically important conversation to be having and Matt and Alina have made an invaluable contribution to it by working tirelessly and at great risk to themselves and to their careers in order to bring clarity to many of the facts and much of the evidence in support of the lab leak hypothesis—a theory that was consistently attacked and discredited by various actors, both wittingly and unwittingly, in the earliest days of the pandemic.

We normally release the second half of our episodes for our subscribers only, but because of how important this conversation is and because of how much Matt and Alina have sacrificed in order to educate us all on the origins of Covid-19, we thought it was only right to do as much as we can to share as much of their work as possible.

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You can access the second part of this episode, as well as the transcript and rundown to this week’s conversation through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers gain access to our premium feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application.

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Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

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Follow Demetri on Twitter at @Kofinas

Episode Recorded on 11/09/2021

Alina Chan is a co-author of the book, VIRAL: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19, and a researcher with a background in medical genetics, synthetic biology, and vector engineering. At the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, Dr. Chan is currently creating next-generation vectors for human gene therapy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Chan began to investigate problems relevant to finding the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and in parallel spearheaded the development of the COVID-19 CoV Genetics (covidcg.org) browser for scientists worldwide to rapidly track virus lineages and mutations by locations and date ranges of interest.

Matt Ridley is the co-author, with Alina Chan, of the upcoming book Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19, available November 16th. He is also the author of The Red Queen, Genome, The Rational Optimist, How Innovation Works, and other books related to science and human progress, which combined have sold over a million copies. He is also a biologist, newspaper columnist, and a member of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom.

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