The international community is worried that China is motivated to conceal the true origin of COVID‑19. Yet revelations from Fox News’ Steve Hilton on the weekend indicate China may not be the only government tainted with this motivation.
Many experts around the world believe that COVID-19 was not a naturally-occurring virus that naturally jumped across to humans. Rather, it is more likely that it was accidentally released from a Wuhan Institute of Virology laboratory and that it was the result of virus “gain of function” research.
Gain of Function (GoF) is a research method that aims to accumulate mutations in controlled laboratory conditions so that a virus gains functions—such as increased transmissibility or virulence.
This method has been controversial for a long time. The apparent benefit of the research is to predict the ways in which various viruses might naturally gain function if they are ever released and hence anticipate their spread and treatment needs.
That’s the potential benefit. The potential danger of the research, however, is that there could be a biosecurity incident in which the modified virus is released, and consequently the researchers unintentionally cause the very pandemic they were hoping to plan for. The New York Times reported in 2017:
Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist who directs the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard School of Public Health, called review panels “a small step forward.”
Recent disease-enhancing experiments, he said, “have given us some modest scientific knowledge and done almost nothing to improve our preparedness for pandemics, and yet risked creating an accidental pandemic.”
The article also raised another issue—that the dangerous knowledge and material should not end up in the wrong hands:
Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said he believed some laboratories could do such work safely, but wanted restrictions on what they could publish.
“If someone finds a way to make the Ebola virus more dangerous, I don’t believe that should be available to anybody off the street who could use it for nefarious purposes,” he said.
“Physicists long ago learned to distinguish between what can be publicly available and what’s classified,” he added, referring to nuclear weapons research. “We want to keep some of this stuff on a need-to-know basis.”
In light of these risks, and in response to a petition signed by 300 scientists, the Obama administration banned this research in 2014. That ban was lifted by the Trump administration in 2017 when the above-quoted article was written.
Here we come to the revelations from Steve Hilton on the weekend. GoF research has had a vocal supporter over the years: Dr Anthony Fauci, a key participant and spokesperson for the Coronavirus task force and now chief medical adviser to President Biden.
According to Hilton, shortly before the 2014 ban came into effect, Fauci commissioned research into coronavirus. After the ban, he continued the research by subcontracting the non-government EcoHealth Alliance run by zoologist Peter Daszak, to the value of $3m over six years. In turn, EcoHealth Alliance contracted the GoF part of the research to… the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The researchers at Wuhan collected coronaviruses from bat feces and combined them to create new ones, infected human cells in the laboratory, and demonstrating that their viruses were able to replicate in the human ACE2-expressing cells, which is how the virus that causes COVID-19 replicates and hence infects humans.
So it is clear that, firstly: The Wuhan Institute of Virology was doing exactly the sort of research that created coronaviruses that were virulent and could infect humans. But secondly: at least some of this work was receiving funding from the USA government via Anthony Fauci’s National Institute and Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance.
Think about the potential harm that such research can cause if man-made viruses are released—whether deliberately or accidentally. Surely funding this research in China while it is banned in your own country is as reckless as funding nuclear research in North Korea?
On January 21, Dr Fauci, who found the last year very challenging because he would get pushback from the President who also had the audacity to seek second opinions, was pleased to announce that USA had re-joined the World Health Organisation, will again bear the lion’s share of the funding, sycophantically praise his dear friend Dr Tedros, and promote abortions throughout the world.
He also said that the USA is “committed to transparency, including those events surrounding the early days of the pandemic. It is imperative that we learn and build upon important lessons about how future pandemic events can be averted. The international investigation should be robust and clear, and we look forward to evaluating it.”
He was referring to the WHO investigation into the source of the outbreak currently underway. The WHO assembled a team of ten international experts to travel to Wuhan, including… Peter Daszak.
Daszak, who seemingly spends a large amount of his time tweeting evidence of his extreme partisanship, told the Associated Press that it’s possible a wildlife poacher might have passed the virus to traders who carried it to Wuhan.
If, however, it turns out that the virus was released from the Wuhan laboratory, China will be embarrassed by failing to prevent its release. Yet Anthony Fauci and Peter Daszak’s own organisations would also be embarrassed, having funded its manufacture. Conflict of interest, no?