November 5, 2020, U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), an investigative public health nonprofit group, filed a lawsuit1 against the National Institutes of Health after the agency failed to respond to its July 10, 2020, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The USRTK’s lawsuit sought access to nonexempt records of gain-of-function experiments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the EcoHealth Alliance, which partnered with and funded the Wuhan Institute.2
In a November 18, 2020, article,3,4 USRTK reports that emails obtained prove EcoHealth Alliance employees were behind the plot to obscure the lab origin of SARS-CoV-2 by issuing a scientific statement condemning such inquiries as “conspiracy theory”:
“Emails obtained by U.S. Right to Know show that a statement5 in The Lancet authored by 27 prominent public health scientists condemning ‘conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin’ was organized by employees of EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit group that has received millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer funding to genetically manipulate coronaviruses with scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The emails obtained via public records requests show that EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak drafted the Lancet statement, and that he intended it to ‘not be identifiable as coming from any one organization or person’6 but rather to be seen as ‘simply a letter from leading scientists.’7 Daszak wrote that he wanted ‘to avoid the appearance of a political statement.’8
The scientists’ letter appeared in The Lancet on February 18, just one week after the World Health Organization announced that the disease caused by the novel coronavirus would be named COVID-19.
The 27 authors ‘strongly condemn[ed] conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,’ and reported that scientists from multiple countries ‘overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.’
The letter included no scientific references to refute a lab-origin theory of the virus. One scientist, Linda Saif, asked via email whether it would be useful ‘to add just one or 2 statements in support of why nCOV is not a lab generated virus and is naturally occuring? Seems critical to scientifically refute such claims!’9 Daszak responded, ‘I think we should probably stick to a broad statement.’10”
USRTK points out that several of the authors of that Lancet statement also have direct ties to the EcoHealth Alliance that were not disclosed as conflicts of interest.
“Rita Colwell and James Hughes are members of the Board of Directors of EcoHealth Alliance, William Karesh is the group’s Executive Vice President for Health and Policy, and Hume Field is Science and Policy Advisor,” USRTK writes.11
Daszak Leads Lancet Investigation Into SARS-CoV-2 Origin
This bombshell finding is all the more important in light of the fact that Daszak is now leading The Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission charged with getting to the bottom of SARS-CoV-2’s origin.12
The nomination was suspect from the start, for no other reason than EcoHealth Alliance has received numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health for coronavirus research that was then subcontracted to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Daszak had also gone on the record stating he’s convinced that the virus is natural in origin. With that, his conflicts of interest were already crystal clear, but the finding that he orchestrated The Lancet statement condemning “conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin” means The Lancet Commission’s investigation is little more than a cover-up operation.
If they want to maintain any semblance of credibility going forward, Daszak would need to be replaced with someone less tainted by conflicts and personal gain potential. Five other members of The Lancet Commission also signed the February 18, 2020, statement in The Lancet,13 which puts their credibility in question as well.
Daszak has every reason to make sure SARS-CoV-2 ends up being declared natural, because if it turns out to be a lab-creation, his livelihood is at stake. It would be naïve to believe that safeguarding the continuation of dangerous gain-of-function research wouldn’t be a powerful motivator to preserve the zoonotic origin narrative.
If you want to see just how deeply the mainstream media is in complete collusion with Daszak and is being used to bolster this fake narrative, you can view the “60 Minutes” interview with him below that was broadcast earlier this year.
Lab Escapes Are Commonplace
For the past decade, there have been red flags raised in the scientific community about biosecurity breaches in high containment biological labs in the U.S. and around the world.14
There were legitimate fears that a lab-created superflu might escape the confines of biosecurity labs where researchers are conducting experiments. It’s certainly a reasonable fear, considering the many biosafety breaches on record.15,16,17,18 For example, in 2014, six glass vials of smallpox virus were accidentally found in a storeroom in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s lab at the National Institutes of Health.19
It was the second time in one month mishandling of potential deadly infectious agents was exposed. One month before this shocking discovery, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention20 realized as many as 84, and possibly 86, of its scientists had been exposed to live anthrax.21,22
The live pathogen had been sent from another, higher-security facility, which failed to follow biosafety protocols. The anthrax sample was supposed to have been inactivated prior to transfer, but for a variety of reasons it wasn’t dead on arrival.
The next year, in 2015, the Pentagon realized a Dugway Proving Ground laboratory had been sending incompletely inactivated anthrax (meaning it was still live) to 200 laboratories around the world for the past 12 years. According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report23 issued in August 2016, incompletely inactivated anthrax was sent out on at least 21 occasions between 2003 and 2015.
In 2017, the BSL 4 lab on Galveston Island was hit by a massive storm and severe flooding, raising questions about what might happen were some of the pathogens kept there to get out.24 As recently as 2019, the BSL 4 lab in Fort Detrick was temporarily shut down after several protocol violations were noted.25
Between October 2014 and December 2017, a moratorium on dangerous gain-of-function experiments was in effect in the U.S.26,27 The moratorium was initially issued after a rash of “high-profile lab mishaps” at the CDC and “extremely controversial flu experiments” in which the bird flu virus was engineered to become more lethal and contagious between ferrets.
The goal was to see if it could mutate and become more lethal and contagious between humans, causing future pandemics.
According to Francis Boyle, who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the West Africa Ebola pandemic likely originated out of a BSL-4 facility in Sierra Leone. He believes they were testing a live Ebola vaccine, thereby causing the outbreak.
Asia Times28 lists several other examples of safety breaches at BSL3 and BSL4 labs, as does a May 28, 2015, article in USA Today,29 an April 11, 2014, article in Slate magazine30 and a November 16, 2020, article in Medium.31
SARS Lab Escapes
The Medium article,32 written by Gilles Demaneuf, reviews SARS lab escapes specifically. No less than three out of four reappearances of SARS have been attributed to safety breaches. In the first incident, which took place in September 2003 in Singapore, an inexperienced doctoral student was infected with SARS. The case was blamed on “inappropriate laboratory standards” and cross-contamination.33
Other shortcomings that contributed included “inadequate record-keeping procedures, totally inadequate training, inexistent virus stock inventory, patchy maintenance records plus a variety of structural problems including the absence of gauges to indicate the pressure differentials, the lack of a freezer to store samples, problems with HEPA filters and air supply, and other equipment deficiencies.”34
As long as we are creating the risk, the benefit will always be secondary. Any scientific or medical gains made from gain-of-function research pales in comparison to the incredible risks involved if these creations are released.
The second accident took place in December 2003 at the Level 4 lab at the Taiwan Military Institute of Preventive Medical Research (IPMR) of the National Defense University.
A lieutenant-colonel working with SARS was infected as a result of negligence when disinfecting an accidental spill. The third incidence took place between February and April 2004 in Beijing, resulting in nearly 1,000 people being medically quarantined.
Why Tracking Down Origin of SARS-CoV-2 Is Crucial
As noted by the National Review,35 getting to the bottom of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is crucial if we are to prevent a similar pandemic to erupt in the future:
“If it originated from a person eating bat or pangolin at a wet market, then we need to take steps to ensure that bat and pangolin consumption and trade stops everywhere in the world … Bat guano is used as fertilizer in many countries, and that guano can be full of viruses … If this is the source of the virus, we need to get people to stop going into caves and using the guano as fertilizer …
In a strange way, the ‘lab accident’ scenario is one of the most reassuring explanations. It means that if we want to ensure we never experience this again, we simply need to get every lab in the world working on contagious viruses to ensure 100 percent compliance with safety protocols, all the time.”
We’re told gain-of-function research is necessary in order to stay ahead of the natural evolution of viruses. A pathogen that mutates and jumps species, for example, may end up posing a severe threat to mankind. However, by manipulating pathogens, turning nonlethal viruses into lethal ones, for example, we are creating the very risk we’re supposedly trying to avoid.
And, as long as we are creating the risk, the benefit will always be secondary. Any scientific or medical gains made from this kind of research pales in comparison to the incredible risks involved if these creations are released. This sentiment has been echoed by others in a variety of scientific publications.36,37,38,39
Considering the potential for a massively lethal pandemic, I believe it’s safe to say that BSL 3 and 4 laboratories pose a very real and serious existential threat to humanity.
U.S. biowarfare programs employ some 13,000 scientists,40 all of whom are hard at work creating ever-deadlier pathogens, while the public is simply told to trust that these pathogens will never be released, either involuntarily or voluntarily.
Historical facts tell us accidental exposures and releases have already happened, and we only have our lucky stars to thank that none have turned into pandemics taking the lives of millions.
Considering safety breaches at these labs number in the hundreds, it’s only a matter of time before something really nasty gets out. Consider the ramifications if a souped-up Ebola or Spanish flu were to get out, for example. Is SARS-CoV-2 the product of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology? It might be. There’s certainly compelling evidence to suggest it.
But even if such suspicions turn out be wrong, we must ask the question and do a proper investigation. We absolutely need to know how this virus came about, and if it was a lab creation, how it got out.
Naturally, there will be resistance. As mentioned, many thousands of researchers stand to lose their careers were this kind of research to be banned. As Antonio Regalado, biomedicine editor of MIT Technology Review, told Boston Magazine,41 “If it turned out COVID-19 came from a lab it would shatter the scientific edifice top to bottom.”
Some might be looking at an even worse fate. With sufficient evidence, certain researchers and public health authorities could face life behind bars for their involvement, which is the penalty for bioterrorism under the Anti-Terrorism Act. All things considered, there’s virtually no benefit to gain-of-function research, but plenty of risk.
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