Thursday, July 18, 2024
HomeCOVID-19Time to come clean about Covid’s lab origins

Time to come clean about Covid’s lab origins


MORE than two years ago, an Anglo-Norwegian team of scientists demonstrated unique ‘fingerprints’ of laboratory manipulation in the Covid virus. They argued that the evidence as good as proved that the virus had originated in a lab rather than evolving naturally. The manipulation, which made a bat virus a danger to humans, was exactly as envisaged by American and Chinese researchers who had been working on a vaccine aimed at reducing the impact of any such future outbreaks. 

A paper describing these findings, co-authored by London University vaccines expert Professor Angus Dalgleish, was suppressed in both the US and UK. Internationally, the World Health Organisation, leading science journals and others made a huge effort to persuade us that Covid was a natural occurrence – and that we should spend a lot more money to fight any such future threats. 

However the paper was uploaded by the Norwegian website Minerva in July 2020, and an update appeared on the website in May 2021 which I reported here

Now an American expert in the field, who previously dismissed the lab-origin theory, has reached exactly the same conclusion. ‘The body of evidence supporting a lab origin of SARS-CoV-2 is overwhelming, far more so than most realise,’ says biologist and analyst Dr Alex Washburne in a newly published ten-page report

He studied transmission of infections from bats to people for many years before Covid. ‘Pathogen spillover is common,’ he writes, ‘and so for much of the pandemic I kept an open mind about a laboratory origin yet remained firmly entrenched in my prior belief of a zoonotic [animal] origin.  However . . . the totality of evidence has completely changed my mind.’

Before Covid, Dr Washburne was working with a team funded by a US Defense Department grant aimed at pre-empting pandemics by studying whether some strains of animal viruses were more likely to cause human disease than others. 

He says it takes a lot of effort to find and examine naturally occurring viruses, and so ‘there is a clear temptation to make new viruses, such as chimeric viruses or viruses passaged in human cells. If we made a virus more capable of infecting people, it might reveal the essence of human-infective viruses and help us prepare vaccines before a pandemic ever happens. 

‘Engineer and evolve a novel pandemic-capable virus to create a vaccine against the virus before it causes a pandemic, and you might win a Nobel Prize . . . provided nothing goes wrong.’ 

He describes how in March 2018 a proposal to do just that was drawn up by EcoHealth Alliance (a global non-profit with the slogan ‘Standing Between You and the Next Pandemic’) with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China and other international collaborators.

The plan was to sample bat coronaviruses, assemble cloned copies of the viruses in the lab, introduce genes that might make them a threat to humans, and test the resulting chimeric viruses in the lab at Wuhan. 

‘Find, engineer, and evolve human-infectious viruses capable of causing a pandemic, develop a vaccine against them, and pre-empt a pandemic . . . provided nothing goes wrong.’ 

DARPA, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, turned down the proposal on safety grounds.

But the group had alternative sources of funding, including a biodefence grant from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The fact that SARS-CoV-2 emerged in Wuhan, with an exact fingerprint of the proposed manipulation, and a geographic pattern inconsistent with its having emerged from animal trade, ‘ought to tilt the scales towards a laboratory origin’, Washburne says. 

He adds that ‘as a scientist, I can’t tell you how badly I want scientists to have not opened Pandora’s Box. It took enormous amounts of self-examination and self-criticism to question my own cherished belief in the theory of a zoonotic origin’. 

He might have been able to change his mind sooner if the findings of the Anglo-Norwegian team had been examined at the pandemic’s outset. 

The team’s findings were exactly in line with those now highlighted by Washburne. They found that the virus’s so-called spike protein had six inserts, ‘unique fingerprints . . . indicative of purposive manipulation’, which allowed it to infect and damage a wide range of human cells. They showed how these and other features of the virus were linked to laboratory work published by the Chinese and American researchers. 

The authors wrote: ‘Since, regrettably, international access has not been allowed to the relevant laboratories or materials, since Chinese scientists who wished to share their knowledge have not been able to do so and indeed since it appears that preserved virus material and related information have been destroyed, we are compelled to apply deduction to the published scientific literature, informed by our own biochemical analyses. 

‘We refute pre-emptively objection that this methodology does not result in absolute proof by observing that to make such a statement is to misunderstand scientific logic. The longer the chain of causation of individual findings that is shown, especially converging from different disciplines, the greater the confidence in the whole.’

The team also warned that vaccine-makers who failed to acknowledge the chimeric nature of the virus, and the toxicity of the spike protein, might unwittingly put the public at risk.

We now know that wittingly or not the vaccine-makers put out products which present an even bigger threat to health for some than the virus itself, and have been linked to tens of thousands of deaths and millions of adverse events. But because of the obstacles put in the way of a genuine understanding of the virus’s nature, regulators continue to assure the public that the products are ‘safe and effective’. 

I believe there was high-level knowledge from the very start that this was not a naturally evolved virus, but a chimera – originally native to Chinese bats but manipulated in the laboratory to see if it could become a threat to humans. 

If Covid really was a straightforward zoonosis – an infectious disease of animal origin – why was a global panic button pressed, leading to the ruinous lockdowns and other crisis measures which were to cost the UK £500billion over the next two and a half years?  

Why did top scientists and public health officials persist in demanding panic measures long after it was clear that the threat from Covid was not as bad as had been feared?

Why did the G20 countries at their recent meeting in Bali sing the praises of Covid immunisation as a ‘global public good’, and flag up digital and non-digital ‘proof of vaccinations’ to facilitate ‘seamless international travel’? 

Is it because of fears that another, more dangerous genetically engineered pathogen is in the pipeline? 

Chinese scientists and public health officials are said to have predicted that World War Three will be fought with ‘a new era of genetic weapons’ which can be ‘artificially manipulated into an emerging human disease virus, then weaponised and unleashed in a way never seen before’. 

This is clearly a subject with which governments and their intelligence agencies worldwide must be familiar. May I suggest that if that is the real fear, they should come clean about it, and stop treating us like idiots? That would do a lot to improve understanding, and help end a damaging crisis of confidence in science that could prove a lot more damaging than SARS-CoV-2 itself. 

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Neville Hodgkinson
Neville Hodgkinson
Neville Hodgkinson is the former Sunday Times medical and science correspondent who created an international storm by reporting a scientific challenge to the ‘HIV’ theory of Aids. His new book, How HIV/Aids Set the Stage for the Covid Crisis, is an expanded and updated version of his previous book on the controversy. It is available here.

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