Monday, October 18, 2021
HomeCOVID-19Why this damning delay in probing a Covid lab leak?

Why this damning delay in probing a Covid lab leak?

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Question: What does it take for a conspiracy theory to become established fact? 

Answer: Six to twelve months.  

THIS social media jibe accompanied a flurry of articles in recent days acknowledging as ‘feasible’ the previously dismissed ‘conspiracy theory’ that the virus causing Covid-19 leaked from a Chinese research laboratory. 

The Sunday Times reported in a front-page lead article at the weekend that British spies are working alongside American intelligence agencies after President Biden last week ordered an investigation into the lab leak theory, with results to be reported back to him within 90 days.   

Which raises the question, what have they and their scientist colleagues been doing in the 18 months since the pandemic began? 

From the start, authorities such as Nature and The Lancet vigorously backed assertions that the virus had somehow jumped into humans from an animal source, and did their utmost to bury claims to the contrary. 

Yet as far back as June 2020, retired MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, 75, drew attention to work by an Anglo-Norwegian team of scientists demonstrating that the virus, originally from bats, had been genetically engineered to make it more dangerous to humans.  

He said at the time: ‘I do think that this started as an accident.  It raises the issue, if China were ever to admit responsibility, does it pay reparations?  I think it will make every country in the world rethink how it treats its relationship with China and how the international community behaves towards the Chinese leadership.’ 

He described the study as ‘a very important contribution to a debate which is now starting about how the virus evolved and how it got out and broke out as a pandemic.  I think this particular article is very important, and I think it will shift the debate.’ 

But the paper, and any discussion around it, was vigorously suppressed.   

This was the same paper that I wrote about last month, when it was still largely hidden from view, having found it on an obscure Norwegian website.  My report highlighted the fact that the researchers, vaccines expert Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr Birger Sorensen, spelled out in ‘ruthless detail’ the sequence of laboratory events through which they claim the virus’s so-called spike protein arose.  The spike is the unique feature of the virus that makes it a danger to humans.   

They found that the protein has six inserts, ’unique fingerprints … indicative of purposive manipulation’, increasing the virus’s ability to hook into and harm a wide range of human cells.  ‘Such a result is typically the objective of gain of function experiments to create chimeric viruses of high potency,’ they wrote. 

This understanding was reached through the team’s own work, using electron microscopy, aimed at developing a safe Covid-19 vaccine. 

The researchers cautioned, chillingly, that the ‘built-in stealth property … implies a high risk for the development of severe adverse events/toxicity and even antibody-dependent enhancement.’   

The latter, known as ADE, highlighted here, is a problem in which a previous infection or vaccination creates antibodies which increase, rather than reduce, the risk of severe illness when a person is subsequently exposed to viral components.   

Dalgleish and Sorensen warned that specific precautions would be needed when using the spike protein in any vaccine candidate, ‘precautions that might not suggest themselves to designers employing conventional methodologies and innocent assumptions about the target virus’.   

The warning seems especially ominous in the light of thousands of deaths and injuries reported immediately in the wake of vaccination, although to date most of the millions who have received the jab have suffered, at worst, only moderate reactions.   

On Monday, the Daily Mail revealed that a new, 22-page version of the paper is to be published soon in the Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery.  In it, Dalgleish and Sorensen offer additional evidence for the Wuhan lab origin of the virus, claiming that the Chinese scientists ‘reverse-engineered’ versions of the virus to cover up their tracks.   

They also point to efforts to hide the ‘deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data’ in Chinese labs and note that ‘scientists who wished to share their findings haven’t been able to do so or have disappeared’.  

Last week the Chinese Embassy in the US responded angrily to reports surrounding President Biden’s order for an investigation, claiming that ‘smear campaign and blame-shifting are making a comeback, and the conspiracy theory of “lab leak” is resurfacing’. 

The statement added: ‘Out of a sense of responsibility towards the health of mankind, we support a comprehensive study of all early cases of Covid-19 found worldwide and a thorough investigation into some secretive bases and biological laboratories all over the world.’ 

Although this kind of bluster is hardly persuasive, the Western world does have a problem in that Chinese scientists are not the only ones to have suffered censorship and suppression during the global ‘frenzy’ surrounding the Covid crisis. 

Apart from burying the Dalgleish and Sorensen paper, the scientific establishment ‘strictly censored’ similar findings which contradicted claims of a natural origin for the virus, a group of New York scientists complained in a ‘working paper’ published last September. 

What’s more, a New York-based non-profit organisation called the EcoHealth Alliance, which collaborated with the Wuhan laboratory research team, is reported to have received tens of millions of dollars from US government sources, including the Defence Department and the National Institutes of Health, for investigating coronaviruses – ostensibly as a means of guarding against just such a disaster as Covid-19. 

Peter Daszak, long-time president of the alliance, is a leading member of a World Health Organisation team whose investigation of the pandemic’s origins was widely regarded as a ‘whitewash’ when published on March 30.  Astonishingly, he also heads a Lancet committee with the same remit.   

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Neville Hodgkinson
Neville Hodgkinson is a former medical and science correspondent at the Sunday Times and the author of AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science, published in 1996 by Fourth Estate.

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