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COVID-19: A Leaked Franken-Virus Jointly Engineered and Financed by the US and China?

We are repeatedly told that COVID-19 originated from a wild animal at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, and that it is a natural mutation of a bat virus. But the hard evidence contradicts this theory.

Did COVID-19 start in the Huanan Seafood Market?

There is evidence that the first confirmed COVID-19 hospital patients had zero contact with the Huanan Seafood Market, which would rule out the possibility that the market was the source of the virus.

The figure below comes from a peer-reviewed scientific paper published in the Lancet. The first recorded incidence of a COVID-19 symptomatic patient being admitted to a hospital occurred on December 1, 2019.1 This patient had zero contact with the seafood market. Nine days later, on December 10, 2019, three more patients were admitted to the hospital, two of whom had had zero contact with the seafood market. One patient had contact with the market. Five days later, two more people were reported sick after being at the market, however others who had had zero contact with the market continued to be admitted to hospitals. This data clearly shows that the Huanan Seafood Market was not the source of COVID-19.

While the virus was spreading throughout Wuhan, and people seriously ill with a new form of pneumonia were going to hospitals, the Chinese Government was jailing the doctors who were warning others about this disease. The government was also telling the world that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission, instead insisting that this was a rare disease that came directly from animals and that could not be passed from person to person—which we now know to be a lie.The virus (called 2019-nCoV then and now called SARS-CoV-2) was circulating in the Wuhan community for at least nine days before the first reported case of a patient who had had contact with the market.

The market cluster most likely came from an infected person visiting the market, and infecting stall holders and customers because of its crowded conditions. The market was closed down on January 1, 2020, and cleaned out with bleach to contain this disease. This effectively destroyed any chance of determining if there were infected animals as claimed by the Chinese Government, the World Health Organization (WHO) and others. However, as the virus was circulating in Wuhan before the first cases occurred in the market, closing down the market did not stop this pandemic.

A paper published by two Chinese researchers on February 6, 2020, showed that there were no bats in the seafood market and that the only bats and bat viruses in Wuhan were at the Wuhan Center for Disease Control & Prevention and Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). This paper stated that the most likely source of COVID-19 was an accident at one of these labs, and that more research should be undertaken to determine if an accident at the lab was to blame for the pandemic. The Chinese Government used pressure to have this paper withdrawn, deleted and suppressed, and the researchers silenced.

However in the interest of transparency and freedom of speech, we are providing a link to the original paper as we managed to save a copy before the Chinese government tried to delete it.2

SARS-CoV-2, the name of the virus that causes COVID-19, has not been found in the wild. Its nearest relative, RaTG13, was collected from bats by WIV researchers in 2013, in Yunnan Province, about 1,000 miles away from Wuhan. RaTG13 was stored in Wuhan at WIV. However there was no record of it in the scientific literature or in gene banks until January 23, 2020, when Shi Zhengli, director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, and others at WIV published that RaTG13 was 96.2 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2. 3

The prevailing theory is that an intermediate animal, such as a pangolin, was infected by the bat coronavirus, and the virus mutated in the pangolin before infecting humans. However, at this stage, there is no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 being found in any wild animal. Several close relatives of SARS-CoV-2 have been found in bats however these viruses do not contain the same spike protein found in SARS-CoV-2 that gives the virus the ability to infect humans. The spike protein in SARS-CoV-2 is unique and is different from the spike proteins in other coronaviruses. It has not been found in any other coronaviruses, including RaTG13.

Several researchers have stated that SARS-CoV-2 is a result of the genetic recombination of part of the spike protein of the Malayan Pangolin coronavirus into RaTG13.5

The virus closest to containing a section of spike protein nearly identical to a section of SARS-CoV-2 was found by researchers in one Malayan Pangolin out of a group of 25 pangolins that were confiscated from smugglers at the Chinese boarder.4 However the rest of this pangolin virus is quite different from SARS-CoV-2.

It is unlikely that this recombination of two viruses happened naturally in the wild. The infected Malayan Pangolin was captured outside of China, probably thousands of miles away from Yunnan where the only record of the bat virus RaTG13 has been found. Given that only one out of 25 of the Malayan Pangolins had this virus, it shows that it is not a common virus and does not cause widespread infections in pangolins. RaTG13 has been found only in a few bats in one location in Yunnan, and nowhere else in the world. It is highly improbable that an extremely rare virus from an isolated area in Yunnan infected and mutated inside pangolins that were caught outside of China.

How did SARS-CoV-2 get this unique spike protein? The theory that these two viruses combined naturally, given that they are most likely separated by thousands of miles, lacks credibility. This may be a popular theory however it has zero evidence.

So what is the evidence that SARS-CoV-2 may have come from a laboratory in Wuhan?

The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has the largest collection of bat coronaviruses in the world, including RaTG13. WIV specializes in Gain-of-Function research.

Gain-of-Function (GOF) research involves mutating viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms to enhance their ability to infect and cause diseases. This can involve taking a harmless virus and manipulating it to infect and cause severe illnesses in other species, or making already-deadly diseases, such as the Spanish Flu or the plague, even deadlier.

This type of research has divided the scientific community with many scientists warning that if one of these enhanced diseases escaped it could cause a global pandemic. The GOF researchers deny that these deadly organisms will escape. They state that this research is needed to protect us from pandemics by using it to make medications and vaccines. After 30 years of research there is very little evidence of any benefit from GOF research—and many examples of these deadly disease organisms escaping from laboratories around the world, including China. GOF research certainly hasn’t helped with cures to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.

GOF research has been conducted on bat coronaviruses at the WIV since 2007. Researchers there have published several scientific papers showing how they have genetically modified harmless coronaviruses so they now can infect humans. They have been combining parts of two different viruses to make new viruses. Two papers of note were published about this in 2015 and 2017.

In 2015, Shi Zhengli from the WIV, and researchers at various universities and research institutions in the U.S. and Switzerland, published a paper explaining how they genetically modified the SARS coronavirus to create a dangerous synthetic virus. The researchers took the genetic codes for part of the spike protein from a virus that Shi Zhengli isolated from bats found in Yunnan in 2011, and inserted them into the SARS coronavirus (the virus that caused the original SARS epidemic in 2002-2003).6

The spike protein is found on the top of the spike on coronaviruses. The viruses use this protein to attach to specific receptors in cells to infect them. Each species of animal tends to have unique receptors. This means that the virus has to have a unique spike protein that will bind to the specific receptor. It is a “lock-and-key” system. The spike protein is the same as the key and the receptor is the same as the lock. The wrong key will not open a lock.

Most of the spike proteins in coronaviruses found in animals will not infect people because their spike proteins are the wrong key to unlock the receptors on the cells. The only way coronaviruses from animals can infect people is if the viruses’ “keys” (spike proteins) are somehow modified to fit the humans’ “lock” (cell receptors). This type of modification can happen through natural mutations, but usually only very slowly, and over many decades.

However, spike proteins are being genetically modified in many laboratories around the world, as GOF research, to enable spike proteins to mutate at rates far faster and more frequently than can occur naturally. This is part of the justification for GOF research: In order to study disease organisms, researchers modify them faster and more often than the organisms would modify on their own, in nature.

The synthetic coronavirus created in 2015 by WIV’s Shi Zhengli and other researchers was genetically modified to make it able to infect the human ACE2 receptor, the same receptor that SARS-CoV-2 infects to cause COVID-19. This dangerous new genetically modified virus was created by researchers from the University of North Carolina, the Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts), the National Center for Toxicological Research, Food and Drug Administration (Arkansas) the Bellinzona Institute of Microbiology (Switzerland) and the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, who were working together and subsequently published their paper. This shows that these types of dangerous genetically modified viruses are being created in many laboratories around the world, including WIV.

In 2017, Shi Zhengli and other researchers at WIV, along with researchers from the New York based EcoHealth Alliance, published a paper on how they genetically modified the spike proteins of eight bat coronaviruses, essentially by cutting and pasting genetic material from other coronaviruses, so that the viruses infected the human ACE2 receptor. This is the same receptor that SARS-CoV-2 infects to cause COVID-19.7

According to an article in Newsweek, the EcoHealth Alliance was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health to do this research.8

The 2015 and 2017 papers are clear evidence that researchers at the WIV, in conjunction with U.S. and other researchers, have been genetically modifying the spike proteins of multiple types of coronaviruses, by cutting and pasting genetic material from other coronaviruses, so that harmless viruses can now infect humans.

Could SARS-CoV-2 have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology?

There are numerous examples of deadly diseases escaping from laboratories. A paper in Science magazine documents many of them and shows how it has only been luck that they haven’t caused a major global pandemic.9

A U.S. State Department visit to the WIV in 2018 found that the lab had very poor security standards. In a cable to Washington, State Department officials reported their concerns that a dangerous coronavirus could escape. Josh Rogin reported in the Washington Post on April 14, 2020: “The first cable, which I obtained, also warns that the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.” According to Rogin, the officials “…noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.”10

Despite these concerns, Trump Administration officials recommended that the U.S. should continue to fund the Wuhan Institute of Virology research.

In Summary

As stated before there is zero evidence that SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, originated from wild animals or the Huanan Seafood Market. The evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 was circulating in Wuhan for more than nine days before the first case was reported by someone who had been at the market. SARS-CoV-2 has not been found in wild animals or domesticated livestock.

There is strong evidence this virus is a result of the recombination of two viruses. The evidence shows that it was highly unlikely that this recombination could have occurred naturally, as the two confirmed animal host species were geographically separated, possibly by thousands of miles.

There is clear evidence that the closest relative of the SARS-CoV-2 is RaTG13, and this virus was in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is mostly composed of RaTG13, but that part of the RaTG13 spike protein has been modified with a section of a virus found in a Malayan Pangolin. This modified spike protein is what gives SARS-CoV-2 the ability to bind with the ACE2 receptor and infect people.

There is clear evidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has been doing Gain-of-Function research to recombine multiple bat and other coronaviruses by genetically modifying the spike protein so that the viruses can infect humans.

There is clear evidence that the biosecurity at the WIV was inadequate due to the lack of properly trained staff and that this could result in one of the many dangerous genetically engineered bat coronaviruses escaping and causing a global pandemic.

The evidence shows that the Chinese government has constantly lied about the facts that caused this pandemic and allowed it to spread, has prevented independent researchers from entering the WIV to investigate what happened there, continues to suppress all independent research, made researchers and papers disappear and silenced others. This is clear evidence of a grand-scale cover up. What are they trying to cover up?

A reasonable conclusion, based on the evidence, is that SARS-CoV-2 was created in the WIV through Gain-of-Function research, and that it accidentally escaped due to inadequate biosecurity.

The Gain-of-Function researchers and organizations are circling the wagons to prevent this information from becoming public. This includes people like Anthony Fauci whose NIH has invested more than $7 million into the WIV to fund Gain-of-Function research, and many other organizations in the U.S. and around the world that are still funding the WIV and other laboratories doing this dangerous research.

These groups are saying that SARS-CoV-2 has come from natural mutations, because they know that if the facts are revealed, their research and labs will be closed down to prevent future accidents. Fortunately, there are enough scientists concerned about Gain-of-Function research to uncover good evidence about the origins of this pandemic so that we, as a society, can prevent this from ever happening again. 

It is time that all Gain-of-Function research is banned. These scientist are creating deadly Frankenstein’s monsters that can have terrible consequences when they escape. They are Franken-viruses because they are murderous monsters that can kill millions, severely damage economies and destroy livelihoods. There is very little evidence of any benefits coming from GOF, and the current COVID-19 pandemic clearly shows that this research is too dangerous. Given that there are even deadlier organisms in these laboratories, the next escape could have even greater consequences for all of us.  We must stop it now.

André Leu is international director of Regeneration International. He is also author of several peer-reviewed papers and books. His latest book is “Poisoning our Children.”

References

1. Chaolin Huang, Yeming Wang*, Xingwang Li, Lili Ren, Jianping Zhao, Yi Hu, Li Zhang, Guohui Fan, Jiuyang Xu, Xiaoying Gu, Zhenshun Cheng, Ting Yu, Jiaan Xia, Yuan Wei, Wenjuan Wu, Xuelei Xie, Wen Yin, Hui Li, Min Liu, Yan Xiao, Hong Gao, Li Guo, Jungang Xie, Guangfa Wang, Rongmeng Jiang, Zhancheng Gao, Qi Jin, Jianwei Wang and Bin Cao, Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel  coronavirus in Wuhan, China, Lancet 2020; 395: 497–506, Published Online January 24, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30183-5

2. Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao, The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus, February 2020 https://chanworld.org/wp-content/uploads/wpforo/default_attachments/1581810860-447056518-Originsof2019-NCoV-XiaoB-Res.pdf

3. Peng Zhou, Xing-Lou Yang, Xian-Guang Wang, Ben Hu, Lei Zhang, Wei Zhang, Hao-Rui Si, Yan Zhu, Bei Li, Chao-Lin Huang, Hui-Dong Chen, Jing Chen, Yun Luo, Hua Guo, Ren-Di Jiang, Mei-Qin Liu Ying Chen, Xu-Rui Shen, Xi Wang, Xiao-Shuang Zheng, Kai Zhao, Quan-Jiao Chen, Fei Deng, Lin-Lin Liu, Bing Yan, Fa-Xian Zhan, Yan-Yi Wang, Geng-Fu Xiao & Zheng-Li Shi,  A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin, Nature, Vol579 12March2020

4. Kangpeng Xiao, Junqiong Zhai, Yaoyu Feng, Niu Zhou, Xu Zhang, Jie-Jian Zou, Na Li, Yaqiong Guo, Xiaobing Li, Xuejuan Shen, Zhipeng Zhang, Fanfan Shu, Wanyi Huang, Yu Li, Ziding Zhang, Rui-Ai Chen, Ya-Jiang Wu, Shi-Ming Peng, Mian Huang, Wei-Jun Xie, Qin-Hui Cai, Fang-Hui Hou, Yahong Liu, Wu Chen, Lihua Xiao and Yongyi Shen, Isolation and Characterization of 2019-nCoV-like Coronavirus from Malayan Pangolins, bioRxiv preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.17.951335. this version posted February 20, 2020.

5. Matthew C. Wong, Sara J. Javornik Cregeen, Nadim J. Ajami, Joseph F. Petrosino, Evidence of recombination in coronaviruses implicating pangolin origins of nCoV-2019 , bioRxiv preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.07.939207. This version posted February 13, 2020

6. Vineet D. Menachery, Boyd L. Yount Jr, Kari Debbink, Sudhakar Agnihothram, Lisa E. Gralinski, Jessica A. Plante, Rachel L. Graham, Trevor Scobey, Xing-Yi Ge, Eric F. Donaldson, Scott H. Randell, Antonio Lanzavecchia, Wayne A. Marasco, Zhengli-Li Shi & Ralph S. Baric, A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence, Nature Medicine Volume 21, Number 12, December 2015

7. Hu B, Zeng L-P, Yang X-L, Ge X-Y, Zhang W, Li B, et al. (2017) Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus. PLoS Pathog 13(11): e1006698. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006698

8.https://www.newsweek.com/dr-fauci-backed-controversial-wuhan-lab-millions-us-dollars-risky-coronavirus-research-1500741

9. Kaiser, J. (2007). BIOSAFETY BREACHES: Accidents Spur a Closer Look at Risks at Biodefense Labs. Science, 317(5846), 1852–1854. doi:10.1126/science.317.5846.1852 https://sci-hub.tw/https://science.sciencemag.org/content/317/5846/1852/tab-figures-data 

10. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/14/state-department-cables-warned-safety-issues-wuhan-lab-studying-bat-coronaviruses/

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