Don't Miss Out

Subscribe to OCA's News & Alerts.

Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

More Pandemics in Our Future, Unless We Shut Down Gain-of-Function Research: An Interview with André Leu

In an interview conducted on May 20, 2020, Pat Thomas and André Leu discussed the possible origins of COVID-19. 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.”


PT: Hey everyone, wherever you're turning in from today. You are very welcome here on Facebook live with the Organic Consumers Association. We are continuing our exploration of the coronavirus, and its origins, and looking at some of the evidence that the mainstream media seems too often to want to downplay. I'm Pat Thomas and with me today is André Leu. André is the international director of Regeneration International, he's a longtime organic farmer in Australia, he's a former president of IFOAM Organics International and author of the books "Poisoning Our Children" and "The Myths of Safe Pesticides." "The Myths of Safe Pesticides." André, welcome.


AL: Hi Pat, it's great to be here. And I just want to say hello to everyone watching this.


PT: It's so great that we could negotiate the time zone. You're keen to talk about the conclusions that you’ve come to, after combing through this copious research into the origins of the coronavirus. Just to set us up, a little bit I'd like to ask you why this matters to you, and what you see as the links between the coronavirus and regenerative agriculture.

AL: Why this matters is because this is probably the greatest disaster that the world has ever seen. We've never had a pandemic on this scale. It's not just the hundreds of thousands of people who have died, and more who will be dying. But we also know that there are millions of people now who are hungry because of all the economic shutdowns and people who will be dying of starvation. How many people do we know that their careers and jobs have stopped, they've lost their businesses?


This is an A-Grade disaster, and we need to know why it happened so that we can prevent this ever happening again. This is critical, so to do that we actually need to get the evidence and find out the science and the real data, not what the mainstream media is peddling. Let's look at actual evidence. So, that's what myself and others have been doing, we've been combing through documents and documents and documents. This is like putting a giant jigsaw puzzle together.


PT: That's hard. And in terms of linking the coronavirus with its origins, a lot of people are going with the sort of food narrative, that stubborn narrative that the virus originated in the wet markets in Wuhan, where all these exotic species are sold. And in that narrative, an individual or individuals picked up the virus at the market and began spreading it exponentially. But how likely is that really?


AL: Once again we'll look at the real evidence. What I want to use here is what we call the "gold standard" in science, this is called peer-reviewed scientific papers, and particularly if they're in highly recognized scientific publications. And the best one for me, is from the Lancet, which is the world's premier medical journal. And that paper shows that the first patient, documented patient, with this disease went to hospital with pneumonia on December 1. That person had zero contact with the market, neither did their college of friends. Then on December 10, 9 days later, they get three more patients, two of those had zero contact with the market. They couldn't even trace their relatives or friends being at that market. On that day, they got the first person who had contact with the market. Then when you look at the data, you get a small cluster of people from the market, but you continue to get people who have had zero contact with the market. They close the market down on January 1, and after that there's no evidence of anyone from the market getting it yet, because we know that this virus has been out in Wuhan for at least 9 days before anyone in the market got it. It’s circulating all through Wuhan, and closing down the market had zero effect in stopping this pandemic. Zero.


The other thing they did is when they closed down the market they sterilized it and got rid of the animals. There is zero evidence that it came from the market. And what the evidence shows is that people were infected, in Wuhan, before anyone from the market was infected. Obviously what has happened is one person has gone into the market and infected everybody and caused the cluster. The market is a crowded place with lots of people. You just need one infected person going in there and sneezing and coughing, and bang, you've got the typical cluster, like you see in nursing homes, and so on. We see it time and time again with this disease. That's all the market is, it's not the source.


PT: And so again, people would say, "well but what about these wild animals that people are studying, or eating, or bringing into the market or what have you?" Now as far as I know, this virus hasn't been found in any wild animals, is that correct?


AL: That's correct. I've gone through all the data and you get some papers trying to say, oh look this is evidence. But when you look at the actual data of the viruses, and how close they are to the virus that causes COVID-19, they are not close, there is not one. So at this stage, despite the fact that they've looked at coronaviruses in bats and pangolins and dogs and mice, they're everywhere. The only one that they can't find is the one in humans. There is nothing, nothing in any wild, or livestock animal, either.


PT: So it's not like a trapper went out and caught some bats to eat and brought it into the market, and it started to infect people. This is something that's come from somewhere else. And the reason we know this, I think, is because of the structure of the virus itself, right?


AL: Exactly. There's a very good paper that the Chinese government suppressed that showed that there were zero bats sold in this market. By the way, this is a seafood market. They are really sort of, how can I say, inventing, fabricating that this is a wild animal market. It was not. Now, maybe there were some wild animals sold there. But there is zero evidence that any of those wild animals had the virus that causes COVID-19. On the other hand, where we do have evidence of the closest virus to the one that causes COVID-19, this is found in a bat in Yunnan, which is about 1000 miles away from Wuhan. It was found by  researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2013. In February [2020], they released the paper showing that this virus [found by the researchers in 2013] is about 96 - 96.2 percent the same as the virus that causes COVID-19. And they're trying to say that this is the one that has mutated. Other papers will show that that mutation will take about between 80 - 90 years to happen. That's nonsense to say that the closest virus has mutated naturally. There is zero evidence of that.


The other [virus] that they started talking about was from pangolins, because they found some similar viruses in pangolins, and most of those were between 80 - 90 percent similar to COVID-19. Once again, we're talking about 100 years or more of mutations, natural mutations, for them to be the same as the virus that causes COVID-19. However, one of these pangolin viruses had a section of it that was identical to the spike protein on the virus that causes COVID-19. This is missing from the bat virus [found to be similar] to COVID-19. This spike protein is very important. People can imagine in their mind the coronavirus, and you see it's got little spikes on it, you know that's why they call it corona, those spikes are what attach to our cells in our bodies and then allow the virus to invade [human cells]. The spike protein is sort of like a lock and key system. You've got to have the right spike protein to get into a cell. And they found this unique spike protein in a pangolin. So then they said, oh look the pangolin is the cause. But the rest of it is completely different from the COVID-19 virus. So other researchers then looked at it and said, look what this is, is natural recombination. if this virus that causes COVID-19 is a cross between the closest bat virus, but now it's got the spike protein from this pangolin virus, it must have happened naturally.


Yes, it's a recombination, and that [evidence] looks very strong. The evidence there is the closest we've got. Now we're getting something somewhere near 100 percent the same as the virus that causes COVID-19. But this recombination could not have happened naturally. Because the closest bat virus is very rare, it's only found in a couple of bats in a mineshaft a thousand miles away from Wuhan. And then the pangolin virus are from Malayan pangolins, which were confiscated by the border police, the customs, and were probably collected thousands of miles away from China. And there is no way that this virus, these two viruses, could have recombined, given that the two host animals were probably more than 1000 miles apart from each other. It's just scientific nonsense. There is zero evidence, zero scientific evidence to show that these two viruses recombined naturally.


PT: I think that's important to note before we get onto to the nitty-gritty of this, that viruses are constantly recombining in nature under pressure from the environment, or what have you. But the fact that these two elements could not have come together in any other way does suggest that there is some sort of lab creation going on here. And part of that is what they call Gain-of-Function research, isn't it?


AL: Exactly. I want to explain what Gain-of-Function research is. This is where researchers will artificially modify diseases, all sorts of diseases, and make them more dangerous. So, for instance, most of these coronaviruses in bats and pangolins and mice will not infect people because their spike proteins are the wrong style or shape to infect people. So what a lot of researchers, and this includes researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, have been doing is inserting spike proteins into these harmless viruses. This makes them more dangerous now because these new spike proteins are the type of spike protein to allow the virus to infect people. And we have the papers. They've been doing this research since 2007. Two particular scientific papers, one in 2015, and an even more important paper 2017, show how they did it. In 2017, they got eight harmless bat viruses and inserted new spike proteins into them, so they now had the ability to infect people. It's in black and white. They published it. This is what they do, they take harmless bat viruses, and they put new spike proteins on them. So now people can get infected by these viruses. The viruses go from  harmless to being deadly.


PT: And this is really controversial isn't it? This Gain-of-Function because it's ostensibly performed to create the pathogenicity or the transmissibility of a virus. And a scientist will say, well we have to study that to know how the virus behaves. But of course the way a virus behaves in a lab isn't necessarily how it behaves in the real world anyway. And in the meantime, you have this huge security risk in these labs.


AL: Exactly. And in 2014, Gain-of-Function research was banned in the United States after several hundred scientists wrote to the Obama government saying this research is too dangerous. We just need one of these organisms, manmade organisms, to escape and we'll have a global pandemic. So, it was banned, but it was reinstated in 2017. And while it was banned there's various organizations in the United States, in Europe and also in my country, Australia, that were funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology to do this banned research. So, it's been going on. And it's not just the Chinese government. Most of our governments are complicit in this.


And while they're saying we need to do it to understand these viruses, so we can get cures and vaccines, there's been 30 years of this type of research, and about all that's come out of it is bioweapons. There is zero evidence of any value that's come from this research. And look at the pandemic we have now. Where are all the benefits of 30 years of Gain-of-Function research to give us the cures and vaccines? They are not there. Everybody is scrambling and panicking to try and develop something. But we've got a pandemic, and we're completely unprepared for it because we've got zero ways to treat it or prevent it. So Gain-of-Function research has had no upsides and has every sort of downside we can imagine.


PT: So, just going back to the origins, assuming that it was something that was created in a lab, if it's not an animal in the market that could have caused this, but someone walking out of a lab could have, someone inadequately disinfected themselves or some sort of accidental release into the market could have been the source of this. Correct?


AL: Exactly. And we have good evidence now that that lab had poor biosecurity. There's a very good article in the Washington Post that reported on the cable from intelligence sources that went to the lab. They reported that this lab was essentially a pandemic waiting to happen. They said exactly that, that one of these organisms gets out and we will have a global coronavirus pandemic. They reported that. They explained how the staff was under-skilled, undertrained and they didn't have enough adequately trained skilled staff to run a BSL-4 laboratory, which is the highest security. And there are heaps of evidence all around the world of these organisms escaping out of laboratories, in virtually every country. There’s a very good paper published in Science, which is a high-level scientific journal, documenting numerous examples of these deadly organisms that have escaped, and essentially saying it's just been luck that we haven't had a deadly pandemic from one of these escapes.


PT: It's just luck that their key didn't fit our lock, really, is what you're saying.


AL: Or some of them like anthrax and smallpox, and other things could have really been a disaster. But they managed to get on top of it, in time. But this time it looks like the luck has run out.


PT: It's actually really frightening, you know, because we live our lives and we think everything's okay. And I think you've made a really important point that this time it happens to be the lab in China, but it's labs all over the world doing this research. And escapes are commonplace. It's terrifying. I think maybe that's one of the reasons people are sticking to the, "it came from bats," story, because that’s actually a more comforting narrative. "It was out of our control." "It's nothing to do with mankind." “Nature she's so unpredictable." But if you start looking at the fact that scientists could have created this, and then through lax security released it into the world, that's a 'whole lotta kettle of fish' that's much harder for a lot of people to swallow.


AL: Exactly. And if you look at who are the people who are saying this is natural, we're looking at the military, were looking at various government-funded research organizations—people or organizations who are actually involved in this Gain-of-Function research. They know if the truth came out, there'd be such public anger that this research would be stopped. And so it should be. I think one of the really important things that needs to come out of this, is that we need Gain-of-Function research stopped. This genetic modification of these viruses is wrong. It's creating new deadly organisms that have zero benefit. The only thing they're designed to do is kill people. And it not only is a waste of billions of dollars over the years, which could be used on much better things, it's now created the worst pandemic in our history. We need to prevent it ever happening again. Because believe me, we know there are far worse organisms sitting in these laboratories. If one of those escapes, it's going to make this COVID-19 look like a picnic.


PT: It's terrifying, and it brings me to the point that this research is kind of dribbling out. It’s being published in scientific journals, but it’s not necessarily being discussed in any kind of open or transparent way in the media. But is there also a problem with the way information has been kind of dribbled out of China as well? I mean is there a cover-up there, or is it just complete disorganization?


AL: It's been a coverup from day one, and we're unraveling it at the moment.


PT: And how do we know that?


AL: How do we know? We knew right from the beginning, China's working with the World Health Organization on this cover-up. They [the Chinese government] first admitted that there were a few cases of this new pneumonia. But they said it came from the seafood market, and that there was no evidence that it could be transmitted between humans, because it went directly from animals to humans. So, no need to worry about it. At the same time [the Chinese government] was saying that, and the World Health Organization was parroting China's claims, China was jailing the doctors who were reporting on this new pneumonia. We know one of those doctors died, in the end, a month later. He's a hero in China, and should be hero for the rest of us because he went out of his way, he was jailed for telling the truth. So, that's the first coverup.


We know that they covered up the first laboratory, this is on January the 11, that released the genome of this virus. Because before that they would not release the information on this virus to any other scientists in the world. Then a laboratory in Shanghai published the genetics of it so other scientists could study it. They closed that laboratory down the next day, on January 12, and silenced the scientists. We know in early February, a paper came out from two eminent scientists in China showing there were zero bats in the Huanan seafood market, and that the likely cause of this epidemic was a release from one of the two laboratories that were doing this research in Wuhan. Not just one, it's two doing this research. Then that paper got pulled, and the Chinese put pressure on all the academic sites that posted it. It's no longer online, but fortunately we have copies of it and we've kept it, as have other people. But those scientists have disappeared. Any scientist that's come out to try and tell the truth has disappeared or been silenced.


We can see the cover-up is still happening. They've closed down the Wuhan Institute of Virology. They will not allow any independent scientists in. The lab has been taken over by the military now. And also in China, any publication, anything said about this virus, has to go through their propaganda unit in Beijing. So, everything coming out of China now is pure propaganda, including any so-called "scientific study." It's officially edited and approved by the propaganda unit from Beijing. So, this is a grand-scale cover-up. And then the other evidence is, that when my country [Australia] proposed an independent investigation into the [origins of] the pandemic, [China] stopped all our imports of barley and meat, and starting putting trade pressure on us. However, as of last night the majority of countries in the world have agreed to an independent investigation into the source and cause of this [pandemic], and the cover-up.


PT:  It's interesting because we say that we should be led by the science, and yet scientists that come up with evidence that doesn't fit the narrative are silenced. It's not just with COVID-19, it's in all parts of science. So, I guess my question is, lot of people are saying this pandemic is an opportunity for change, for changing the way we live, changing the way we think, changing the way we act, and changing the way we farm. Do you believe that, and what do you think of the main lessons that we need to take away from this now? How can we be better prepared next time?


AL: I fully agree. This now is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us not to go back to business as normal, and to instead reinvent the Green New Deal. We need to start having an environmental economy, one that is caring, and I think really importantly open and transparent. What we're seeing is a lack of transparency and scientific transparency. We need openness. We need the real facts published. We don't need the media suppressing things. It's what's happening. The whole issue of Gain-of-Function, you will not see it in any mainstream media. And yet Gain-of-Function research is one of the biggest threats we face. Gain-of-Function research is the cause of this pandemic, and will be the cause of future and even worse pandemics unless we put a stop to it. And I think we need a global campaign to end this type of genetic engineering. This is a disaster. It has been predicted for a long time. Now it's happening and we're in the middle of it, and we need to make sure it never ever happens again. 


PT: André from your lips to God's ears. That's all I can say there. Thank you so much for going into such detail about this and for laying it out so clearly. Let's see what happens next. We're waiting for the next bit of information to come and help us be clear. So we may ask you back and talk a bit more about it.


AL: I think you will. What we're uncovering at the moment will clearly provide even more evidence about the day the accident happened. And we should have that clearly in a week or two, so I'll be very happy to come back and go into more detail about what happened, when it happened, and who did it.


PT: Fantastic! We'll look forward to that. Thank you so much.


AL: My pleasure. Ciao


Pat Thomas is a journalist and author of several books on health and environment including “Complete Wellness and What Works, What Doesn’t – The Guide to Alternative Healthcare.” She is also the editor at Natural Health News in the UK. See more on her website. Thomas frequently writes for the Organic Consumers Association. You can sign up here for OCA’s news and alerts.

Order Ronnie's New Book: Grassroots Rising

Get Local

Find News and Action for your state:
20% Off Mercola's Select Organic Cotton Bed Sheets and Towels and 20% Goes to Organic Consumers Association.