Chinese authorities have finally admitted SARS-CoV-2 did not originate in a Wuhan wet market,1 but that’s about as far as we’ve gotten to getting an official answer to the question about where the virus came from. Many valid questions are being raised, and have continued to be raised about the possibility that it is in fact manmade.
Evidence indicating it is an engineered virus include the Antiviral Research paper2 “The Spike Glycoprotein of the New Coronavirus 2019-nCoV Contains a Furin-Like Cleavage Site Absent in CoV of the Same Clade,” published in April 2020, and “Furin, a Potential Therapeutic Target for COVID-19,”3,4 posted in February 2020.
According to these papers, SARS-CoV-2 is the only coronavirus with a furin cleavage site. Not even distant relatives of SARS-CoV-2 have it, and the coronaviruses that do have it share only 40% of SARS-CoV-2’s genome.5,6Attempts have, however, been made to introduce a furin cleavage site onto the spike of a coronavirus, and successfully so.7
While neither of these papers makes any claims about how this gain-of-function might have come about, others have pointed out that this novel function couldn’t possibly have arisen naturally. I summarized Chris Martenson’s8 and Yuri Deigin’s9 reviews of these findings in “The Smoking Gun Proving SARS-CoV-2 Is an Engineered Virus.”
Others have pointed out that viruses can easily be manipulated and altered using low-tech methods that do not leave telltale signs of genetic insertion or interference. One such method is known as “passaging.” As reported by Independent Science News:10
“Passaging is the placing of a live virus into an animal or cell culture to which it is not adapted and then, before the virus dies out, transferring it to another animal or cell of the same type. Passaging is often done iteratively.
The theory is that the virus will rapidly evolve (since viruses have high mutation rates) and become adapted to the new animal or cell type. Passaging a virus, by allowing it to become adapted to its new situation, creates a new pathogen.
The most famous such experiment11 was conducted in the lab of Dutch researcher Ron Fouchier. Fouchier took an avian influenza virus (H5N1) that did not infect ferrets (or other mammals) and serially passaged it in ferrets. The intention of the experiment was specifically to evolve a PPP [potential pandemic pathogen].
After ten passages the researchers found that the virus had indeed evolved, to not only infect ferrets but to transmit to others in neighboring cages. They had created an airborne ferret virus, a Potential Pandemic Pathogen, and a storm in the international scientific community.”
Why SARS-CoV-2 Origin Matters
In a June 3, 2020, Telegraph interview,12,13 former MI6 chief (yes, folks the same MI6 in James Bond movies) Sir Richard Dearlove discussed a scientific report that suggests key elements of the virus were strategically inserted to make it infectious to humans.
According to The Telegraph,14,15 Dearlove “believes the coronavirus pandemic ‘started as an accident’ when the virus escaped from a laboratory in China.” If proven true, it could have significant economic ramifications for China. It may even be called on to pay reparations for the economic devastation caused by the pandemic around the world.
That said, it’s important to recognize that the issue of SARS-CoV-2’s origin is not a racial, cultural or political one. The real issue here is whether or not dangerous gain-of-function research is wise and whether it should be allowed to continue — anywhere.
For years, such research has been conducted all over the world, and it’s no longer a secret the U.S. funded the research in China that is now suspected of being the source of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of course, the U.S. doesn’t want to implicate its own agencies in the creation of this virus, which is why government officials focus on the source of the leak — China — rather than the fact that it’s engineered. Clearly, if it’s engineered, everyone associated with its creation, including those funding it, would be responsible.
So, please, when discussing the origin of SARS-CoV-2, let us be crystal clear on what the problem is, namely dangerous bioweapons/biodefense research, not the Chinese population or its government per se. We need to point the finger at ALL researchers — regardless of the location of the laboratory — involved in these kinds of experiments.
If SARS-CoV-2 is an engineered manmade virus, it is proof positive that gain-of-function research poses tremendous risks to humanity and that those risks far exceed any potential gain. Virtually all other threats to humanity — environmental toxins, pesticides, GMOs, pollution — pale in comparison to the danger posed by biodefense/bioweapons research.
Gain-of-Function Research Is Not Worth the Risk
“Gain-of-function” refers to experiments in which a pathogen is altered to give it new or added functionality, such as the ability to infect humans, when before it could not, or increased infectiousness or lethality, for example.
In reality, this kind of research does not appear to have improved governments’ pandemic responses at all. As noted in the 2016 paper,17 “Gain-of-Function Research: Ethical Analysis,” even if gain-of-function research were to lead to improved and effective control measures, laboratory accidents or “malevolent action” in which souped-up pathogens are released can result in casualties numbering in the millions.
We’ve now also seen what it can do to economies around the world. Biosafety level 3 and 4 facilities around the world have suffered repeated safety lapses,18,19 so it was really just a matter of time before something got out that had the ability to rapidly spread.
As noted in a 2013 paper,20 “controllability of escape events is not guaranteed and, given the rapid increase of biosafety laboratories worldwide, this poses a serious threat to human health.”
Indeed, the risk of a laboratory release is rather immense. As reported in the paper “The Consequences of a Lab Escape of a Potential Pandemic Pathogen,” published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health in 2014:21
“The first Department of Homeland Security risk assessment for the planned National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas estimated a significantly higher escape risk, over 70% likelihood for the 50-year life of the facility, which works out to be a basic probability of escape, p1 = 2.4% per year.
The National Research Council overseeing the risk assessment remarked ‘The … estimates indicate that the probability of an infection resulting from a laboratory release of FMDv from the NBAF in Manhattan, Kansas approaches 70% over 50 years … with an economic impact of $9-50 billion.
The committee finds that the risks and costs could well be significantly higher than that…’ While the DHS subsequently lowered the escape risk to 0.11% for the 50-year lifetime, the NRC committee was highly critical of the new calculations:
‘The committee finds that the extremely low probabilities of release are based on overly optimistic and unsupported estimates of human error rates, underestimates of infectious material available for release, and inappropriate treatment of dependencies, uncertainties, and sensitivities in calculating release probabilities.’ We have more trust in the NRC committee conclusions, as they have no skin in the game.”
Yet another paper, published in May 2016 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases noted:22
“The recent safety lapses at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NIH that could have resulted in exposure to anthrax and smallpox, respectively, have diminished public confidence in the ability of even high-containment laboratories to mitigate the risk of accidental release of pathogens of potential harm ...
Public tolerance of that risk may be the ultimate determinant of what types of research are allowed to proceed … As recent lapses at high profile laboratories have illustrated, there remains the potential that bacterial and viral strains can escape even the most secure environments.”