Introducing the latest inductee into our Gain-of-Function Hall of Shame: Peter Daszak.
On behalf of the U.S. government, often the military, Daszak and his teams scour the globe for animal pathogens, then bring them back to high-containment laboratories where they catalog, investigate and use genetic engineering and synthetic biology to make the pathogens more infectious, contagious, lethal or drug-resistant.
Daszak works in labs controlled by the U.S. Department of Defense, in countries in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa. Many of these labs are staffed by former biological weapons scientists. (See Arms Watch’s reports).
Daszak and other gain-of-function researchers justify their experiments this way: If/When an outbreak of a new virus occurs, they can compare it to the ones in their labs, and maybe glean how the novel virus emerged.
Critics of virus hunting say scientists like Daszak could make a greater contribution to human health by going after the viruses that commonly infect humans, not the ones that never have.
But that logic doesn't prevent Daszak from pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars to fund his gain-of-function experiments.
Do Daszak and his collaborators do it just for the money? Or do they have a bigger agenda? And why is the Pentagon constructing new laboratories around the globe, for the “consolidation and securing of pathogens?”