Prometheus & Pandora III: The Apocryphal Origin of SARS-CoV-2
The 'Consensus' of scientists supporting a zoonotic origin for COVID-19 is a false premise
I felt it was appropriate to preface this analysis with a tribute:
On March 17, 2020, the esteemed journal Nature published a research article that laid out the central argument for a zoonotic emergence as the likely trigger of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2 went on to become one of the two most-cited articles of the pandemic, referenced 1,316 times and viewed more than 5.27 million in total:
For the uninitiated, that’s a lot of exposure for a scientific article; in the neighborhood of what you might expect if an article proving the existence of the ‘Force’ was published - and written by Yoda himself.
Unfortunately, level of attention doesn’t always correlate with accuracy or veracity, and after a year of ‘findings’ [and 2.8M deaths] most of the evidence that’s been discovered has undercut nearly every aspect of its argument.
A general synopsis could include:
The RaTG13 sequence that forms the basis of the zoonotic hypothesis may have been fabricated itself [a collection of sources for RaTG13]
The market hypothesis cannot account for the sequences of the earliest known cases
The case for pangolins as the intermediate host species appears to rest on articles that sampled from the same animal
The WHO’s own investigation [wholly researched and partially written by the Chinese] found no pre-pandemic evidence of of COVID-19 in more than 60,000 animal samples, 70,000 suspect pneumonia cases prior to December 2019, no evidence of multiple jumps during the transmission to humans, etc.
No evidence of an earlier sequence than WH04 exists[which appears to have been uploaded three weeks after being taken in an attempt to obscure its origin as having been taken from a patient at the nearest hospital to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)]
No other examples of a CoV within the sub-genera Sarbecovirus of a species/strain that shows evidence of insertion of a polybasic furin cleavage site (FCS)
More and more examples of lab contamination of samples published by the WIV
Multiple analyses have shown that SARS-CoV-2 binds more tightly to human cells than any other mammal species, while bats are at the opposite end of that scale
Among a dozen other major evidentiary concerns
In almost every case, the zoonotic claim/criticism of a lab leak have been driven by the same core group of scientists that have been heavily involved in gain-of-function (GOF) research on coronaviruses (CoV) for more than a decade. Peter Daszak has been raising funds via his non-profit EcoHealth Alliance with the explicit aim of furthering gain-of-function research, as if it were the only way to develop vaccines for emerging pandemic threats. A large portion of the grants he’s procured have gone to the WIV, and he has personally assisted in their research several times over 15 years.
One of the many projects that Daszak has worked to draw attention away from was the joint research between the WIV and the UNC-Chapel Hill lab of Ralph Baric; as the GOF debate raged in 2014 [ultimately resulting in a partial ban on the riskiest influenza and CoV experiments], Baric was teaching advanced techniques to Zheng-Li Shi herself! The joint research, which had been ‘grandfathered’ despite the ban that took effect in late 2014, gave Shi enough insight to trigger similar experiments back home in Wuhan - literally driving innovation and ‘keeping the engine running’ as American scientists stalled until the moratorium was lifted in 2017.
Funded by EcoHealth Alliance, of course.
One of the repeating themes of this saga, however, is the fact that none of our unholy trinity of Shi, Daszak and Baric has expended much effort in even pretending to care about restrictions and standards, especially since 2014. In the video below [one of the sessions of a working group debating the potential moratorium, the esteemed David Relman asked Baric directly if his research would involve gain-of-function tweaks that could increase the danger of CoVs to humans [minutes 41-48, if the bookmark doesn’t load]. Mark Denison, another CoV research giant, adds emphasis to Baric’s emphatic ‘no:’
I’d add a Spoiler Alert warning here, but everyone only needs 1 guess to answer the question "what experiment did Baric do next?" His 2015 paper describes how he took humanized mouse models and used them to create a chimeric CoV virus - just as he and Denison had sworn wasn’t being considered, and wouldn’t be unless a viable need emerged in the future:
A correction was submitted in 2016, to add in the fact that EcoHealth Alliance had provided the funding for the research. Stunningly, Baric added another correction in May 2020, to add the sequence from the chimeric mouse CoV that had never been uploaded to Genbank for reference. Just as the WIV frequently did, Baric never bothered to upload sequences for his groundbreaking work, at least until it was noticed in the early months of the pandemic. This is highly unusual and rare, because one of the requirements for publication in every area of science is making your data available so that others can reproduce and verify your results. It’s even more disturbing because Ralph Baric has been a key member of the federal government’s advisors
Zheng-Li Shi (ZLS) had worked with Baric in NC, practicing advanced passaging techniques and chimera development, and then returned to Wuhan in 2014/15 to apply those lessons to her own collection of CoVs - which happens to be the largest collection of bat CoVs in the world.
Did you know that the difference between ‘speculation’ & ‘science’ is dependent upon who is making the claim? Me neither. In retrospect, it’s been hard to find examples of the ‘consensus’ Daszak has referenced that don’t include interventions from his inner circle of collaborators.
In research, it seems to really be all about WHO you know, and who’s paying you to know it. Statesmen, diplomats, WMD professionals [formerly myself] and scientists not in the field of virology have been stunned by the unwillingness of the WHO or virologists to consider the possibility of COVID-19 having leaked from a lab, but it’s much less surprising when you realize that the potential defendants have colluded to control the investigation of themselves.
And by “colluded to control,” I mean to control the entire narrative -
from the paper announcing COVID-19 to the world [Shi, with the 1st sequence]
1 letter to the National Security Council [see my exclusive article that exposed Dr. Fauci & the NIH’s direct coordination to protect GOF research]
2 public letters literally ghost-written by Daszak et al
The Proximal Origin paper
Several Daszak interviews on cable news and in newspapers
Two early research papers supporting pangolins as the intermediate host species of a zoonotic jump
A letter signed by 77 Nobel Prize laureates calling for the re-instatement of EcoHealth Alliances funding, which had been cut by the NIH in April [coordinated by Daszak]
A letter signed by the presidents of 31 leading Academic Societies, also protesting the cut of EcoHealth Alliance’s funding [and also coordinated by Daszak]
Daszak’s presence on both the WHO and Lancet teams investigating the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan [he’s actually been named the leader of the latter group]
Daszak’s assistance to the WIV by cutting off inquiries into the removal of WIV’s main databases [containing more than a thousand CoV sequences, mostly unpublished] in September 2019, and the specific removal of the primary remaining one by Zheng-Li Shi on December 30, 2019, immediately after being ordered to return to Wuhan.
Daszak’s assistance in drafting the WHO’s 300-page report on their [lack of] findings while investigating in Wuhan
And the large-scale censorship of all articles openly discussing the possibility of a lab-leak origin for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which the researchers of D.R.A.S.T.I.C. finally succeeded in piercing last fall, with a growing mountain of evidence.
Virtually all of the 2020 investigative journalism/research into the Wuhan Institute of Virology that I came across [while researching and writing independently about the theory] was directly or indirectly tied to D.R.A.S.T.I.C.'s discoveries, and their efforts have finally begun to bear fruit. From the open letter published in the Wall Street Journal to last week’s 60 minutes interview, appearances on The Joe Rogan Experience, Fox News and other outlets across the globe [some examples below], the palpable tsunami of momentum can be traced back to ripples that appeared more than a year ago:
There is so much evidence implicating the WIV that only a portion of the links can even fit into Substack’s article size limit - such as disturbing implications of mutations within COVID-19's genome that hint at vaccine development gone wrong, and the discovery of potential vaccine markers in the very 1st patient samples from Wuhan, collected in December 2019. However, as I wrote in part II of Prometheus & Pandora, the failure of the global community to fully investigate all possible origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s emergence into humanity is ‘too big to contemplate:’
The 21st century has seen the continued acceleration of technological advancement [most effectively predicted by Ray Kurzweil], along with the attendant dichotomy of remarkable progress towards the elimination of global poverty (down 90% in recent decades) and increasing social turmoil sparked [in part] by the disorienting impact of so much rapid change in so many aspects of daily human life.
The COVID-19 pandemic is, in many ways, as much a symptom of humanity’s growing pains as it is a consequence of the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Because of the stunning impact COVID-19 has had upon human civilization, superficial analyses of the pandemic’s origins are not just unsuitable - they could dangerously obscure the fundamental lessons humanity should be learning from this shared tragedy.
Sometimes the truth may sound ridiculous, but truth should never be judged according to what it sounds like - it should be judged according to what it is.
*From the top photo: L-R: Zheng-Li Shi, Peter Daszak, Peter Ben Embarek & Ralph Baric. Picture Frames: Xi Xinping & Mark Denison. TV: The Messiah
~[My ‘living and breathing’ list of 349+ lab-leak sources is here....; 200+ more have been compiled, but I haven’t had time to add the links for them yet]
~~For any recovering former members of ‘the consensus,’ or as a reward for making it through the full WHO report sans emesis, I’ve provided some therapy via Heather Heying & Bret Weinstein.