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April 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Let’s start with the bats, the species known as Intermediate Horseshoe Bat, to be exact. The Chinese Communist authorities claim that the China Virus, called SARS-CoV-2, is a naturally occurring coronavirus that is carried by the Horseshoe Bat. They also claim that the virus “jumped” from its normal host to humans at the Wuhan “wet” market.
Both of these claims are demonstrably false.
Let’s start with the Wuhan “wet” market. As I told Jesse Watters on his FOX news show, “Watters World,” last week, if the “wet” market was actually “ground zero” for the outbreak, the authorities would have burned it to the ground. Instead, they have now reopened it.
It is an open secret in Wuhan that, as a team of researchers from Wuhan noted in late February, that there were no bats in the market and that direct transmission from bats to humans in the market was “unlikely.”
Two other researchers had reported the same thing a week earlier, namely, “[T]he bat was never a food source in the city and no bat was traded in the market.” But these researchers, both surnamed Xiao, went even further. They pointed out that there were bats in Wuhan–thousands of them—but they were being kept in two biolabs not far from the “wet” market where they were used for research purposes.
They identified the two labs as the Wuhan Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The Wuhan CDC is the national center for China’s bat coronavirus research. Wuhan Institute of Virology uses recombinant technology to create and study new coronaviruses. The conclusion of the two Doctors Xiao was that “somebody was entangled with the evolution of [SARS-CoV-2] … the killer coronavirus probably escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan.”
Their word choice is a little awkward because the researchers were writing in what is for them foreign language. But what they clearly mean is that the China Coronavirus now plaguing the planet is not the result of a natural recombination of two different viruses in nature through an intermediate host, as many claim. Rather it was deliberately engineered in the laboratory by joining parts of different viruses together using what is called recombinant technology.
More on the science of how this was done later. Right now all you need to know is that, within a few hours of its publication, their paper on “The possible origins of [SARS-CoV-2] coronavirus” was withdrawn. This same fate has since befallen several papers by Chinese authors who have attempted, at great risk to themselves, to reveal the truth about the origin of the outbreak to the world.
Now back to the bats.
China’s chief bat hunter is an employee of the Wuhan CDC named Tian Junhua. Mr. Tian’s full-time job since 2012 has been collecting bat viruses for research purposes. Over this time he collected thousands of live bats, as well as countless samples of bat urine and feces, from caves over six hundred miles distant from Wuhan. The tiny mammals obviously didn’t get to the city under their own power, but were trapped and transported to the two biolabs by the industrious Mr. Tian. As the two Drs. Xiao wryly noted, “The probability was very low for the bats to fly to the market.”
As a result of the efforts of Mr. Tian and others, China now boasts that it has “taken the lead” in global virus research. It claims to have discovered over 2,000 new viruses since the SARS Coronavirus epidemic of 2003. To give you a sense of the scale of China’s effort, the total number of viruses discovered over the last two hundred years is, at 2,284, only slightly more. China’s frenzied collection efforts have nearly doubled the total number of known viruses, and includes hundreds of new and possibly dangerous coronaviruses.
That’s a lot of potentially harmful pathogens to keep track of. But it is also a huge cache of coronaviruses to harvest parts and pieces from if you are looking to make an already deadly coronavirus even deadlier.
And that seems to be exactly what a group of researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, led by a woman named Shi Zhengli, may have been intent upon doing right up until the end of 2019.
We all know what happened then.
Shi Zhengli received her master’s degree from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 1990. After earning her Ph.D. in France, she returned to WIV to direct the Institute’s research project into bat coronaviruses. If Mr. Tian is China’s batman, Dr. Shi is China’s batwoman.
But Dr. Shi’s group was not content to merely study existing coronaviruses. They were also genetically engineering new ones. In a 2008 article in the Journal of Virology, she and her team described how they were genetically engineering SARS-like viruses from horseshoe bats to enable them to use angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to gain entry into human cells.
In other words, more than 10 years ago, Shi’s team was already creating entirely new and deadly coronaviruses. They did so by inserting that part of the dangerous SARS virus that allows it to infect people into a second bat coronavirus, which was then able to attack human cells just like the original SARS virus does.
But simply recreating a new SARS virus was only a first step. Shi and her team wanted to move beyond that to create completely new, and potentially even more deadly coronaviruses. For that she needed a new and more advanced recombinant technique. She may have found one in research being done at the University of North Carolina by Prof. Ralph S. Baric.
Prof. Baric had developed a technique for quickly and easily producing what he called “infectious clones.” This involves taking coronaviruses from horseshoe bats and genetically engineering them to more easily infect human cells.
Why would he–or anyone else for that matter–do such a thing?
Baric explains: “In 2013 preemergent SARS-like Coronaviruses were identified in horseshoe bats and found to be poised for entry into the human population. … preemergent coronaviruses (CoVs) pose a global threat that requires immediate intervention. Rapid intervention necessitates the capacity to generate, grow, and genetically manipulate infectious CoVs in order to rapidly evaluate pathogenic mechanisms, host and tissue permissibility, and candidate antiviral therapeutic efficacy.” (italics added)
Now all of this—preemergent coronaviruses … poised for entry … global threat … requires immediate intervention—all sounds very ominous. But what people need to understand is that the good professor is talking about coronaviruses that have not actually infected a single, living, breathing human being. Rather, he is talking about coronaviruses that might, possibly, at some point in the future, make the leap from bats to humans. Or they might not. Ever.
This means that the phrase “preemergent coronavirus” is at best misleading, at worst a fiction. It is a fiction because neither Prof. Baric, nor Dr. Shi Zhengli, nor anyone else, can possibly know whether any one of these naturally occurring viruses will ever infect a single human being.
In any event, Prof. Baric is very pleased to inform us, citing his own research, that “much of the [coronavirus] research over the last 15 years has been possible because of the capacity to generate infectious clones using highly efficient reverse genetics platforms, coupled with robust small animal models of human disease.”
In other words, he and his team used the technique they created to easily construct unnatural coronaviruses and see if they will infect and kill mice. Dr. Shi Zhengli collaborated with Baric in carrying out some of this research, as highlighted in a 2015 article in Nature Medicine in which they discussed bat coronaviruses that were potentially capable of infecting human beings.
Now, a sane person might think that the idea of creating dangerous new pathogens in the lab for which humanity had no acquired immunity, no vaccines, and no drug therapies might not be a good idea. The U.S. National Institutes of Health, under the direction of Dr. Anthony Fauci, however, initially funded Prof. Baric’s research.
But then Dr. Fauci had second thoughts. In late 2014 he sent a letter to the University of North Carolina, notifying the university that Prof. Baric’s research project may violate a new moratorium on risky virology studies involving influenza, MERS and SARS viruses.
The letter and the document from the “Public Health Emergency” office of HHS that it references, orders a pause on “Gain of Function” research into SARS-like coronaviruses. What is “Gain of Function” research, precisely? The document defines it as “research that improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease … [by] “confer[ing] attributes to … SARS [coronaviruses] such that the resulting virus has enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility (via the respiratory route) in mammals. … [that] may entail biosafety and biosecurity risks.”
The original scientific rationale for “enhancing” the ability of certain coronaviruses to infect and kill human beings was to get one step ahead of the net pandemic. “We will create superbugs in the lab,” the scientists said to themselves, “and we will learn how to defeat them by developing drug therapies and vaccines. Then when the next superbug emerges from nature, we will be ready.”
But what happens if you create a new superbug in the lab and, before you have devised a defense against it, it escapes from the lab. What then?
The consequences of unleashing such an “enhanced” coronavirus on the world—a pathogen for which human beings had no natural defenses, and for which human science had no treatments or vaccines—would be incalculable.
The U.S. pause on such research was not lifted until December 29, 2017, over three years later, when NIH put in place what it called “robust oversight” that considers the “scientific merits and potential benefits,” as well as the “potential to create … or use an enhanced potential pandemic pathogen.”
In other words, the brakes were put on the dangerous “gain-of-function” research being done in the U.S. for fear that it would “create” a pathogen that could, if it leaked from the lab, cause a pandemic. We decided that the risks associated with such research were generally not worth the benefits.
Not so in China, however. There, in Dr. Shi’s laboratory, the creation of dangerous “pathogens of pandemic potential” apparently went forward without pause or effective oversight. Communist China is not known for its concern for human life.
Since we are now dealing with exactly the kind of deadly and infectious SARS-like coronaviruses that scientists have been creating in the lab for at least the past ten years, it is reasonable to ask if the China Coronavirus is a naturally occurring virus. Or is it one of batwoman’s concoctions?
Virtually everyone now agrees that the China Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, leaked from Dr. Shi’s lab. But I would suggest that the virus itself is the product of Gain of Function research in which its potency was artificially “enhanced” to make it more infectious and more lethal using recombinant techniques first developed in the U.S., perhaps at Prof. Baric’s lab. The leak was an accident. The “enhancement” was deliberate.
On March 30th of this year, an unusual, unsigned “Editor’s Note” was added to Shi and Baric’s original article in Nature Medicine. The oddly worded note read: “We are aware that this article is being used as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 was engineered. There is no evidence that this is true; scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus.”
Actually, the “most likely source” of the coronavirus is not just one animal but two, whose distinct but related species of coronaviruses were isolated from their hosts and then pieced together in the lab using recombinant technology to create a new and much more infectious variety.
* * *
In Part II I will review the evidence that the novel coronavirus is the result of what Chinese researchers themselves have called an “unusual insertion” in a Horseshoe Bat coronavirus that may have come from a Pangolin coronavirus.
Steven W. Mosher @StevenWMosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s “Dream” is the New Threat to World Order.
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