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Dr. Peter McCullough Mercola/Screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) – COVID-19 is a “biological weapon” for which the U.S. federal government is responsible, according to prominent COVID-establishment critic Dr. Peter McCullough.

An internist, cardiologist, and epidemiologist known for analyzing and commenting on developments in the COVID outbreak and the policy response, McCullough gave a recent interview to journalist Kristi Leigh to discuss the book he co-authored with John Leake, The Courage to Face COVID-19.

“It was a government operation that created SARS-CoV-2 and the spike protein,” McCullough declared. “It’s the U.S. government that did it. And they were working on the threat and working on the response … this was all planned … SARS-CoV-2 is a biological weapon.”

Early in the pandemic, the theory that COVID originated in a Chinese lab rather than nature was bitterly condemned as harmful misinformation. But by mid-2021, as evidence mounted, mainstream voices began to acknowledge it as a possibility.

Last May, Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee released a report finding “significant circumstantial evidence” that COVID spread from a leak at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), and Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has taken a leading role in investigating outgoing National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director and White House COVID adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci of his oversight in the U.S. government’s alleged role.

Under Fauci, NIAID approved funding for EcoHealth Alliance to explore gain-of-function (GOF) research, which entails intentionally strengthening viruses to better study their potential effects on coronaviruses at several sites, including WIV.

Fauci and his defenders insisted that the work NIAID approved was not gain-of-function research and could not have lead to COVID, but in January the conservative investigators of Project Veritas released documents they obtained showing that, before going to NIAID, EcoHealth previously pitched its funding request to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA), which rejected it on the grounds that the project would violate a preexisting moratorium on GOF research and failed to account for its potential risks.

Among those documents was an August 2021 report to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense by U.S. Marine Corps Major Joseph Murphy, a former DARPA fellow, who stated that “SARS-CoV-2 matches the SARS vaccine variants the NIH-EcoHealth program was making in Wuhan.”

Since then, leaked emails have revealed that top researchers with NIAID, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), London’s Wellcome Trust, and the Netherlands’ Erasmus University Medical Center were aware of the lab-leak possibility as early as February 2020 but feared publicly acknowledging would impair “science and international harmony.”

In May, NIH acting director Lawrence Tabak admitted to Congress that the agency restricted the availability of data on the early genomic sequences of COVID-19, information that could help settle the origins of the virus, at the request of scientists from Communist China.