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(LifeSiteNews) — Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has responded to a bombshell Project Veritas investigation, insisting it “has not conducted gain of function or directed evolution research” despite comments from an apparent Pfizer contractor caught on undercover video.

On Wednesday evening, Veritas released a video in which Jordon Trishton Walker, identified as a Director of Research and Development for Strategic Operations and mRNA Scientific Planning at Pfizer, tells an undercover reporter that COVID-19 has been a “cash cow” for the company, and said it may be looking into creating mutant strains of the virus in order to “preemptively develop new vaccines” though that’s “not what we say to the public.”

“Promise you won’t tell anyone,” Walker asks in the video, going on to dispute the politically explosive “gain of function” label (which entails intentionally strengthening viruses to better study their potential effects) in favor of “directed evolution,” which he insists is a sufficiently “slow” form of exploration.

“The way it would work is that we put the virus in monkeys, and we successively cause them to keep infecting each other, and we collect serial samples from them,” he says.

Following release of the video, some questioned whether Walker ever actually worked at Pfizer (Veritas founder James O’Keefe and others have since produced documentation indicating he did), or whether, in the words of British activist and podcaster Maajid Nawaz, “Pfizer may have set the entire thing up for a misdirection that could eventually be disproven.”

On Friday evening, Pfizer issued a press release ostensibly to “set the record straight.”

“Working with collaborators, we have conducted research where the original SARS-CoV-2 virus has been used to express the spike protein from new variants of concern,” the company said. “This work is undertaken once a new variant of concern has been identified by public health authorities. This research provides a way for us to rapidly assess the ability of an existing vaccine to induce antibodies that neutralize a newly identified variant of concern. We then make this data available through peer reviewed scientific journals and use it as one of the steps to determine whether a vaccine update is required.” 

“In addition, to meet U.S. and global regulatory requirements for our oral treatment, PAXLOVID™, Pfizer undertakes in vitro work (e.g., in a laboratory culture dish) to identify potential resistance mutations to nirmatrelvir, one of PAXLOVID’s two components,” Pfizer went on. “With a naturally evolving virus, it is important to routinely assess the activity of an antiviral. Most of this work is conducted using computer simulations or mutations of the main protease–a non-infectious part of the virus. In a limited number of cases when a full virus does not contain any known gain of function mutations, such virus may be engineered to enable the assessment of antiviral activity in cells. In addition, in vitro resistance selection experiments are undertaken in cells incubated with SARS-CoV-2 and nirmatrelvir in our secure Biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratory to assess whether the main protease can mutate to yield resistant strains of the virus.”

“It is important to note that these studies are required by U.S. and global regulators for all antiviral products and are carried out by many companies and academic institutions in the U.S. and around the world,” the statement added.

Dr. Robert Malone, a mRNA technology pioneer and prominent COVID-19 establishment critic, called the “word salad” statement “like renaming a child kidnapping and claiming it was an impromptu adoption.” 

He suggested it was no more than a “smarmy attempt by Pfizer to normalize everything as rare but necessary for their development process,” and noted that it “only denies directed evolution as a component of vaccine development, but leaves that research door open for ongoing research supporting Paxlovid,” adding that it contains “no direct response suggesting that Mr. Walker was lying,” and “literally admitted to outsourcing the research that would be considered a grey area for Pfizer to do themselves.”

Following the original report, Veritas released a second video in which Walker reacts strongly to being confronted by O’Keefe, calling the police and threatening to sue him. In that video, Walker says he was only a contractor and “not even a scientist by background,” and retracted his claims about mutating virus by claiming he had been “lying” to try to impress the journalist, with whom he had thought he had been on a date.

Republican lawmakers including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida are currently demanding answers from the drug company about the situation.