WaPo's COVID-19 Origins Piece Is Just Another Laughable, Unscientific Cover for Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File

Just yesterday I compared Dr. Peter Daszak of the EcoHealth Alliance to a Bond villain, illustrating that Daszak has his had tentacles in every defense of the Wuhan Lab or the natural zoonotic mutation event theory. Daszak has been pulling strings from the shadows as the defense has been laid against the lab-leak theory, accounting for the unfolding Chinese cover-up and finger-pointing, looking more credible every day.

On Friday, The Washington Post published an opinion piece by two doctors titled “We may never know where the virus came from. But evidence still suggests nature.”  Before we get to who the two doctors are, let’s first start with the wildly laughable statements made in the article:

“Ironically, given the recent prominence of the lab escape theory, the questions the world wants answered about the virus — and the astonishingly fast development of the vaccines that can quash the pandemic — depend entirely on research conducted in labs like the Wuhan Institute of Virology and across the world over the past several decades.”

They’re right. Ironically, they act like the Wuhan Institute of Virology is the only place on the planet that this type of research is conducted and that research in other places on the planet cannot occur without the research at the Wuhan Lab. There has been no argument from anyone – to date – suggesting that the research conducted by US researchers on US soil should cease. The entirety of the questions raised publicly at this point question why US taxpayer funds are being used to fund what amounts to bioweapons research in a secretive lab thousands of miles away, in China.

The authors also ignore the fact that all of the research and the tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars of research conducted at these labs failed to identify this “likely natural” (LOL) mutation and that research did nothing to contribute to the treatment or vaccines for COVID-19.  It was effectively worthless, as previously pointed out here at RedState and by other scientists.

In a May 25, 2020 email to Dr. Ralph Baric and other leading officials in the defense against viral pathogens, Dr. Tracey McNamara, a Pathologist at Western University, voiced her frustrations regarding the continued research in this direction (emphasis and context added):

“The Federal govt has spent over $1 billion dollars in support of the Global Health Security Agenda to help developing nations create the capacity to detect/report/respond to pandemic threats. An additional $200 million was spent on the PREDICT project via USAID [and EcoHealth Alliance] looking for emerging viruses in bats, rats, and monkeys overseas. And now the Global Virome Project wants $1.5 billion dollars to run around the world hunting down every virus on the face of the earth. They will probably get funding. But none of these programs have made taxpayers safer right here at home.

McNamara Email to Baric

The next laughable statement from the WaPo piece:

“In March 2020, a group of renowned evolutionary virologists analyzed the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 and found it was overwhelmingly likely that this virus had never been manipulated in any laboratory. Like the earlier coronaviruses SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, they theorized, it “spilled over” from its natural reservoir host (bats) to a new one (humans).”

Sure, that was the theory put forward in a paper published in Nature magazine, primarily authored by Kristian Andersen, the director of infectious diseases at Scripps Research Institute. What the WaPo fails to mention is that the majority of the data used to perform that analysis was provided by Chinese doctors, including Shi Zhengli, of the Wuhan Insitute of Virology – and was very soon afterward proven incomplete. In fact, all of the studies that are linked to the structural layout of SARS-CoV-2 source data from primarily Chinese sources. Again, how could we expect China to own up to the fact that this could have been a leak from a lab?

Even more interesting is that an email from Andersen was found among the trove of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails released this week, issuing a warning that the virus showed some signs of potentially being engineered. Fauci responds by saying that they would “Talk soon on the call.” Guess who else was on that call? Representatives of EcoHealth Alliance. What couldn’t Fauci put in writing in response? He certainly had plenty of time to respond at length to people who weren’t questioning him. Why did he move the conversation about the lab-leak theory to a phone call? (hint: which of the two can be FOIA’d?)

Andersen Email to Fauci 1

It is interesting to see that a month later Andersen thanks Fauci for his “advice and leadership” on the Nature paper, and in reply, Fauci tells him “nice job on the paper.” See if you can read between the lines of Andersen’s message to Fauci and NIH Director Francis Collins and determine what happened on that call:

“Thank you again for your advice and leadership as we have been working through the SARS-CoV-2 ‘origins’ paper. We’re happy to say that the paper was just accepted by Nature Medicine and should be published shortly (not quite sure when).

“To keep you in the loop, I just wanted to share the accepted version with you, as well as a draft press release. We’re still waiting for proofs, so please let me know if you have any comments, suggestions, or questions about the paper or the press release.

“Tony, thank you for your straight talk on CNN last night – it’s being noticed”

Translation: “We’ve ensured that you’ll be happy with the paper that’s going to be published, but just to cover all of our bases here are the accepted version and a draft press release – if we need to change anything just let us know. Oh, and I picked up the message you were laying down on CNN last night.”

Andersen Email to Fauci 2

Back to the WaPo piece:

“The SARS-CoV-2 site has more of the hallmarks of sloppy natural evolution than a human hand. Indeed, a timely analysis last year showed convincingly that it is a product of genetic recombination, a natural feature of coronavirus replication and evolution.”

In debate, we call this a non-unique argument.  Certainly, genetic recombination can be a natural event, but as proven by the liturgy of studies conducted by scientists from Andersen to Zhengli that recombination is not only a natural event, in fact, recombinant viruses have been created at the Wuhan Institute of Virology through gain-of-function studies.  Frankly, for any doctor to be putting this in a publication as the only means of recombination either suggests a woeful lack of understanding of the field or an intentional act of misdirection.  Due to the authors’ unstated conflicts of interest (which will be later explained), one can only lean toward the latter.

Next, they cite the deeply flawed WHO origins mission report – a report even WaPo has trashed:

“The epidemiological evidence in the World Health Organization’s origins mission report from this spring further bolsters the natural-origin hypothesis.”

Do you mean the report that was written in part by EcoHealth Alliance’s Peter Daszak, solely based on the incomplete information provided by the Chinese Government? You don’t say! In fact, a letter co-authored by the father of gain-of-function research, Dr. Ralph Baric, calling for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, points out the WHO’s woefully lacking report:

Furthermore, the two theories were not given balanced consideration. Only 4 of the 313 pages of the report and its annexes addressed the possibility of a laboratory accident (4). Notably, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus commented that the report’s consideration of evidence supporting a laboratory accident was insufficient and offered to provide additional resources to fully evaluate the possibility (5).

There are no words for how laughable this next section is:

“There are still missing pieces of data, including those unlinked cases and inadequate animal sampling, but most of the data we do have points heavily toward natural origin.”

Yes, I am sure the missing pieces of data only have to deal with unlinked cases and inadequate animal sampling, and nothing to do, at all, with the fact that China has deleted copious amounts of public information and have denied investigators access to the Wuhan lab to investigate the matter.  Could a more disingenuous statement be made at this point?  Of course, the data you have suggests natural origin, because any other data suggesting otherwise has been filtered out, deleted, or otherwise ignored by the Chinese.

The doctors also decided to basically show the error of their logic, in a roundabout way:

“The Wuhan institute’s most recent chimeric virus used a very different coronavirus as its genetic backbone.”

Funny that the link to the chimeric virus study, (which again, is literally the creation of recombinant viruses, which the authors previously stated was only natural) is from a study done by the Wuhan Lab itself and not analyzed by any outside scientists. In fact, it is inarguable that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was conducting research on RaTG13, the closest genetic relative to SARS-CoV-2 before the outbreak of COVID-19.  While doctors like to claim the difference of 1,000 nucleotides between RaTG13, they fail to mention that 96.4% genomic code and over 28,500 nucleotides that the two do share.  Again, if you’re failing to mention these facts, what are you hiding?

The scientists also apparently don’t like Occam’s razor:

“It does seem like quite a coincidence that the pandemic started in Wuhan, which has one of the world’s leading coronavirus research labs, and that’s surely helped raise questions about a possible leak. But in addition to being a coronavirus research center, Wuhan is a city of 11 million people, home to a major transportation hub that is connected to every other part of China, as well as wildlife markets supplied by farms throughout the country. The presence of the lab in the city where the pandemic emerged is simply not suspicious enough on its own to outweigh what we know about the virus.”

Non-disclosure of a material fact is a form of misrepresentation.  While scientists defending the natural zoonotic event theory point to RaTG13 as the likely virus which mutated to SARS-CoV-2, they completely discount the fact that that mutation could have taken place at the lab which was conducting gain-of-function studies on that very viral strain. Furthermore, to accept a natural spillover event of RaTG13 (which killed several miners back in 2013), they would have to make the argument that the virus infected a human or animal, which then traveled 900 miles from the Yunnan Province to Wuhan, failing in infect a single person in all that distance, only to then infect someone just a short walk from the very lab where they were conducting research on that virus.

What about the authors?

While I certainly don’t want to keep beating a dead horse when it comes to connections to Peter Daszak, in the case of both authors of the WaPo piece, we aren’t talking about a “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” situation. In fact, the furthest degree of separation between these authors and Peter Daszak is two.

Angela L. Rasmussen is a virologist who studies at Georgetown University.  In January 2021, she published a piece defending the natural-mutation theory, in which she offers a defense of the EcoHealth Alliance.  At the end of the piece, she declares no conflicting interests, yet fails to mention that before she moved to Georgetown in 2020, she was an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health alongside our good friend, Peter Daszak.  She even has found herself the subject of a proposed preservation notice concerning an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, along with her old colleague, Peter Daszak.

Stephen Goldstein, a researcher at the University of Utah, studied under Daszak pal Susan Weiss, at the University of Pennsylvania from 2013 -2019 studying coronaviruses. He too authored a defense of the natural-mutation theory in May 2020, calling a lab-release theory an “evidence-free campaign” even though no independent investigation into the lab had yet taken place, nor has one taken place up until today.  As a reminder, Susan Weiss added her name to a piece she had neither authored nor contributed to, which sought to debunk the lab-leak theory in early February 2020.  That piece had been solicited by Peter Daszak.

Read into this what you will, but when it seems the same puppetmaster is behind all of the defense against a lab leak, you might want to start asking that puppetmaster some very serious questions.