In a stunning revelation last week, the National Institutes of Health admitted in a new letter to Rep. Comer (R-KY) that the NIH was indeed funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology through the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance. The letter also found that EcoHealth Alliance violated the terms of their grant, requesting that the organization report back on a lab outcome that created a more virulent (more transmissible and deadly) strain of a bat coronavirus.
The experiment found that humanized laboratory mice that were infected with hybrid or chimeric viruses created in the lab became sicker than those mice infected with either of those base viruses. When this result occurred, EcoHealth Alliance was required to notify the NIH of the development, which could have put future funding in jeopardy until which time new biosafety requirements were introduced. EcoHealth Alliance did not. The NIH gave EcoHealth Alliance five days to update its reports. I have voiced my skepticism that EcoHealth Alliance would ever openly admit that they potentially created a global pandemic.
While it has been reported numerous times here at RedState that an unannounced or reported deviation could have been the same sort of accident that led to not only the creation of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak, EcoHealth Alliance’s President, Dr. Peter Daszak, has been leading the charge against the lab leak theory, denying its potential as early as January 2020. Daszak and his loyalists drafted a letter published in The Lancet scientific journal, denying the lab leak theory and characterizing the consideration of it as racist.
What complicates this latest NIH letter is their blatant admission that the use of chimeric viruses occurred, while only considering the base viruses as a means for judging the genetic similarities to SARS-CoV-2. They know that gain-of-function research was being conducted, and they know that viruses must undergo gain-of-function lab manipulation in order to create these chimeric viruses. Yet, when they compare SARS-CoV-2 to known viruses, they fail to include the potential that those base viruses may have been manipulated in a lab. In doing so, they use that truth to eliminate other possibilities.
Certainly, for a virus mutating in nature, or spontaneously in a lab, to jump thousands of nucleotides to create a new virus, is unlikely if not genetically impossible. A virus that is genetically modified in a lab through gain of function research, can, however, be modified beyond that evolutionary barrier. There have not been many who have argued that any base or unmanipulated viruses caused the COVID-19 pandemic, the very argument which the NIH unwittingly attempts to make with this latest letter. What appears to be an admission they believed would satisfy many is actually another failed attempt to misdirect with half-truths and intentional misinformation. What they attempt to do is separate gain-of-function research, which they admit is being performed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and the viruses on which they could have been performing this research, in determining the source viruses for SARS-CoV-2.
Yes, it would be nearly impossible for RaTG13, the virus hypothesized to be the base virus for SARS-CoV-2 with which it shares 96.2% of its genomic code, to jump over 1,000 nucleotides to a new virus naturally within a short period and within a small geographic area. But even more unlikely would be that RaTG13, which was found in a cave in the Yunnan Province in 2013, would infect a single person or animal, travel 900 miles without infecting a soul or another animal, mutate to become SARS-CoV-2 within that time and within either one or a very few hosts, to start and create the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan. The impossibility that this jumped naturally is the only potential the NIH is considering regarding RaTG13; that, or that the base virus was accidentally released from the lab and then impossibly mutated.
Again, the NIH has admitted that they funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and that that type of research was being conducted on bat coronaviruses including SARS viruses. They admit that that research created viruses that were more deadly and virulent than their base viruses and differed by more than 5% of the genetic code of their genomic base virus or viruses. Yet, when it comes to RaTG13, they either fail to or intentionally exclude the fact that gain-of-function research could have ever been performed on this virus and that the resulting virus could have ever been SARS-CoV-2. Not only is this unscientific, but it is also flat-out misinformation and likely an intentional effort to mislead Congressional investigators. As I have found over the last several months, the most ignored potential is likely the most prevailing theory.
My only hope is that a more thorough investigation is coming, that removes the potentially culpable parties from the process, and we might finally be able to get to the bottom of this mess.