By JOHN LEAKE
Author’s Note: The following is Chapter III in a four-part series about the true origin of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19 illness. Please also see Chapter I: Background and Context, and Chapter II: Creating Chimeric Viruses That Will Infect Humans. If you find this post interesting and informative, please become a paid subscriber. For just $5.00 per month, you can support us in our ongoing effort to ascertain and report the truth about our confusing world.
CHAPTER III: CATASTROPHE, COVERUP, AND THE GREAT CHARADE
While Congress has demonstrated a conspicuous lack of rigor in examining the role played by American scientists and institutions in creating SARS-CoV-2, some representatives have taken a fairly hard look at China’s role in the disaster. Republican Michael T. McCaul, lead minority member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a report on the Origins of COVID-19: An Investigation of the Wuhan Institute of Virology that is worth reading in full. An especially intriguing section of the report pertains to the WIV’s Disappearing Database:
The Disappearing Database
On September 12, 2019 the WIV’s online, public database of samples and virus sequences was taken offline in the middle of the night between 2:00AM and 3:00AM local time. The database contained more than 22,000 entries consisting of sample and pathogen data collected from bats and mice. The database contained key information about each sample, including what type of animal it was collected from, where it was collected, whether the virus was successfully isolated, the type of virus collected, and its similarity to other known viruses.
To date, there has been no consistent answer provided as to why the database was removed or when or if it will be put back online. Shi is listed as the data correspondence author for the project. When questioned about the database being taken offline, Shi has given several conflicting answers. During a December 2020 interview with BBC, Shi said the database was taken offline for “security reasons” after cyberattacks against the work and personal emails of WIV staff. She also insisted that WIV virus sequences were saved in the GenBank database, run by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Shi stated, “It's completely transparent. We have nothing to hide." In a January 26, 2021 email to someone inquiring about the database, however, Shi stated the database was taken down due to cyberattacks “during [the] COVID-19 pandemic.” She also claimed that researchers had “only entered a limit[ed] data in this database” despite it having more than 22,000 entries.
In an apparent contradiction of her BBC interview, Shi admitted that “access to the visitors is limited,” but maintains: …all our work regarding the different type of bat coronavirus (partial sequences or full-length genome sequences) have been published and the sequence and sample information have been submitted to GenBank. At the end of her email, Shi writes, “I’ll not answer any of your questions if your curiosity is based on the conspiracy of ‘man made or lab leak of SARS-CoV-2’ or some non-sense questions based on your suspicion. No trust, no conversation” (emphasis added).
The WIV’s “Disappearing Database” is one of many moments in this strange saga in which it is implied that our Leviathan intelligence apparatus in Washington wasn’t paying attention to what was going on in Wuhan—a large modern city in which the United States, France, and Great Britain have consulates that are doubtless full of human intelligence assets.
In fact, it’s hard to imagine that someone who works in the Bio-Surveillance side of U.S. or French or British intelligence wasn’t watching the the Wuhan Institute of Virology, whose lead researcher had been the recipient of cutting edge French and U.S. biotechnology. To my knowledge, no one in the French or U.S. governments has seriously tackled the question of WHY sophisticated biotechnology of potentially vast commercial and military value was shared with a Chinese institution, given China’s well-known practice of stealing intellectual property and its ambition to become a dominant world power.
A good investigator would examine the hypothesis that a lab leak was suspected and confirmed in the weeks prior to September 12, 2019, and that someone in the western Bio-Pharmaceutical Complex or the WHO office in China learned about it.
Six days after the WIV database disappeared, on September 18, 2019, a report titled A World At Risk was published by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, which was founded in 2018 by the World Bank Group and the World Health Organization.
The report’s title page is illustrated with an image of a coronavirus, and its text is an urgent call to action for the world to invest far more in preparedness for a respiratory viral pandemic. As the report states on page 8:
What is most notable about the report is that it mentions NOTHING about the need to invest in bolstering bio-laboratory safety. It expressly warns about the threat of a lethal respiratory pathogen “accidentally or deliberately released,” but its entire call to action is to invest a fortune to responding to such a pathogen instead of preventing it from being released in the first place.
The report is based on a Sept. 10, 2019, study prepared by a Johns Hopkins team for the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, which includes Antony Fauci, Jeremy Farrar (head of the Wellcome Trust) and George Gao (Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention from August 2017 to July 2022).
About six weeks later, October 19, 2019, the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Security, in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum, conducted a Pandemic Simulation Exercise. As Johns Hopkins described the event:
The center’s latest pandemic simulation, Event 201, dropped participants right in the midst of an uncontrolled coronavirus outbreak that was spreading like wildfire out of South America to wreak worldwide havoc. As fictional newscasters from “GNN” narrated, the immune-resistant virus (nicknamed CAPS) was crippling trade and travel, sending the global economy into freefall. Social media was rampant with rumors and misinformation, governments were collapsing, and citizens were revolting.
Note that in this simulation, the “uncontrolled coronavirus outbreak” originates in South America and not in China, even though that latter country had long been regarded as the likely location of the next coronavirus outbreak. This strikes me as a rather crude misdirection.
It seems very unlikely that the above events in September and October of 2019—just a few months before SARS-CoV-2 was officially detected and announced—were just a coincidence. To be sure, many of the people who were privy to these events were not fully aware of what was going on. Full knowledge was probably limited to a handful of intelligence and public health officials in China and the United States.
As was noted in Chapter II of this four-part series, a conspicuous feature of the development timeline for Moderna’s mRNA-1273 is a MATERIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT (see pages 105-107) from NIAID/Moderna (“Provider”) to Ralph Baric (“Research Recipient”). The Agreement specifies the transfer of “mRNA coronavirus vaccine candidates developed and jointly owned by NIAID and Moderna” to Dr. Baric “to perform challenge studies with the mRNA vaccine.” Dr. Baric signed the Agreement on December 12, 2019—19 days before the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission informed the WHO China Country Office of “cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China on December 31, 2019, and 24 days before the genome of SARS-CoV-2 was published on January 5, 2020.
The genome was officially published by Chinese authorities on January 11, 2020. Two days later, on January 13, Moderna “finalized the sequence for mRNA-1273, the Company’s vaccine against the novel coronavirus.”
This raises the suspicion that NIAID, Moderna, and Ralph Baric became aware of the SARS coronavirus outbreak long before it was officially announced on December 31, 2019.
DR. FAUCI E-MAILS WITH JEREMY FARRAR AND VIROLOGIST FRIENDS
On January 31, 2020, Anthony Fauci received an E-mail from Jeremy Farrar, Director of the UK’s Wellcome Trust.
“Tony, really would like to speak with you this evening,” he wrote.
“Will call shortly,” came an emailed response from Fauci’s assistant.
Farrar then wrote to Fauci: “Thanks Tony. Can you phone Kristian Anderson [sic] … He is expecting your call now. The people involved are: Kristian Anderson … Bob Garry … Eddie Holmes.” Farrar was referring to the eminent virologists Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research, Robert Garry of Tulane University, and Edward Holmes of the University of Sydney.”
Fauci had his phone call with Andersen that night, and what he heard clearly disturbed him. In an email to Farrar after the call, he wrote the following: “I told [Andersen] that as soon as possible he and Eddie Holmes should get a group of evolutionary biologists together to examine carefully the data to determine if his concerns are validated. He should do this very quickly and if everyone agrees with this concern, they should report it to the appropriate authorities. I would imagine that in the USA this would be the FBI and in the UK it would be MI5.”
What made Dr. Fauci so concerned that he thought it possibly warranted getting law enforcement involved? The answer doubtless lies in the e-mail that Kristian Andersen wrote to him that same night:
The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome (<0.1%) so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered,” Andersen wrote in the email. “I should mention,” he added, “that after discussions earlier today, Eddie, Bob, Mike and myself all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.
In another e-mail, Jeremy Farrar reported that Michael Farzan was “70:30” or “60:40” in favor of an “accidental-release” explanation and that “Bob”— an apparent reference to Robert Garry — was also surprised by the presence of a furin cleavage site in this virus. Farrar quoted Bob saying: “I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature. … it’s stunning.”
As was further reported in the Intercept:
Thus began a scramble to probe in private the origin of SARS-CoV-2. The following day, Saturday, February 1, Farrar organized a conference call with Fauci, Andersen, Holmes, Garry, and several other scientists, including Andrew Rambaut of the University of Edinburgh and Ron Fouchier, a prominent Dutch virologist whose work experimenting with the H5N1 influenza virus has sparked controversy in the past. Also invited on the call were Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser to the U.K. government, and Collins. This “close knit group,” as Farrar later described it, was to treat their discussion “in total confidence.”
Fauci spent part of the morning before the 2 p.m. ET conference call brushing up on what sorts of grants and collaborations his agency was involved in with research institutions in China. In an email to his deputy Hugh Auchincloss, he wrote: “It is essential that we speak this AM. Keep your cell phone on. … You will have tasks today that must be done.”
Here it is worth noting that Fauci, Farrar, and their virologist friends are not only communicating by E-mail, but also making references to communicating by phone. It is likely they were aware of the fact that their E-mails might someday be subpoenaed, so the content of their phone conversations was probably more alarming.
Conspicuously absent from this pow-wow was Ralph Baric, who, as everyone else on the thread well knew, was the world’s foremost authority on SARS CoVs. During the same period these guys were corresponding and chatting with each other, Baric was working on a paper with Christian Drosten (a leading virologist at Berlin’s Charite University Hospital) and other virologists to describe the precise taxonomy of the novel virus. I mention Drosten because, on February 8, 2020, Farrar wrote to him to seek his opinion. And yet, no one on the E-mail thread proposed seeking Ralph Baric’s opinion.
This E-mail exchange—which was later obtained by a FOIA request—has numerous charade elements—that is, the authors are aware they cannot completely ignore the extremely unusual features of the SARS-CoV-2 sequence that “are inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.” At the same time, they express a stunning reluctance to address in writing the rampaging bull Elephant in the Room—namely, the origin of the outbreak was in the vicinity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The closest that any of these guys came to addressing this elephant was Kristian Andersen, who wrote on February 8:
The fact that Wuhan became the epicenter of the ongoing epidemic caused by nCoV [novel coronavirus] is likely an unfortunate coincidence, but it raises questions that would be wrong to dismiss out of hand. Our main work over the last couple of weeks has been focused on trying to disprove any type of lab theory, but we are at a crossroad where the scientific evidence isn’t conclusive enough to say that we have high confidence in any of the three main theories considered.
A REMARKABLE ABOUT FACE
Something persuaded Kristian Andersen and Robert Garry to change their tune in short order, because soon after they exchanged these E-mails, they got to work on a paper that was accepted for publication on March 6, 2020. Their paper was titled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” and it was published in Nature Medicine—the same journal that published Ralph Baric’s 2015 paper about creating a chimeric coronavirus with his colleagues at the Wuhan Institute of Virology—a virus that “can …. replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV.”
When it came to authoring their Proximal Origin paper for the world to read, they dropped their concerns about the virus’s possible lab origins like a ton of bricks. Unequivocally they stated:
Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.
This paper was reported by the mainstream media as settling the matter. A notable example was a March 27 ABC News report headlined “Sorry conspiracy theorists. Study concludes Covid-19 ‘is not a laboratory construct.” Referring to the extraordinary and singular furin cleavage site, the ABC reporter wrote:
COVID-19 is 96% identical to a coronavirus found in bats, researchers said, but with a certain variation that could explain what has made it so infectious.
Robert Garry—who’d privately told Jeremy Farrar, “I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature”—told this reporter a few weeks later:
We know from the study of other coronaviruses that they’re able to acquire this variation and they can then become more pathogenic. This is a good explanation as to why this virus is so transmittable and has caused this pandemic.
What investigation did Professor Gary and his colleagues perform between their February conversation with Jeremy Farrar and their drafting of the Proximal Origin manuscript during the following fortnight?
The virologists exchanged hopeful e-mails that a pangolin—a peculiar scaled mammal that is critically endangered as a result of illegal poaching for its meat and hide—could be the source of the virus. However, this was just wishful thinking, because SARS-CoV-2 had not and never would be traced to a pangolin.
What exactly did Kristian Andersen—who’d just told Anthony Fauci he’d found “the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory”—see that caused him to change his mind in such a striking way? Tough to say, but according to Dr. Andrew Huff:
Dr. Andersen’s funding from NIH and NIAID dramatically increased after he reversed his position that SARS-CoV-2 had all the signatures of being engineered. In fact, his funding in 2020 increased at a rate that I have never heard of or seen in the field of emerging infectious diseases research. His “continuing funding,” a statistic used by government agencies that fund research, nearly triples from $7,141,011 to $23,724,68I.
Not to be outdone by these doctors’ tour de force of Machiavellian duplicity, Jeremy Farrar also penned a a piece in the Lancet titled Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting COVID-19 in which he condemned the conspiracy theorists who dared to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 came out of a lab.
The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins. We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.
The critical reader may wonder: Why is the perfectly rational concern that SARS-CoV-2 may have escaped from the WIV deemed a “conspiracy theory”—a pejorative label that is often applied to belittle and dismiss critical questioning of official assertions?
Joining Farrar was the great orchestrator himself—Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance, who’d played the key role in organizing and funding GOF research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
As the WHO saw it, Dr. Daszak was one of the world’s most qualified experts to investigate the origin of SARS-CoV-2, and so he was appointed to a WHO investigative team that travelled to Wuhan to get to the bottom of it. In March of 2021 he and his team submitted their Joint Report on the Origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The 120-page document gives the superficial impression of investigative rigor by presenting a long catalogue of genetic sequences of coronaviruses found in nature, but the researchers are unable to match any of them with SARS-CoV-2. Likewise, the researchers present testing survey data on a wide array of wild animals and animals for sale at Chinese food markets, but were unable to find SARS-CoV-2 present in any of them.
The final, ten-page section, titled POSSIBLE PATHWAYS OF EMERGENCE, presents the following hypothetical pathways, and assigns a likelihood to each of them.
—direct zoonotic transmission (also termed: spillover)/ possible to likely
—introduction through an intermediate host followed by zoonotic transmission/ likely to very likely.
— introduction through the cold/ food chain/ possible.
—introduction through a laboratory incident/ extremely unlikely.
While Daszak and his colleagues assign the greatest likelihood to “introduction through an intermediate host followed by zoonotic transmission,” they do not identify even a candidate species for the intermediate host. When SARS emerged in 2003, caged palm civits, for sale at food markets in southern China were identified as the intermediate host. Subsequent research generated the hypothesis that bats were the original reservoir. To date, no one has been able to trace any such zoonotic evolution of SARS-CoV-2.
Only the last page of the 120-page report addresses the hypothetical possibility of a laboratory incident. As Daszak and his colleagues wrote:
There has been speculation regarding the presence of human ACE2 receptor binding and a furin-cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2, but both have been found in animal viruses as well, and elements of the furin-cleavage site are present in RmYN02 and the new Thailand bat SARSr-CoV. There is no record of viruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2 in any laboratory before December 2019, or genomes that in combination could provide a SARS-CoV-2 genome. …
In view of the above, a laboratory origin of the pandemic was considered to be extremely unlikely
Note that the authors (including Peter Daszak) do not mention the pioneering discovery of SHCOI4, with its ACE2 binding ability, by Daszak and his WIV colleagues, which they reported in 2013. The authors also don’t mention the chimeric virus, SHC014-MA15, created by Baric and the same WIV colleagues in 2015— that is, the chimeric virus that would bind to the human ACE2 receptor and “replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV.”
The authors of the WHO Joint Report provide no supporting evidence that “There is no record of viruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2 in any laboratory before December 2019,” and nor do they acknowledge the possibility that such records may have been destroyed. They merely make this assertion. They do not mention the chimeric virus SHC014-MA15 or ask if the WIV kept samples of it in their BSL-3 lab or if they transferred the samples to their new BSL-4 lab that was opened in January 2018..
In June of 2021, Vanity Fair pointed out that Dr. Daszak—a key figure in the WHO commission to investigate the origin or SARS-CoV-2—was one of the coauthors of the March 7, 2020 Lancet statement, condemning as “conspiracy theory” any suggestion that the virus was not of natural origin. It’s a testament to the current abysmal state of our media and public institutions that this was presented as a revelation. Dr. Daszak coauthored this statement and published it in a prestigious medical journal (accessed millions of times in the spring of 2020). Nevertheless, it was only when Vanity Fair pointed it out that the WHO decided that he had a conflict of interest and dismissed him from the investigative team.
The clan's sudden change of heart on the origin of the virus is much like Andrew Hill's sudden change of heart on the effectiveness of ivermectin, then his university received a large donation from Bill Gates, I recall. I know just another unfortunate coincidence.
Another excellent chapter on the origin of COVID. Thanks for writing this. Will this be in a book one day?