Synthetic COVID & Chimeric Strains: Why US Should Open All of Its Biolabs for Inspection
© AP Photo / Mark SchiefelbeinA visitor wearing a face mask takes a photo of a model of a coronavirus and boxes for COVID-19 vaccines at a display by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic largely under control, China's capital on Saturday kicked off one of the first large-scale public events since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, as tens of thousands of attendees were expected to visit displays from nearly 2,000 Chinese and foreign companies showcasing their products and services.
© AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein
Recently, Russian Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin called for an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19 under the auspices of the UN in a Telegram post, adding that the US runs a whopping 336 overseas bio-laboratories allegedly capable of creating such a virus.
"I strongly agree that an independent international investigation into the origins of the global COVID epidemic is absolutely essential," Ron Unz, a US technology entrepreneur, political activist, writer, and the publisher of The Unz Review, told Sputnik. "By reasonable estimates, over 18 million people have died worldwide, including more than a million Americans, and the people of my own country should be in the forefront in demanding answers about how it happened. Given current international conflicts, arranging such a non-partisan body might be difficult, but it should be attempted. I think that some very prominent Americans, such as Prof. Jeffrey Sachs and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. would be excellent choices as senior figures in such an international investigation."
Russian Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin created a poll on his Telegram account last week asking whether his followers were inclined to believe that Sars-CoV-2 was a man-made virus. Out of 352,400 respondents 94% said that the virus was artificially created, 2% did not agree, while 4% said they did not care.
"Scientists from different countries have found evidence of the laboratory origin of COVID-19," the Russian official wrote on October 29. "There are 336 biological laboratories in 30 countries capable of creating such a virus under the control of the Pentagon (…)The UN should conduct an independent investigation into Washington's involvement in the emergence of the coronavirus."
31 July 2022, 10:35 GMT
'Synthetic Origin of SARS-CoV-2'
Volodin's post came on the heels of research by Valentin Bruttel, a scientist at the University Hospital of Würzburg, and his colleagues published on October 20, 2022. In a report titled "Endonuclease fingerprint indicates a synthetic origin of SARS-CoV-2," the scientists argued that the novel coronavirus is "an anomaly, more likely a product of synthetic genome assembly than natural evolution." The scientific paper has not yet gone through the process of peer review.
"I've read the Bruttel preprint and found their analysis very solidly formulated and quite persuasive," said Unz. "I've also discussed the paper with a couple of individuals having far more technical expertise than myself and they felt the same way. Obviously, the work still needs to undergo peer review and perhaps strong arguments on the other side will appear, but as of now, I believe it makes a very powerful case that the original COVID virus was bioengineered, reinforced by all the previous arguments pointing."
The issue of COVID's origin has been surrounded by controversies from the outset of the pandemic. Thus, the Trump administration pointed the finger at China, claiming the virus could have been created at the Wuhan bio-laboratory while presenting zero evidence to back the claim. Remarkably, having assumed the Oval Office, Joe Biden followed Trump's suit and joined the blame game. For its part, Chinese media and the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) questioned Washington's handling of the pandemic and its non-transparent biolab activities.
The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) appeared to be the first to produce a classified report warning about an "out-of-control disease epidemic" in the Wuhan area of China in the second week of November 2019. However, the Pentagon rushed to deny that such a report ever existed. To add more to the controversy, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) held a joint exercise with national, state, and local organizations from January 2019 to August 2019 in order to test the capacity of the federal government to respond to a pandemic of influenza originating in China.
To cap it off, neither a COVID-19 "patient zero" nor a "guilty bat" has been found, which means it's unclear when and where exactly SARS-CoV-2 started to circulate among humans.
In May 2022, Professors Jeffrey D. Sachs and Neil L. Harrison published a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journal, suggesting that the virus could be artificial and called for an independent inquiry into its possible American origins.
Boston Virologists' Reckless 'Gain-of-Function' Experiment
In July 2022, Professor Sachs told the Iranian media that "the US government was sponsoring a lot of dangerous genetic manipulation of SARS-like viruses and has not yet honestly revealed the nature of that work." Sachs suggested that SARS-CoV-2 could have emerged as a result of a biotech "blunder," ruling out the possibility that the virus was developed as a bioweapon.
Meanwhile, in mid-October 2022, a group of virologists at Boston University claimed that they had managed to create a chimeric SARS-CoV-2 virus with the spike protein of Omicron and the remaining viral structures from the original virus strain that inflicts severe disease and has an 80% kill rate.
The study triggered a wave of criticism in the US over "gain-of-function" research on SARS-CoV-2. Indeed, last year the National Institutes of Health (NIH) officially stated that it would not support gain-of-function research, following deep concerns voiced by US congressmen amid the debate on COVID's origins. The scientists tried to refute the criticism by saying that the study was conducted in mice only, and cannot be generalized to humans. That did not help, as concerns persisted.
"The bioengineering of a new and far more dangerous COVID strain by those Boston University researchers seemed extremely reckless and dangerous to me, and arguably should have already been prohibited under existing American law," said Unz. "Some people believe that the laboratory in question should be shut down and the researchers prosecuted for such a serious and dangerous violation (…) The deliberate production of such extremely deadly biological agents was originally prohibited by an international agreement supported by President Richard Nixon during the Cold War nearly fifty years ago, and the American government made a disastrous mistake in reversing that decision."
While the Boston virologists' experiment does not per se confirm that the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 was bioengineered, it appears to demonstrate that this could have been possible, according to the publisher.
"It does demonstrate the extreme recklessness of many of our civilian or academic virus researchers, and if they could so easily produce a much more dangerous version of COVID, we should probably assume that America's very heavily funded biowarfare labs are also doing the same sort of thing, but without publishing their results in academic journals," Unz suggested.
As new information concerning the potential origins of COVID continues to emerge, the issue of bio-research transparency has taken on a new significance, regardless of whether SARS-CoV-2 was natural or artificial.
"American political leaders have loudly demanded that China and other countries open their labs for public inspection. Such a policy seems reasonable, but since America has the world's largest and oldest biowarfare infrastructure, which has probably absorbed $100 billion or more of government funding over the decades, the first step is obviously for our own country to open all of its biolabs for international inspection," emphasized the political activist, adding that "the need for international controls and prohibitions becomes obvious."