While most of us were spending our days in quarantine in the first few months of 2020, lamenting the ingenious notion of including bats in local cuisine, some have never stopped believing Covid-19 to be a biological weapon created for any number of nefarious purposes. It sounds like something that you can only find in a science fiction novel, but shocking new evidence with regard to the origins of the Covid-19 virus has recently come to light as a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborator reveals a 2018 grant proposal to concoct a coronavirus never-before-seen in our natural world.
In an attempt to identify the Sars-Cov-2 virus in a natural environment, the Chinese government have sequenced tens of thousands of genomes but have yet been unable to find a natural occurrence of the virus. A grant application submitted to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) by the EcoHealth Alliance only came to public attention after a congressional hearing held by the Congressman Rand Paul. Tracing back to the origin has since been in the process of being unearthed piece by piece. A research group, DRASTIC, published some damning statements suggesting American and Chinese scientists had planned to combine their efforts in the creation of a new strain at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The transparency of the Institute was brought into question after it was revealed in June by The Financial Times that their database of samples and viral sequences of early COVID-19 samples had been wiped, causing many to raise eyebrows as to the handling of the data related to the origin of the pandemic.
The application the WHO made public stated “We will compile sequence/RNAseq data from a panel of closely related strains and compare full length genomes, scanning for unique SNPs representing sequencing errors.” It goes on to say, “Consensus candidate genomes will be synthesised commercially using established techniques and genome-length RNA and electroporation to recover recombinant viruses.”
While this particular proposal never received grant funding, it highlights the significance of new exploration into gain-of-function research, where scientists are tasked with the manipulation of existing viruses in order to make them more deadly and rampantly transmitted. Perhaps even more disturbingly, this is not an isolated case. Several grant proposals have been submitted by EcoHealth Alliance on the topic gain-of-function research and The Intercept has hinted that the group, along with its Chinese partners, were heavily involved in this area of research.
So strong is the potential link between American and Chinese collaborators that the senior leader of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the face of the US pandemic response, Dr Anthony Fauci, has consistently denied that US money has gone towards gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology during several congressional testimonies.
The mystery surrounding the origination of the Covid-19 virus may continue to baffle scientists before a conclusion that meets a scientifically acceptable degree is reached. One WHO source claims “The problem is that those opposed to a lab leak scenario will always just say that we need to sample more, and absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence. Scientists overall are afraid of discussing the issue of the origins due to the political situation. This leaves a small and vocal minority of biased scientists free to spread misinformation.”