Covid Origins; A Great Detective Story By Brian Simpson

Covid origins is getting some coverage again in the mainstream media, with Vanity Fair.com, addressing the issue: lab leak or natural, the so-called “bat soup” hypothesis. In 2020, leading scientists condemned the lab leak hypothesis as a conspiracy theory, as Trump had held to it, and because it supposedly hurt China and Chinese science, probably a nation paying some of their bills of some of the researchers. However, it was later revealed that many scientists rejected the bat soup hypothesis in private and indeed did think that the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab, but still pushed the bat soup line, to protect communist China. But not all have abandoned the quest for truth.

Jesse D. Bloom, an evolutionary biologist, during the early part of the plandemic, noticed that a number of early SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences mentioned in a published paper from China, had disappeared. Bloom thought that this disappearance indicated that the communist Chinese had hidden evidence about the early spread of Covid. He soon discovered by a bit of detective work that the deleting was by the US National Institute of Health (NIH), done so because the Wuhan lab had requested it. As described by Vanity Fair.com, who have done the world a great service of pursuing the Bloom issue, Bloom put his concerns in a paper, which generated great contention at a Zoom meeting with the NIH head, and other scientists. In general, to the outside observer, there was an effort by US scientists in the early stage of the plandemic, to protect China, and certainly US funding links to the Wuhan lab. This is all public knowledge now, as the connections and funding grants have been uncovered by successful Freedom of Information requests and is thus no conspiracy at all.

This all needs to be read next to the Chinese government’s lack of transparency right throughout the plandemic, from refusing to share raw data from early Covid cases, and its thwarting of efforts to find the origin of the outbreak. Most suspicious of all was that three months before the so-called pandemic was officially recognised, the Wuhan lab removed from its data base tens of thousands of virus samples. It did not restore the data given requests by scientists, and never offered any explanation for its actions. These highly suspicious events, enough to merit arrest if it was a civilian murder case, or at least make one a prime suspect, support the lab leak hypothesis over the bat soup on, especially given molecular evidence of the unlikeliness of a natural evolution of SARS-CoV-2. Thus, my guess is that this US/China joint bioweapons venture gone wrong, was a deliberate leak by the communist Chinese who saw that given the US connection, it would be easy to get away with this in broad daylight, beginning World War III, where bioweapons attacks upon civilian populations will occur.

And, get away with Covid they have, as the globalist elites immediately saw that there was much that could be done using covid as a tool for their Great Reset New World Order.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/03/the-virus-hunting-nonprofit-at-the-center-of-the-lab-leak-controversy

 

“In June 18, 2021, an evolutionary biologist named Jesse D. Bloom sent the draft of an unpublished scientific paper he’d written to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the president of the United States. A bespectacled, boyish-looking 43-year-old often clad in short-sleeved checkered shirts, Bloom specializes in the study of how viruses evolve. “He is the most ethical scientist I know,” said Sergei Pond, a fellow evolutionary biologist. “He wants to dig deep and discover the truth.”

The paper Bloom had written—known as a preprint, because it had yet to be peer-reviewed or published—contained sensitive revelations about the National Institutes of Health, the federal agency that oversees biomedical research. In the interests of transparency, he wanted Fauci, who helms an NIH subagency, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), to see it ahead of time. Under ordinary circumstances, the preprint might have sparked a respectful exchange of views. But this was no ordinary preprint, and no ordinary moment.

More than a year into the pandemic, the genesis of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was still a mystery. Most scientists believed that it had made the leap from bats to humans naturally, via an intermediary species, most likely at a market in Wuhan, China, where live wild animals were slaughtered and sold. But a growing contingent were asking if it could have originated inside a nearby laboratory that is known to have conducted risky coronavirus research funded in part by the United States. As speculation, sober and otherwise, swirled, the NIH was being bombarded by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits. Fauci himself needed a security detail, owing to death threats from conspiracy theorists who believed he was covering up some dark secret.

Bloom’s paper was the product of detective work he’d undertaken after noticing that a number of early SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences mentioned in a published paper from China had somehow vanished without a trace. The sequences, which map the nucleotides that give a virus its unique genetic identity, are key to tracking when the virus emerged and how it might have evolved. In Bloom’s view, their disappearance raised the possibility that the Chinese government might be trying to hide evidence about the pandemic’s early spread. Piecing together clues, Bloom established that the NIH itself had deleted the sequences from its own archive at the request of researchers in Wuhan. Now, he was hoping Fauci and his boss, NIH director Francis Collins, could help him identify other deleted sequences that might shed light on the mystery.

Bloom had submitted the paper to a preprint server, a public repository of scientific papers awaiting peer review, on the same day that he’d sent a copy to Fauci and Collins. It now existed in a kind of twilight zone: not published, and not yet public, but almost certain to appear online soon.

Collins immediately organized a Zoom meeting for Sunday, June 20. He invited two outside scientists, evolutionary biologist Kristian Andersen and virologist Robert Garry, and allowed Bloom to do the same. Bloom chose Pond and Rasmus Nielsen, a genetic biologist. That it was shaping up like an old-fashioned duel with seconds in attendance did not cross Bloom’s mind at the time. But six months after that meeting, he remained so troubled by what transpired that he wrote a detailed account, which Vanity Fair obtained.

 

After Bloom described his research, the Zoom meeting became “extremely contentious,” he wrote. Andersen leapt in, saying he found the preprint “deeply troubling.” If the Chinese scientists wanted to delete their sequences from the database, which NIH policy entitled them to do, it was unethical for Bloom to analyze them further, he claimed. And there was nothing unusual about the early genomic sequences in Wuhan.

Instantly, Nielsen and Andersen were “yelling at each other,” Bloom wrote, with Nielsen insisting that the early Wuhan sequences were “extremely puzzling and unusual.”

Andersen—who’d had some of his emails with Fauci from early in the pandemic publicly released through FOIA requests—leveled a third objection. Andersen, Bloom wrote, “needed security outside his house, and my pre-print would fuel conspiratorial notions that China was hiding data and thereby lead to more criticism of scientists such as himself.”

Fauci then weighed in, objecting to the preprint’s description of Chinese scientists “surreptitiously” deleting the sequences. The word was loaded, said Fauci, and the reason they’d asked for the deletions was unknown.

That’s when Andersen made a suggestion that surprised Bloom. He said he was a screener at the preprint server, which gave him access to papers that weren’t yet public. He then offered to either entirely delete the preprint or revise it “in a way that would leave no record that this had been done.” Bloom refused, saying that he doubted either option was appropriate, “given the contentious nature of the meeting.”

At that point, both Fauci and Collins distanced themselves from Andersen’s offer, with Fauci saying, as Bloom recalled it, “Just for the record, I want to be clear that I never suggested you delete or revise the pre-print.” They seemed to know that Andersen had gone too far.

Both Andersen and Garry denied that anyone in the meeting suggested deleting or revising the paper. Andersen said Bloom’s account was “false.” Garry dismissed it as “nonsense.” Sergei Pond, however, confirmed Bloom’s account as accurate, after having it read aloud to him. “I don’t remember the exact phrasing—I didn’t take any notes—but from what you described, that sounds accurate. I definitely felt bad for poor Jesse.” He added that the “charged-up” atmosphere struck him as “inappropriate for a scientific meeting.” A spokesperson for Fauci declined to comment.

The wagon-circling on that Zoom call reflected a siege mentality at the NIH whose cause was much larger than Bloom and the missing sequences. It couldn’t be made to disappear with creative editing or deletion. And it all began with a once-obscure science nonprofit in Manhattan that had become the conduit for federal grant money to a Wuhan research laboratory.

In 2014, Fauci’s agency had issued a $3.7 million grant to EcoHealth Alliance, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to predicting and helping to prevent the next pandemic by identifying viruses that could leap from wildlife to humans. The grant, titled Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence, proposed to screen wild and captive bats in China, analyze sequences in the laboratory to gauge the risk of bat viruses infecting humans, and build predictive models to examine future risk. The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) was a key collaborator to whom EcoHealth Alliance gave almost $600,000 in sub-awards. But the work there had been controversial enough that the NIH suspended the grant in July 2020.

As it happened, EcoHealth Alliance failed to predict the COVID-19 pandemic—even though it erupted into public view at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, a short drive from the WIV itself. In the ensuing months, every move of EcoHealth Alliance, and its voluble president Peter Daszak, came under scrutiny by a small army of scientific sleuths and assorted journalists. What, they wanted to know, had really gone on at the WIV? Why had Daszak been so cagey about the work his organization had been funding there? And were Fauci and other officials trying to direct attention away from research that the U.S. had been, at least indirectly, financing?

The dispute over COVID-19’s origins has become increasingly acrimonious, with warring camps of scientists trading personal insults on Twitter feeds. Natural-origin proponents argue that the virus, like so many before it, emerged from the well-known phenomenon of natural spillover, jumping from a bat host to an intermediate species before going on to infect humans. Those suspecting a lab-related incident point to an array of possible scenarios, from inadvertent exposure of a scientist during field research to the accidental release of a natural or manipulated strain during laboratory work. The lack of concrete evidence supporting either theory has only increased the rancor. “Everyone is looking for a smoking gun that would render any reasonable doubt impossible,” says Amir Attaran, a biologist and lawyer at the University of Ottawa. Without cooperation from the Chinese government, that may be impossible.

In 2018, Daszak had appeared on Chinese state-run TV and said, “The work we do with Chinese collaborators is published jointly in international journals and the sequence data is uploaded onto the internet free for everyone to read, very open, very transparent, and very collaborative.” He added, “Science is naturally transparent and open…. You do something, you discover something, you want to tell the world about it. That’s the nature of scientists.”

But as COVID-19 rampaged across the globe, the Chinese government’s commitment to transparency turned out to be limited. It has refused to share raw data from early patient cases, or participate in any further international efforts to investigate the virus’s origin. And in September 2019, three months before the officially recognized start of the pandemic, the Wuhan Institute of Virology took down its database of some 22,000 virus samples and sequences, refusing to restore it despite international requests.

As for transparency-minded scientists in the U.S., Daszak early on set about covertly organizing a letter in the Lancet medical journal that sought to present the lab-leak hypothesis as a groundless and destructive conspiracy theory. And Fauci and a small group of scientists, including Andersen and Garry, worked to enshrine the natural-origin theory during confidential discussions in early February 2020, even though several of them privately expressed that they felt a lab-related incident was likelier. Just days before those discussions began, Vanity Fair has learned, Dr. Robert Redfield, a virologist and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), had urged Fauci privately to vigorously investigate both the lab and natural hypotheses. He was then excluded from the ensuing discussions—learning only later that they’d even occurred. “Their goal was to have a single narrative,” Redfield told Vanity Fair.

Why top scientists linked arms to tamp down public speculation about a lab leak—even when their emails, revealed via FOIA requests and congressional review, suggest they held similar concerns—remains unclear. Was it simply because their views shifted in favor of a natural origin? Could it have been to protect science from the ravings of conspiracy theorists? Or to protect against a revelation that could prove fatal to certain risky research that they deem indispensable? Or to protect vast streams of grant money from political interference or government regulation?

The effort to close the debate in favor of the natural-origin hypothesis continues today. In February, The New York Times gave front-page treatment to a set of preprints—written by Michael Worobey at the University of Arizona, Kristian Andersen at Scripps Research Institute, and 16 coauthors, including Garry—claiming that a new analysis of public data from the Huanan market in Wuhan provided “dispositive evidence” that the virus first leapt to humans from animals sold there. But a number of top scientists, Bloom among them, questioned that assertion, saying the preprints, while worthy, relied on incomplete data and found no infected animal.

“I don’t think they offer proof. They provide evidence that more strongly supports the link to the wild animal market than to the WIV, and that’s the way I would have phrased it,” says W. Ian Lipkin, an epidemiologist at Columbia University who favors the natural-origin theory.

“Some scientists seem almost hell-bent on naming the Huanan market as the site of the origin of the pandemic; and some members of the media seem more than happy to embrace these conclusions without careful examination,” said Stanford microbiologist David Relman. “This issue is far too important to be decided in the public domain by unreviewed studies, incomplete and unconfirmed data, and unsubstantiated proclamations.”

Perhaps more than anyone, Peter Daszak—a Western scientist immersed in Chinese coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology—was uniquely positioned to help the world crack open the origin mystery, not least by sharing what he knew. But last year, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist who oversees the Lancet’s COVID-19 commission, dismissed Daszak from the helm of a task force investigating the virus’s genesis, after he flatly refused to share progress reports from his contested research grant. (In written responses to detailed questions, Daszak said he was “simply following NIH guidance” when he declined Sachs’s request, because the agency was withholding the reports in question “until they had adjudicated a FOIA request.” The reports are now publicly available, he said.)

“[Daszak] and NIH have acted badly,” Sachs told Vanity Fair. “There has been a lack of transparency…and there is a lot more to know and that can be known.” He said that the NIH should support an “independent scientific investigation” to examine the “possible role” in the pandemic of the NIH, EcoHealth Alliance, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and a partner laboratory at the University of North Carolina. “Both hypotheses are still very much with us,” he said, and “need to be investigated seriously and scientifically.” (“We are also on record as welcoming independent scientific investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Daszak told Vanity Fair.)

This story is based on more than 100,000 internal EcoHealth Alliance documents obtained by Vanity Fair, as well as interviews with five former staff members and 33 other sources. The documents, most of which predate the pandemic, span a number of years and include budgets, staff and board meeting minutes, and internal emails and reports. While the documents do not tell us where COVID-19 came from, they shed light on the world in which EcoHealth Alliance has operated: one of murky grant agreements, flimsy oversight, and the pursuit of government funds for scientific advancement, in part by pitching research of steeply escalating risk.”

 

 

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Tuesday, 09 August 2022