U.S. Experiments may have Contributed to the Emergence of Covid
Professor Jeffrey Sachs calls for an independent inquiry into whether the virus leaked from a lab...
Columbia University professor of economics and chairman of the Lancet Covid-19 Commission Jeffrey Sachs is calling on universities and research institutions to open their databases for examination.
Covid-19 was originally said to have originated from a wet market in Wuhan, China, but after revelations of the Wuhan Insititute of Virology receiving money from the NIH, and many scientists pointing out sequences in the virus that point to signs of a genetically modified virus, many now believe the virus leaked from a lab after undergoing gain-of-function research.
Prof Sachs wrote in the PNAS journal that scientists from the University of North Carolina and New York-based Eco Health Alliance (EHA) had worked with the Wuhan Institute of Virology to manipulate viruses.
“Research proposals make clear that the collaboration was involved in the collection of a large number of so-far undocumented Sars-like viruses and was engaged in their manipulation….raising concerns that an airborne virus might have infected a laboratory worker,” he said in a joint article with Prof Neil Harrison, of Columbia University.
The authors said that before the pandemic, work on Sars-like coronaviruses was being carried out as part of a ‘highly collaborative US–China scientific research program’ funded by the US government via the The National Institutes of Health (NIH).
This project, known as PREDICT, sought to identify viruses which had the potential to leap from animals to humans.
Researchers collected bat coronaviruses from China and southeast Asia, which were sent to various labs for ‘sequencing’, ‘archiving’, ‘analysis’ and ‘manipulation’.
China has failed to reveal much of the work that was happening, and removed a database of viral sequences shortly before the pandemic erupted.
But experiments were also taking place in the US which have also never been disclosed for independent analysis, the authors argue.
The authors go on to cite the fact that Covid-19 contains a specialist feature known as the “furin cleavage site” which is the reason the virus is so infectious to humans. No other coronaviruses contain an FCS which leads scientists to believe this is proof of manipulation.
“The precise nature of the experiments that were conducted, including the full array of viruses collected from the field and the subsequent sequencing and manipulation of those viruses, remains unknown,” wrote Prof Sachs and Prof Harrison.
The pair also point out that the same group of Chinese/US scientists had submitted proposals to insert a specialist feature into Sars-like viruses called the furin cleavage site (FCS).
Covid-19 is unique in having a FCS, and it is the reason the virus is so infectious to humans. No other coronaviruses have the feature, and some scientists believe it is evidence the virus was man-made. Others think it occurred naturally through evolution.
Leaked proposals showed that scientists from the University of North Carolina, EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology had applied for funding to insert an FCS into a Sars-like virus less than two years before the pandemic.
Dr. Fauci and the NIH have previously denied the possibility of the virus coming from any of their funded labs, but prof Sachs says this can only be verified if they are given the unpublished viral sequences. If there is nothing to hide then there should be no reason to release the data, right?
“There is much to learn from the US institutions that were extensively involved in research that may have contributed to, or documented the emergence of, the Sars-CoV-2 virus” the pair conclude.
“Only an independent and transparent investigation, perhaps as a bipartisan Congressional inquiry, will reveal the information that is needed to enable a thorough scientific process of scrutiny and evaluation.”