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Lab Origin: The Case is Even Stronger Now

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I had previously made the case that the totality of circumstances surrounding SARS-CoV-2 origins is sufficient for probable cause to believe the virus originated in a lab. In addition to the circumstances surrounding the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the evidence we lack for a zoonotic origin makes our case even stronger.

Outside the narrow lens of mainstream media outlets unable to cover this globally pertinent forensic case, the biggest scientific murder-mystery of the century is being solved.

New evidence has emerged to strengthen the lab origin case. The flawed papers claiming a zoonotic origin have been revealed as even more hopelessly flawed – while those of us independent subject matter experts could see this from the beginning, now it is becoming more obvious even to the lay public. Additionally, the lab-origin theory has made remarkable predictions about the contents of recently FOIA’d drafts of the DEFUSE grant.

The case for a lab origin is now clear enough that not only can we see the lab origin beyond reasonable doubt, but we are starting to accumulate evidence consistent with a cover-up, that this research-related accident was known to some who knew they funded the work, who knew they subcontracted the work, and who knew they did the work.

Let’s recap what we already knew, what’s new, and what we can reasonably deduce about who knew what and when.

The Fall of the Zoonotic Origin Papers

SARS-CoV-2 is a bat sarbecovirus that emerged in Wuhan far from the hotspots of wildlife bat sarbecoviruses, in a city without bats, at the doorstep of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the largest repository of bat sarbecoviruses in the world.

The outbreak started sometime in October-November 2019, well before the Huanan Seafood Market outbreak. While Worobey et al. claimed “early” cases were centered around the wet market, they failed to account for earlier cases preceding the wet market outbreak, the Chinese government’s order to destroy early cases or the ascertainment protocol that required a connection to the wet market, and a study of social media data indicated the earliest surge in care-seeking terms was not near the Huanan Seafood Market, but across the river at hospitals nearest to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

New: Michael Weissman, a quantitatively sharp physicist who has been estimating the likelihood of lab vs. zoonotic origin theories, made a simple observation that shows Worobey et al.’s own analysis disproves their own assumptions and conclusions. Worobey et al. report that the average distance to the wet market from “unlinked” cases was lower than the average distance to the wet market from cases linked to the wet market. This is a statistically significant indication of sampling bias – if there were no sampling bias, no preferential ascertainment of cases based on proximity to the wet market, then these distances should be the same, or unlinked cases perhaps farther.

Worobey et al. made conclusions based on the assumption that unlinked cases were ascertained at random, but their own analysis disproves that assumption and thereby reveals what we’ve said all along: these early cases are a biased view of the early outbreak provided by the Chinese government. Cases preceding the wet market, surges of care-seeking terms near the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and the statistically proven biases of the wet market dataset all but disprove the wet market hypothesis, leaving us with no evidence supporting a natural explanation for why a bat sarbecovirus arose in a city without bats, but with a lab specializing in bat sarbecoviruses.

Pekar et al. also tried to claim the early evolutionary tree of SARS-CoV-2 is highly unlikely to have occurred by chance under one introduction, and they estimated a Bayes Factor of 60 for the two large branches at the base of the SARS-CoV-2 phylogeny (i.e. they estimated the evolutionary tree we observe is 60 times more likely under a zoonotic origin than lab origin).

Colleagues and I showed this paper did not justify its conclusions in many ways: (I) their model of evolution was inaccurate (they used a model for HIV evolution instead of SARS-CoV superspreading) and this model made big-branches less-likely (II) their model of case ascertainment, like Worobey et al (written by the same group), was wrong and biased case-ascertainment through contact or location tracing would make two-big-branches more likely, and (III) there are SARS-CoV-2 sequences that meet the authors’ inclusion criteria but which were excluded without cause, and these sequences suggest there aren’t two big-branches but instead intermediate lineages, completely undermining the empirical premise of Pekar et al.

New: An anonymous poster on X (formerly Twitter) examined the code in Pekar et al. and found they had a bug in their code. The authors fail to estimate the likelihood of two-big-branches under alternative scenarios and consequently their estimated Bayes Factors are not actually Bayes Factors. This bug in the code, alone, drops their not-a-Bayes-Factor of 60 to a Bayes Factor of 3, which is within the realm of noise, and that’s not accounting for the additional biases, model inaccuracies, and statistical challenges colleagues and I identified.

The end result is that the evolutionary tree of SARS-CoV-2 does not provide any evidence of multiple spillover events. This end result is important evidence in favor of a lab origin. We have seen a single SARS-CoV spillover in 2002 when an animal trade outbreak led to an infection of civet handlers across a vast geographic scale of Guangdong Province. The viruses circulating in civets were genetically diverse and consequently the evolutionary tree of viruses infecting civet handlers had many branches, one for each spillover event, and those branches differed by more than just 2 mutations that separated the two big branches at the base of the SARS-CoV-2 evolutionary tree (which could occur in a single human-human transmission event).

An animal trade network is the primary way a bat sarbecovirus with close relatives in faraway Yunnan Province could get to Wuhan, but animal trade outbreaks leave footprints. Animals are housed together and in close contact with animal handlers over many miles and across many cities. Like other outbreaks along food-distribution networks (think: salmonella on lettuce), the SARS-CoV-1 outbreak infected people across the entire distribution network of the food or animals. Civet handlers became ill in separate spillover events across all of Guangdong Province. SARS-CoV-2, on the other hand, did not leave a trace between Yunnan and Wuhan, the Chinese government only locked down Wuhan yet there were not reported outbreaks outside of Wuhan or Hubei province.

The Chinese government limited PCR tests to travelers coming from Wuhan, and focusing testing on such a narrow area is a strange public health policy for any country trying to contain an animal trade outbreak with a geographically broad precedent. Another strange public health policy was the CCP ordering the destruction of early cases. If there was an animal trade outbreak, then we should test widely along the entire network and fear additional spillover events in geographically disparate locales getting animals (e.g. raccoon dogs) from the same trade network.

In such a geographically broad outbreak across a trade network with the potential for multiple spillovers, earlier cases are exponentially more valuable for the information they contain about the cause of spillover, the animals infected, the particular lines of animal trade networks to monitor, and how we might bottle up the leak from animals to people.

The Strengthening Case for a Lab Origin

All of these anomalies of SARS-CoV-2 emergence, SARS-CoV-2 evolution, and CCP outbreak policy, however, make perfect sense if the leak was not from animals to people, but from the world’s largest repository of bat sarbecoviruses in the same city, walking distance from both the wet market and the hospitals at the heart of earlier surges in care-seeking terms.

The lab-origin theory examines the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 may have leaked from a lab, and to fully understand a lab-origin theory one must examine the research being conducted by the lab. It just so happens that there is a bat sarbecovirus lab in the same city where this bat sarbecovirus emerged; the specificity of the connection between the virus that emerged and the lab is so high it’s like finding a tiger roaming around the town walking distance from a big cat sanctuary in Germany, so knowing there is a sanctuary drawing in big cats from around the world provides critical context for the big cat roaming the streets nearby.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology was a leading institute for studying wildlife coronaviruses. These researchers would catch all manners of animals and even sample animal trade networks in search of new viruses. They would take these wildlife viral samples back to Wuhan for further study, and in collaboration with EcoHealth Alliance they would import wildlife viral samples obtained by external, US-based parties.

The wildlife virological work in Wuhan is important context, but the single most important thing to know about the lab-origin theory is a grant written in 2018 – the DEFUSE proposal. The DEFUSE proposal was pried from the unwilling hands of EcoHealth Alliance by DRASTIC, the group of independent sleuths investigating a lab-origin theory since 2020.

DEFUSE was submitted to the DARPA PREEMPT call. By pure happenstance, I have intimate knowledge of this call because I helped write a successful DARPA PREEMPT grant, I was working on a DARPA PREEMPT team for 2 years pre-Covid (and a DARPA YFA on bat viruses since 2017), and I attended the meeting in DC where we got to hear from other DARPA PREEMPT teams. Consequently, I can read DEFUSE and put it into context of the grant call and other contemporary work in the field, and I can quickly identify the characterizing features of DEFUSE revealing the unique research goals and intentions of the authors that differ from broader wildlife virological work.

The DARPA PREEMPT call aimed to preempt pathogen spillover. The call sought proposals to identify “jump-capable quasispecies,” a rather new term that referred to strains of pathogens with an increased ability to jump the species barrier, especially those with an increased ability for onward transmission in humans that could cause a pandemic. Then, to preempt spillover, the call sought proposals aiming to somehow prevent wildlife from acquiring these jump-capable quasispecies and/or interventions that reduced the risk of humans overlapping with wildlife at times and places when they had these jump-capable quasispecies.

To give you an example of a DARPA PREEMPT grant, let me share a bit about the grant I was on. I was part of a team studying bat henipaviruses like Hendra, Nipah, Cedar etc. We proposed to have a vast international team catch bats across Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia, sample bats for henipaviruses, and characterize when and where we find infected bats as well as the genetic diversity of their henipaviruses.

The most important barrier to entry for most wildlife viruses is a step in the virus life cycle called “receptor-binding,” or latching onto the receptors of new hosts, so we would focus our studies of quasispecies phenotypes by having labs make the receptor-binding proteins of henipaviruses in the lab (not the whole viruses) and test their ability to bind human receptors. For a small set of jump-capable quasispecies, we would try to culture the viruses in a BSL-4 lab (the highest possible biosafety level), and we would develop vaccines against these quasispecies identified from the wild.

DEFUSE proposed to sample bat sarbecoviruses in SE Asia, but they didn’t propose to examine the extant variation of sarbecoviruses in nature, instead they were searching for a highly specific genomic feature that has never been seen before in sarbecoviruses: a furin cleavage site (FCS). This, alone, is highly unusual – why would they bet a $15 million grant on searching for a feature that had never been observed in nature before?

Furin cleavage sites had been documented in very distant coronaviruses such as MERS-CoV, feline alphacoronaviruses, or some endemic human coronaviruses, and across the board it was recognized that the FCS enhances the ability of a virus to bind receptors and enter the cells across a wider range of host receptors and cells. DEFUSE proposed to search for furin cleavage sites and if they found one, insert the FCS inside more-abundant strains to test their transmissibility. The viral assays and work with humanized mice (e.g. testing transmissibility of a virus with an FCS) would occur not in Buenos Aires, not it Atlanta, not in Cape Town or Sydney, not even in Beijing…it would occur in Wuhan. Finally, these researchers would construct a vaccine against such a sarbecovirus and vaccinate bats to preempt spillover.

Kudos to the grant’s focus on receptor-binding and cell entry, but their identification of a never-before-seen motif is highly unusual. None of the other PREEMPT teams proposed to make things not found in nature. The proposal to search for something never before documented and swap it around other viruses in hypothesized recombination events is not the direction evidence flows in wildlife virology. Wildlife virologists look at what we find in wildlife, and study what we find in wildlife; we don’t use our imaginations to make unnatural chimeric innovations not found in wildlife and then conjure these horrors into existence.

SARS-CoV-2 emerged in Wuhan with a furin cleavage site never before seen in a sarbecovirus. It needs to be emphasized that, to the best of our global knowledge, “sarbecovirus with furin cleavage site” did not exist in nature before 2020, but it did exist in a grant proposal to make something not found in nature, and that biological novelty was proposed to be made in Wuhan. The exact furin cleavage site found in SARS-CoV-2 is found in another protein, a protein called alpha-ENaC found in humans and studied heavily at the same university (UNC) as one of the PI’s of DEFUSE.

New: Drafts of the DEFUSE grant recently obtained by Emily Kopp at US Right to Know found several pieces of evidence strengthening the connection between DEFUSE and the furin cleavage site found in SARS-CoV-2. First, the leader of DEFUSE, EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak, mentioned in a comment that, while they would propose to do some of their riskier work in the BSL-3 labs of UNC, after acceptance of the grant they could offload that work to the BSL-2 labs in Wuhan.

These comments amount to a conspiracy to deceive and defraud the US DoD in their grant and cut corners in biosafety to cut costs, conducting more risky work not in Buenos Aires or Raleigh or Amsterdam, but in Wuhan. Second, the drafts contain more specific mentioning of “furin cleavage” than the final grant – the final grant hedged bets by emphasizing “proteolytic” cleavage sites, but the drafts fixate on furin, increasing the specificity of the connection between DEFUSE and SARS-CoV-2. Finally, and most importantly, the authors propose a specific location in the genome where they will insert these furin cleavage sites: the S1/S2 boundary, a narrow window in a 3,600 nucleotide gene, and SARS-CoV-2 has its furin cleavage site at exactly the location proposed in these grants.

The furin cleavage site alone should be enough for probable cause given the lack of precedent of this feature in 2018 when DEFUSE was written and the specificity of their proposed insertion matching exactly that seen in SARS-CoV-2. Daszak shows an awareness of the biosafety regulations and intentions of US government agencies, and he conspired to bypass these rules and regulations to cut costs once he received US taxpayer funding for his work.

However, there’s more.

In order to insert a furin cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2, researchers would need to have a DNA copy of the RNA virus. In order to make a DNA copy of an RNA virus, they would construct a “reverse genetics system.” Even the submitted version of DEFUSE mentions that they will use reverse genetics technology to rescue viruses from genome sequences on a computer, swap spike genes, and insert the furin cleavage sites inside these DNA clones to make modified viruses. Two of the three leaders in the field of coronavirus reverse genetic systems were on the DEFUSE grant: Ralph Baric and his former student, Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Shi Zhengli.

In 2022, Valentin Bruttel and Tony Van Dongen noticed an unusual pattern in the SARS-CoV-2 genome. Two of the most popular bioengineering scissors used to make reverse genetics systems – BsaI and BsmBI – appear to cleave the SARS-CoV-2 genome into 6 segments, and this would make for a highly efficient reverse genetics system. SARS-CoV-2 appears to a bioengineer like an IKEA virus, as if someone had already put time into making sure it could be easily assembled with readily available tools.

We quantified the odds of this pattern appearing in nature and wrote a paper documenting the endonuclease fingerprint in the genome of SARS-CoV-2. Not only is the spatial arrangement of these cutting/pasting sites highly unusual, but the mutations that move them around are exclusively the mutations bioengineers used in prior work, and the concentration of these “silent” mutations is 8-9 times higher within these moved-around stitching sites compared to the rest of the genome. This analysis led us to our theory of a synthetic origin of SARS-CoV-2 by 6-segment assembly, using the enzymes BsaI and BsmBI. The IKEA virus can be ordered in 6 parts and using only the screwdriver of BsaI and allen wrench of BsmBI, you can put the parts together with ease.

New: The same drafts of DEFUSE mentioned above detailing FCS insertion in the S1/S2 boundary also contain more details about their proposed methods to rescue and modify wild viruses from bat samples. Specifically, after EcoHealth shipped bat samples to Wuhan, they proposed to sequence the samples and rescue bat sarbecoviruses using reverse genetic systems assembled with “6 segments” and in this context they include cost-estimates for the enzyme BsmBI.

The highly precise methodological details contained in the drafts of DEFUSE are exactly the details predicted by the theory that SARS-CoV-2 originated as a research product of DEFUSE-like work.

DEFUSE-like work has been the dominant lab-origin theory, and it’s misleading for people to say that lab-origin theories would originate in any city with a lab because there was only one city with the lab that proposed this highly specific research – this was not proposed to take place in Lima or Mexico City or Alberta or Paris, but in Wuhan. We have evidence Peter Daszak was willing to cut biosafety corners to cut costs and conduct the riskiest work proposed in DEFUSE, exactly the kind of work that could generate SARS-CoV-2, in Wuhan’s BSL-2 labs.

The odds of the alignment between a grant in 2018 and the unnatural, unprecedented genome of a virus in 2019 are nearly zero under a natural origin. My work on the DARPA PREEMPT grant was to forecast the evolution of viruses, so I can state with the confidence of my expertise that the biogeography, epidemiology, public health policy, and genomic anomalies of SARS-CoV-2 are not what you would expect from the natural evolution of a zoonotic virus. The connection between DEFUSE and SARS-CoV-2 is nearly impossible with our 2018 knowledge of wildlife virology and the evolution of wildlife viruses, unless DEFUSE was used as the blueprint, a letter of intent to make a highly specific biological novelty that we found later in the same city where these authors proposed to make it.

DEFUSE was wisely rejected by DARPA, and this has been a common counterargument. However, the DEFUSE PI Daszak had many other sources of funding, including tens of millions of dollars from USAID’s PREDICT program, the Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust’s CEPI-funded Global Virome Project, and even NIAID.

In fact, not only did NIAID fund Daszak through the grant “Understanding the risk of bat coronavirus emergence,” but this NIAID grant also expanded to include all the PI’s of DEFUSE in 2019. The email below from October 2019 contains the primary players of DEFUSE who had never all collaborated and co-authored a document before DEFUSE nor collaborated since (ouihaagendazs is the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Ben Hu and gnyny0803 is Li Guo). The authors are jumping on an “NIAID SARs-CoV call” on Wednesday, October 30th, suggesting the DEFUSE PI’s whose only known research product is DEFUSE were actively collaborating through NIAID at the time of SARS-CoV-2’s emergence.

Evidence of a Cover-Up

The Wuhan Institute of Virology had a database of hundreds of sarbecovirus genomes and spike genes, but that dataset was deleted in September 2019. The Chinese government ordered the destruction of early cases and sequences, and deleted sequences from NCBI’s servers have been recovered by Jesse Bloom, shining more light on the early outbreak, complicating the evolutionary and epidemiological story of the Huanan Seafood market (what are the odds that sequences deleted corroborate the wet market story vs. complicate it?).

The Chinese government only allocated PCR tests to patients in Wuhan with connections to the wet market or travelers coming from Wuhan with connection to known cases in Wuhan, and only Wuhan was locked down, a policy that makes little sense under the SARS-CoV-1 precedent of a geographically widespread animal trade outbreak in SARS-CoV-1. Of course, since SARS-CoV-1 there were 6 lab leaks of SARS-CoV-1 in China, and that could have been the precedent guiding Chinese public health policy.

Peter Daszak, the leader of DEFUSE, did not disclose DEFUSE as a conflict of interest when he was elected to be the US emissary to the WHO’s Covid origins investigation in Wuhan, nor did he disclose DEFUSE when chosen to lead the Lancet’s Covid-origins investigation.

Daszak went even further. He coordinated with DEFUSE colleagues Ralph Baric and Linfa Wang to write an article to the Lancet calling lab origin theories “conspiracy theories.” Not only did Daszak not disclose DEFUSE as a COI, but the email also indicates Daszak’s intent to ghostwrite the article, hide conflicts of interest, all for the purpose of distracting the Lancet’s audience from DEFUSE PIs’ central role working with the lab at the heart of the lab-origin theory to design a biological novelty matching the specs of SARS-CoV-2. If the organism described in DEFUSE were patented, SARS-CoV-2 would be an infringement of their patent.

The subject line of Daszak’s email reads:

“No need for you to sign the ‘Statement’ Ralph!!”

Daszak and Linfa Wang agreed that he, Wang, and Baric should not sign the statement they wrote and are organizing “so it has some distance from us and therefore doesn’t work in a counterproductive way.” Baric replied, “I also think this is a good decision. Otherwise it looks self-serving and we lose impact.”

Below, we also have an email in which Daszak wrote his colleagues of USAID’s PREDICT program in April 2020 with subject line

RE: China Genbank Sequences
Importance: High

All – It’s extremely important that we don’t have these sequences as part of our PREDICT release to Genbank at this point.

As you may have heard, these were part of a grant just terminated by NIH.

… Having them as part of PREDICT will being [sic] very unwelcome attention to UC Davis, PREDICT and USAID.

Cheers, Peter

The terminated grant in question was the same NIAID grant which brought DEFUSE collaborators together in 2019. What were these China Genbank Sequences of high-importance? Why would these sequences connected to the DEFUSE PI’s NIAID grant bring unwelcome attention?

If these sequences were natural bat sarbecovirus sequences and if SARS-CoV-2 were a natural bat sarbecovirus, then China Genbank Sequences would reinforce the evolutionary history of sarbecoviruses, helping us see more clearly that SARS-CoV-2 were a natural virus. If that were the case, few would have a greater incentive than Daszak to disclose these sequences, but instead he chose to withhold them.

If SARS-CoV-2 were a laboratory product of DEFUSE-related work, then it makes sense the NIAID grant connecting DEFUSE collaborators would be terminated and sequences associated with this grant would bring “very unwelcome attention” to those who published the sequences, because somebody like me would look at the sequences and realize they provide even stronger evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was a product of DEFUSE-related work, that the suspects had the genomes on their computers prior to the emergence of this virus.

It would make sense that Daszak would not disclose DEFUSE nor China Genbank Sequences because he would have a consciousness of guilt. It would make sense he would assert himself as the US emissary to the WHO’s investigation and the leader of the Lancet’s Covid origins investigations without compromising his position by disclosing his conflicts of interest because he has an existential need to ensure investigations come to believe this is a natural virus, even if it is not.

There has remained the possibility that the Wuhan Institute of Virology could have proceeded with DEFUSE-related work without the consent of Peter Daszak. However, that seems unlikely when we examine the way the scientific community operates. Daszak was a ring-leader of a massive global alliance, EcoHealth Alliance, capable of acquiring tens of millions of dollars from USAID’s PREDICT project, the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation’s CEPI-funded Global Virome Project, NIAID’s grant “Understanding the risk of bat coronavirus emergence,” and more.

EcoHealth Alliance was such a powerhouse that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology would not have been able to publish such work without including DEFUSE PI’s – any attempt to publish such work would be flagged as failing to credit DEFUSE PI’s and that peer review battle would be a research ethics scandal that alienates the WIV from their most powerful and well-connected colleagues, greatly limiting their ability to have an impact in wildlife virology for years afterwards.

The WIV had published prior reverse genetics systems (Peng et al 2016) and chimeric CoVs (Hu et al. 2017) with Daszak. He was a close and valued collaborator of the bat sarbecovirus team at the WIV, he was closer in-network at the WIV than Ralph Baric, and the WIV had every incentive to conduct this research with Daszak to boost the reach of their work through his vast global network of wildlife virologists.

It’s possible the Chinese government could have proceeded with this work in a classified setting, but that wouldn’t explain Daszak’s own refusal to disclose DEFUSE, the “Statement” Baric did not have to sign, the China Genbank Sequences withheld.

Closing Remarks

Papers claiming a zoonotic origin have all been debunked.

The DEFUSE grant proposed a highly specific research program in 2018 that would create a virus like SARS-CoV-2, from the furin cleavage site never before documented in a sarbecovirus to the BsaI/BsmBI restriction map anomalous among wild CoVs and consistent with a reverse genetics system assembled with 6 segments. The only time BsaI and BsmBI had been used on a CoV before Covid was when Ben Hu, Peter Daszak, and Shi Zhengli made chimeric bat sarbecoviruses in Wuhan.

Lab-origin theory made several predictions about the specific research methods that would lead to the creation of SARS-CoV-2, and recently obtained drafts of DEFUSE contain precisely those methods to astonishing detail, from the S1/S2 insertion of a furin cleavage site to the 6-segment assembly with order forms for BsmBI. The drafts of DEFUSE also reveal Daszak’s awareness of DoD’s biosafety concerns, and his willingness to defraud the DoD at great risk to humanity by claiming to conduct risky research in UNC’s BSL-3 labs but intending to actually conduct the work in the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s problematic BSL-2 labs.

The authors of DEFUSE are a unique collaboration. They had never all written a paper together before DEFUSE. They were all on a call with NIAID discussing SARs-CoVs in 2019. Included on the 2019 call was Ben Hu, the exact scientist who was unique in using BsaI + BsmBI on a coronavirus pre-Covid. After SARS-CoV-2 emerged, Daszak coordinated with Baric and Linfa Wang to author a “Statement” but not sign it to not look self-serving, and Daszak wrote a high-importance email ordering his UC Davis colleagues to not upload China Genbank Sequences that were part of the recently terminated NIH/NIAID grant connecting DEFUSE PI’s.

The evidence we have suggests not only beyond reasonable doubt that SARS-CoV-2 emerged from a lab, but that the unique collaboration leading us to believe a lab origin beyond reasonable doubt had NIAID support, had sequences they withheld with knowledge the sequences could bring unwelcome attention to whoever uploaded them, and proceeded to mount what can legitimately be called a disinformation campaign calling lab origin theories “conspiracy theories” while conspiring to not sign their own statements to mislead readers into thinking such statements came from independent, unconflicted scientists.

Over 20 million people have died. Over 60 million people faced acute hunger. Over 100 million children were thrown into multidimensional poverty. Trillions of dollars were lost as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic was an historic catastrophe that originated by researchers who had DEFUSE in hand and who willingly bypassed ruled and regulations to conduct risky work the authors knew would enhance a potentially pandemic pathogen, as the purpose of PREEMPT was to preempt pandemics by focusing on potentially pandemic pathogens.

The authors who wrote DEFUSE behaved with a consciousness of guilt once the research product proposed in their grant began circulating around the world, and both our scientists and science-funding institutions have withheld critical information that reveals the nature of research proposed, and conducted, at the Wuhan Institute of Virology with the support of the US taxpayer.

Time, forensic analyses of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, and further evidence has only strengthened the case for a lab origin. We can further strengthen the case with more evidence, but with information in the public domain we already have enough evidence to justify probable cause to investigate DEFUSE PI’s, preponderance of evidence in civil suits of DEFUSE PI’s, and beyond-reasonable-doubt confidence that SAR-CoV-2 emerged from a lab even if we don’t know who held the pipette. I’ll let lawyers figure out if bypassing biosafety safeguards and accidentally killing 20 million people constitutes negligence, if causing a global pandemic is a crime.

The forensic scientific case of SARS-CoV-2 origins is like the case of a close network of friends who were all in a room together in which someone died, we have a proposal by these friends to kill that specific person with the specific bullet, in that specific room, at that general time when all of these researchers were in the room together. While the statement wasn’t funded, it should be read as a revelation of the intentions of the group. We may not know who pulled the trigger, but we know a murder occurred and every author of the letter is a suspect who knows more than they are currently sharing with the public.

It’s past time for impartial investigations that force the retention of documents by all parties found at the scene of the crime.

We can separate this research-related incident from our society and from all of science only once we separate the scientists and their funders and compel them to provide a full account of their activities in Wuhan in 2019. Only then can the world have truth, reconciliation, and hope for proper regulation of risky research and the scientific systems that made a lab-created pandemic possible.

Republished from the author’s Substack



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Author

  • Alex Washburne

    Alex Washburne is a mathematical biologist and the founder and chief scientist at Selva Analytics. He studies competition in ecological, epidemiological, and economic systems research, with research on covid epidemiology, the economic impacts of pandemic policy, and stock market response to epidemiological news.

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