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Did scientists stifle the lab-leak theory? Jeremy Farrar's pandemic tale raises more questions than it answers


July 22, 2021   10 mins

In September 2019, even as a new respiratory virus may have started circulating in a central Chinese city, some prominent figures issued a wake up call to the world about the risks of a pandemic. The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, a group of 15 politicians and scientists brought together by the World Health Organisation, warned that a new disease could spread rapidly around the planet, killing millions of people while sparking panic, crippling economies and destabilising security. “The world is not prepared for a fast-moving, virulent respiratory pathogen pandemic.”

The board members included Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, alongside George F Gao, director-general of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and Anthony Fauci, the US infectious diseases expert and presidential adviser. This was not surprising: Farrar is an expert in tropical diseases as well as head of Europe’s biggest philanthropic research funding body and a sure-footed political operator in the world of public health. His £29bn foundation also helped cover costs for the board.

They were, of course, proved right almost instantly. Sadly, their report came too late to achieve its valiant aim of stepping up preparation for a pandemic given the speed of Covid-19’s spread from Wuhan last year. Yet their words were astonishingly prescient. And among the risks highlighted by these experts were the technological advances that “allow for disease-creating micro-organisms to be engineered or recreated in laboratories”, warning how their accidental release might be more devastating than a natural epidemic: “Accidental or deliberate events caused by high-impact respiratory pathogens pose global catastrophic biological risks.”

History shows that labs can leak. So it is strange that Farrar, like his two expert friends, has played such a pivotal role in stifling suggestions that this new virus might have come from a laboratory rather than emerged through natural zoonotic transmission from animals. Spike: The Virus v The People — his book co-authored with Anjana Ahuja from the Financial Times — is a rather self-promotional work, lambasting the politicians he has been advising as a member of Sage for their failures in handling the disease, although his defence of publication seems valid. “Everyone needs to learn the lessons, scientists included,” he writes. “We only honour the dead by pledging to learn from the mistakes that cost them their lives. Protecting lives, and our way of life, is infinitely more important than protecting reputations.”

Such was his fury with government actions last summer that Farrar sent a memo to colleagues about the need to “be honest and transparent”. So why does he decline to answer questions about his own actions in early days of this pandemic that led to the crushing of discussion over possibility that it might be the result of some kind of incident involving one of Wuhan’s laboratories? These include Wuhan Institute of Virology, the biggest bat coronavirus research unit in Asia that was carrying out risky experiments and had known safety concerns. 

“It was odd for a spillover event, from animals to humans, to take off in people so immediately and spectacularly in a city with a biolab” writes Farrar — especially with a new virus that “seemed almost designed to infect human cells”. Many others had similar suspicions — and in recent weeks, such concerns have started being taken more seriously. 

Yet Farrar was a central figure behind two landmark documents published by influential science journals that played a key role in shutting down discussion of the lab leak hypothesis by branding it conspiracy theory. These statements, signed and promoted by leading figures in the scientific establishment, pushed an idea that the pandemic was a natural occurrence by arguing against the plausibility of “any type of laboratory-based scenario”. Critics say this “false narrative” set back understanding of the disease for more than a year.

Although Farrar criticises some aspects of China’s cover-up in his book — including confirming my report last June that scientists there had sequenced the Sars-CoV-2 genome in December 2019 before the world even knew about the disease — he went out of his way to praise Beijing in the early weeks of the pandemic. “China deserves great credit”, he gushed on Twitter in mid-January. Two weeks later he claimed it was “setting a new standard for outbreak response and deserves all our thanks”. Yet the reality was a Communist dictatorship that silenced doctors trying to warn citizens, covered up human transmission and allowed Chinese New Year festivities to carry on despite this entailing the largest annual migration of people on the planet. 

As the Wellcome boss says, “speed matters perhaps more than anything else in disease outbreaks”. Certainly things moved fast the day after that tweet when Fauci was sent an article in Science magazine examining how researchers were trying to unravel the virus origins. It detailed work by British scientist Peter Daszak and his friend Shi Zhengli from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in sampling thousands of bats and finding 500 new coronaviruses. The article discussed controversies over risky “gain of function” experiments, including mention of a 2015 paper by Shi and a US expert on modification of a Sars-like bat virus to boost infectivity to humans.

Emails released through freedom of information requests show Fauci instantly circulated the article to US officials and contacted Farrar saying it was “of interest to the current discussion”. The Wellcome boss then set up a conference call for the pair of them with 11 other experts from around the world, warning their discussions were “in total confidence” and information “not to be shared” without prior agreement. Farrar also sent Fauci a link to an article on ZeroHedge, a financial blog, that tied a Wuhan researcher to the virus outbreak. The site was banned the next day from Twitter — a move the social media firm later admitted was “an error”.

We do not know full details of what was discussed on the 1 February call since many of the emails were redacted and Farrar refused to tell me when I asked his office. We do know there were discussions that day over contacting Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the WHO, with fears he might “prevaricate” — and that two days later the Ethiopian doctor made a call to “combat the spread of rumours and misinformation” and for countries “to work together in a spirit of solidarity”. 

We also know that five days after the conference call, Daszak began circulating the draft of a statement published later that month in The Lancet. This letter, signed by 27 global experts including Farrar and two Wellcome Trust colleagues, condemned “conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid-19 does not have a natural origin”. Later it emerged that Daszak had organised this missive, telling signatories they must ensure it was not “identifiable” as coming from one person or organisation so it was seen as “simply a letter from leading scientists”. 

This Lancet statement played a key role in stifling discussion of a possible lab leak. Such was its influence that Facebook reportedly used it to block discussion of the idea — leading to one of my articles being labelled a conspiracy theory. Yet four signatories have since said the hypothesis merits investigation — with one now convinced Sars-CoV-2 arose from a “sloppy” researcher. Strangely, Farrar does not mention the Lancet letter in his book. And there is only brief mention of Daszak, saying he should not have joined the WHO study team in Wuhan after dismissing the lab origin — including in a Guardian article attacking “conspiracy theories”, an article that Farrar promoted on social media. “Always worth reading @PeterDaszak” the Wellcome chief tweeted.

Among the participants in Farrar’s call were four of the five eminent experts who published a commentary six weeks later in Nature Medicine entitled “The proximal origin of Sars-CoV-2”. This quintet — with lead author Kristian Andersen, an immunologist at Scripps Research institute in California — stated firmly that they “do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible”. This statement in a world-renowned journal, which has been accessed 5.5 million times, further depressed debate of alternative theories on the origins, despite being challenged by a few brave voices in the scientific community.

Yet the release of thousands of Fauci emails last month revealed that Andersen, when sent the Science article at the end of January, admitted a close look at the genetic sequences of Sars-CoV-2 showed that “some of the features (potentially) look engineered” and that other experts agreed the genome was “inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory”. Andersen later explained this showed “clear example of the scientific process” — then deleted his combative account on Twitter. 

Now things become even more perplexing with the release of Farrar’s book. He admits he was terrified by the “huge coincidence” of a coronavirus cropping up in “a city with a superlab” and the geo-political implications of a leak at a time of US-Sino tensions. “This was a brand-new virus that seemingly sprang from nowhere,” he says. “Except that this pathogen had surfaced in Wuhan, a city with a BSL-4 virology lab which is home to an almost unrivalled collection of bat viruses.”

The new coronavirus “might not even be that novel at all”, he thought. “It might have been engineered years ago, put in a freezer, and then taken out more recently by someone who decided to work on it again. And then, maybe, there was … an accident?” He was so concerned that he confided in Eliza Manningham-Buller, then the Wellcome Trust chair and a former head of the MI5 intelligence service, who told him to start taking precautions such as avoiding putting things in emails and using a burner phone for key conversations.

So what changed his mind so firmly he started signing letters and tweeting about alleged conspiracy theories? When I asked Farrar to share the evidence that set his mind at rest, he pointed to the Nature Medicine article. Yet his office told me later he helped “convene” these five authors. They also insist that “the weight of available data and scientific evidence continues to point towards zoonotic origins”. But scientists have found no hard evidence on the pandemic origins, despite testing 80,000 samples on animals to find a natural link, while China has made increasingly ludicrous claims over the origins as well as covering up the outbreak, lying over the date of first cases and taking offline Wuhan’s key database of samples and viral sequences.

Now Farrar writes that at the end of January Andersen “confessed” that three things alarmed him about the new virus: its receptor binding domain, which attaches to infect a host cell and “looked too good to be true — like a perfect key for entering human cells”; the furin cleavage site, not found on similar categories of bat coronaviruses and something expected “if someone had set out to adapt an animal coronavirus to humans by taking a specific suit of genetic material from elsewhere and inserting it”; and a scientific paper using this technique to modify the original Sars virus behind the 2003 outbreak that “looked like a how-to manual for building the Wuhan coronavirus in a laboratory”.

Before the call on 1 February, Farrar says Andersen was “60 to 70%” convinced the virus came from a lab, while Australian virologist Eddie Holmes was “80% sure this thing had come out of a lab”. Patrick Vallance, Britain’s chief scientific officer who joined the call, tipped off intelligence agencies about their concerns. But others on the hour-long call argued the new virus “was more convincingly explained, scientifically, as a natural spillover than a laboratory event”. Afterwards, the participants swapped notes but Farrar remained torn on the origins. “On a spectrum if 0 is nature and 100 is release I am honestly at 50,” he emailed Fauci. “My guess is this will remain grey unless there is access to the Wuhan lab — and I suspect that is unlikely.”

Professor Jeremy Farrar, in Vietnam. Credit: Chau Doan/LightRocket/Getty

Anderson told him that he suddenly realised he might be the person who proved the new virus came from a lab. “I didn’t necessarily want to be that person,” he said. “When you make big claims like that you had better be sure that you can conclude something is based on evidence and not on speculation.” So according to Farrar, then five experts wrestled with the evidence and, the following month, they declared in Nature Medicine that Sars-CoV-2 was “not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus”. 

They accepted the virus had strange properties that made it so virulent. But Farrar says their conclusion was based on the fact that it attaches to human cells so differently from the first Sars while also unlike “any of the known viruses used in gain of function research”. This was said to make “deliberate manipulation an implausible scenario” on grounds that “the most methodical way of conjuring up a nightmare virus would be to take a virus that is already a known quantity and crank up its infectivity”. They offered the circumstantial evidence that RaTG13, the closest known coronavirus to Sars-CoV-2, had different binding mechanisms — yet similar ones were found on pangolins, so “the ingredients
were out in the wild. They did not need to have escaped, or been unleashed, from a containment lab.”

This is a reasonable argument — but it is not firm evidence. Nor is it any more convincing than the idea of a leak. Not least since Shi has admitted to collecting eight more Sars-like viruses alongside RaTG13 in southern China that have not been shared, along with all those samples on the Wuhan Institute of Virology database that was mysteriously taken offline in September 2019. Shi was also forced to clarify the Nature paper she wrote on RaTG13 since she did not disclose its name had been changed from another virus identified in a previous paper. This masked a link to three miners who died from a strange respiratory disease caught while clearing out bat droppings in a cave hundreds of miles from Wuhan that was used by Shi and her colleagues to collect samples from bats.

There is another weird twist to Farrar’s story. He writes how the quintet published their findings in Nature Medicine “after the addition of new information, endless analyses, intense discussions and many sleepless nights” and agonising over the information. But two months ago Robert Garry, one of the authors, was interviewed about their efforts. “We looked at the possibility of lab creation,” he said. “We gave it every unbiased look. Our conclusion was it was very unlikely that it was a constructed virus cobbled together somehow in the lab.” Fair enough. Yet he added that “the first draft was complete on 1 February” — which was, of course, the same day as that conference call led by Farrar.

The Fauci emails also show that three days later, Farrar sent over “a very rough first draft from Eddie and the team”, urging his American friend to keep it confidential. The email trail includes a note from Holmes — who was an adviser to Beijing’s CDC — saying he was sending a summary that would be further edited. “It’s fundamental science and completely neutral as written. Did not mention other anomalies as this will make us look like loons.” When I queried this with Holmes, he responded: “It was a restriction enzyme site followed by some sequence conservation. We soon realised this was nothing untoward.” 

On the same day, however, Andersen told another group of experts that “the data conclusively show that neither (engineering for basic research or nefarious reasons) was done”. So far from having “many sleepless nights”, these scientists seem to have changed their minds amazingly fast and reached fresh conclusions.

The following day Farrar sent another note to Fauci saying the WHO had “listened and acted” and was asking for names for a group probing “the origins and evolution” of the virus. This was, presumably, the study group that — incredibly — included Daszak, despite possible conflicts of interest and one year later delivered a report downplaying a lab leak as “extremely unlikely”, which sparked furious condemnation across the West. And, yes, which Farrar said should not have included Daszak since “it would have been better for him to have recused himself and for the WHO to have appointed someone who would have been perceived as more impartial”.

The more we learn, the stranger these events seem to become. The one point of agreement in this fierce debate on the origins is that it is vital to find the truth so the world can be better prepared for pandemics — as those 15 experts warned us weeks before the pandemic erupted. More and more scientists, along with politicians and journalists, have come to accept the lab leak hypothesis is not a conspiracy theory and merits serious investigation until the facts prove otherwise — especially after Donald Trump’s accusations were echoed by his Democrat successor Joe Biden.

Despite Farrar’s initial concern, and his involvement in the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, he sees things rather differently. He insists “the evidence strongly suggests that Covid-19 arose after a natural spillover event”, although adding that we must ensure labs are safe. “The tragedy is that this entire controversy over the origins of the pandemic coronavirus turned out to be a distraction,” he concludes defiantly. “The conspiracist blame game was a fig leaf to disguise the failure of American governance.”

Yet for all his certainty, there are valid fears that we may really have been given an unwelcome glimpse of the failures of China’s governance — and the curious role of a Western scientific establishment in suppressing a crucial debate.


Ian Birrell is an award-winning foreign reporter and columnist. He is also the founder, with Damon Albarn, of Africa Express.

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Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

People should be marched off to the courts (I’m excluding Chinese nationals for obvious reasons): inter alia Anthony Fauci, Jeremy Farrar, Tedros Ghebreyesus, Peter Daszak, Jack Dorsey, the other 27 experts who signed the Lancet statement, Mark Zuckerberg, Kristian Andersen. I’ll chuck in the editor of The Guardian too and this is just from this article. I think for now I’ll throw in Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty for good measure – for never even bothering to mention Ivermectin.

Last edited 3 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago

See Rand Paul’s most recent senate clash with Fauci and the Indian Bar Association taking WHO to court over Ivermectin.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

Will have a look for it! Thanks

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago

If it’s going to be anyone to confront this head on it will be the US.
Much like it took the FBI to come kicking in FIFA’s door, these organisations are too big and diverse for any other country’s government to have the clout to take them on.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

The problem was that Rand would not let Fauci answer and so nothing was learned.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

The one I saw Fauci just mounted a straw man argument. He did talk.

Alan T
Alan T
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

You are right. He needed to allow Fauci to spell out his new fangled GOF definition. I, for one, wanted to hear it.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Looked but can’t find it
. Can you drop me a link or tell me which channel I can search on? Can only YouTube this.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago

For Fauci: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQdyegf4n1U
Sky News Australia seems to be prepared to air this clash more than most outlets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRlqnTkt59U
The Indian Bar Association: https://healthpolicy-watch.news/indian-bar-association-rebukes-who-chief-scientist-over-whos-ivermectin-guidelines-for-covid-treatment/
Also many links if you google ‘indian bar association sues who’

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago

Personally I think all these so-called scientific experts have been very disingenuous. The fact is that if one finds the wife murdered in her home, the first suspect is the husband. That’s not a conspiracy theory on the part of the investigating detectives but rather borne out of experience and common sense.
Likewise, if a viral outbreak is centered in Wuhan involving a member of a family of viruses that is being heavily studied in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, WIV (which had been collected 1000s of corona bat viruses,l harbored thousands of bats, and was passaging these viruses through humanized mice), it is self-evident that the WIV should be considered the source of the virus until proven otherwise. And similarly, if there were a viral outbreak centered in Bethesda Maryland, the first suspect should be the Bioterrorism labs at the NIH on the Bethesda campus; likewise, if an outbreak was centered in Frederick Maryland, the first suspect should be USAMRIID in Fort Detrick. And if people started mysteriously dying from a viral illness in the village of Porton, one would immediately suspect the U.K. Biological warfare lab at Portland Down.
This isn’t rocket science. It’s common sense. And the fact that these scientific experts purposefully mislead the public and the media is a disgrace bordering on the criminal.
But with all that being said, in the end it really doesn’t matter whether the virus escaped from the WIV accidentally or came from the wild – the net outcome would not have changed. What does change, however, is how such labs and research should be treated in the future. i.e. if this occurred once, in this instance from the WIV, it will occur again and again until such time as this sort of very dangerous research (gain of function, etc….) is banned worldwide. And the fact that NIH funded research at the WIV indirectly to get around a ban on gain-of-function work by the Obama administration suggests that the leadership of the NIH is so arrogant that they believe they can do anything they want. Perhaps they have now learnt their lesson but I very much doubt it judging from Fauci’s performance yesterday during his interchange with Sen. Rand.

Geoffrey Wilson
Geoffrey Wilson
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I think it does matter whether it is natural or a lab leak. If it leaked from a lab, the lab and the responsible authorities such as CCP, would have had full details of it including how best to deal with the coming epidemic. Counter-measures such as what actually happened with China stopping internal flights but not international flights from Wuhan would have been decided based on good knowledge of their effects. I don’t think the authorities can be absolved of responsibility for the actual effects of that (the spread in Europe and the US) if it was a lab leak.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

If you negligently cause loss and death you are financially responsible to make good on that. The Chinese Locked ALL internal travel out of Wuhan, wile allowing half a million of people to fly out internationally! They seeded the world. They should be responsible to pay for this for this reason.

If USA had been the one who managed this all, from an American lab leak, the global response would be 100% different!

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago

Just so you know I didn’t mean to imply that it doesn’t matter whether the origin was natural or from a lab in terms of culpability, and that those responsible for the lab leak and underhand funding of gain of function research shouldn’t be punished (which I doubt will occur under the current US administration). What I meant is that the outcome would have remained the same worldwide unless the CCP had decided to contain the outbreak in Wuhan immediately and had shut down all international flights out of Wuhan. But the same is also true if the origin was natural.
As for whether this came from a lab leak, and I believe they were operating at BSL2 instead of BSL4, I have absolutely no doubt that it did. In fact everybody in Wuhan knew it came from the lab (as reported to me by a co-worker who came back from China after visiting for the Chinese New Year just before the US banned flights from China. The fact is that it is self-evident (with I would say greater than 99% likelihood) that it came from a lab leak.

robert stowells
robert stowells
2 years ago

I think that we owe a debt to writers like Ian Birrell and the sanity and doggedness evidently thankfully present and alive. This article has given me much hope and also cause for thought about this lab leak possibility.
I do think that it matters whether it is natural or a lab leak. However, the most deeply worrying aspect is how, regardless of origin, humanity has happily, almost gleefully, taken to lockdown and mask wearing. It is this development which I see as what could be described as an “Adam and Eve” moment, and therefore so major, whereby conscious living in nature with all its good and bad (including COVID) along with that large degree of abuse of nature is now replaced by a new era of humanity living in definite and outright hostility to nature – not only apart but now hostile.

Michael Richardson
Michael Richardson
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Brett Weinstein addresses the “does it make any difference” argument; he makes (I think) a very good case that it does matter. If it was a laboratory leak then this sort of research needs to be stopped, it is too dangerous. If it was a zoonotic spillover then the research needs to be continued, because the results will be needed.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago

If it came from the wild, it can return again from the wild. If lab created it may be possible to eventually get rid of the threat. In terms of continued lab research, it should continue but only if properly contained. The Wade Medium paper says the research work was being done at less than full biocontainment – because the higher levels made work harder(!). The cascade of errors in judgement ought to make us all fearful, including the judgement of scientists to squash the lab leak hypothesis.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

I think I read work was done at level 2 and should have been at a minimum of level 4. Something astonishing like that.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
2 years ago

Yes, I also read an account stating that, and from a credible source. It’s all too believable when researchers operate in a highly competitive publication environment, whilst evidently holding an arrogant disregard for the people who live and work in the vicinity of their lab.
When I was an undergraduate back in the 1980s, the regulations surrounding even the most innocuous genetically manipulated bacteria were (quite correctly) extremely stringent. Yet now we have evidence that high risk viruses (with multiple unknown behaviors as wild type) are being genetically manipulated with the sort of (relatively low risk profile) precautions that I would use to handle a sample of a human fluid aspirate at work. Astonishing.

Michael Richardson
Michael Richardson
2 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

“properly contained” … in principal I might agree, but in practice I think that the change of there never being a containment failure is small enough that this is research that should not be done.

Mangle Tangle
Mangle Tangle
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

“But with all that being said, in the end it really doesn’t matter whether the virus escaped from the WIV accidentally or came from the wild…” – as others have said, it does. Here’s just one reason. If the CCP suspected (and they aren’t dumb) that it was their lab that leaked the virus (accidentally, no doubt), that might have affected their thinking about how to respond. It might have created a kind of panic. And that might have had something to do with cover ups, continuing to send business-people and tourists abroad, etc. Having said all that, there is also something nauseating about the praise of China’s response that comes from these dodgy scientists. They gave that praise when they must have had the same, or more, misgivings we now have. Have they been bought?

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
3 years ago

Many thanks to Ian Birrell for this piece. The great propaganda coup of the notorious Lancet letter was getting everybody to think of the Lab Leak hypothesis as one of those dreaded conspiracy theories. In fact, the Lab Leak hypothesis comprises a c**k-up (followed by a cover-up).
One tiny quibble: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the WHO, is referred to as “the Ethiopian doctor”. He is not a medical doctor (though he did study biology and has a (non-clinical) PhD. He got the job at WHO because of his track record as a politician.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Yes, this annoys me too because most people then assume that he is a medical doctor.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 years ago

Exactly. He cultivates this misapprehension by using the form “Dr. Tedros”.

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

In fact, he is the first non-medical person ever to be appointed to head up the WHO. Imperial’s Dr David Nabarro was the front runner until the Chinese stepped in a cornered the African vote (what a surprise) to have Tedros eleted.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

“In October 2017, Tedros named Mugabe a “goodwill ambassador” to help combat non-communicable diseases in Africa”

“Ethiopia has borrowed billions from China, reportedly including more than $ 13 Billion during Tedros’ tenure as foreign minister between 2012 and 2016.” (this is the Chinese ‘Default Diplomacy’ where the Chinese loan huge amounts on shady projects by getting corrupt officials to sign off, then when it inevitable defaults they take resources in exchange, and also take great power over the defaulted nation)

“As a member of the violent and powerful communist Ethiopian political party known as the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Tedros rose through Ethiopia’s autocratic regime as health (2005-2012) and foreign minister (2012-2016). Analysts, reportedly including American government officials, have listed the TPLF in the Global Terrorism Database.”

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
2 years ago

I doubt that I am alone in being somewhat suspicious that a prediction of pandemic came so close to it actually happening – just weeks in fact. Was it “prescient” or based on advance information?

Pascal Bercker
Pascal Bercker
2 years ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

It’s worth noting that a wide variety of health officials and politicians – over many decades – have been warning of potential epidemics and pandemics, and the need to be prepared. Indeed Obama bequeathed to Trump probably mostly unread documents about the state of unreadiness for pandemics of this magnitude. The point is simply that there was not just “a prediction”, but rather a long series of such warnings over the previous decade. Some have even said (probably in jest) that Nostradamus predicted COVID19!

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Pascal Bercker

Given the timing and the subsequent cover ups there is every reason to believe that they knew already. They were just playing dumb.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

Yes, leapt out at me. I believe that they knew it had already escaped.

Venkatraman Anantha Nageswaran
Venkatraman Anantha Nageswaran
2 years ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

Exactly! I am surprised that Ian Birrell does not pursue that angle. In fact, that was the thought that crossed my mind as I read about that ‘prescient’ pandemic warning.
In fact, in September 2019, both the WHO and the Johns Hopkins University had held conferences or published reports on Non-Pharmaceutical interventions to deal with pandemics.
Links:
(1) https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/non-pharmaceutical-public-health-measuresfor-mitigating-the-risk-and-impact-of-epidemic-and-pandemic-influenza
(2) https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/news/center-news/2019/2019-09-18-GPMBreport.html
How about that for coincidences?!

Charles McEwan
Charles McEwan
2 years ago

Here is a link discussing the patent applications around coronavirus over the last 20 years which prove it is not novel, dates back decades and strongly suggests that the pandemic was actually planned. Deception about vaccines goes back to HIV – remember the story about a Green Monkey being the source which turned out to be false. Was HIV manufactured in the lab?
https://youtu.be/gsDlHprql-g

Below is a minimal transcript of parts of the interview with the timings so you can easily find the topic and listen to the full discussion.
A Manufactured Illusion: Dr David Martin with Reiner FuellmichDr David Martin: Since 1998 We are World’s largest Underwriter of intangible assets used in finance in 168 countries. Monitor thematic interests. Monitor innovation and finance
3.00 – reviewed 4000 patents relating to SARS Corona virus and reviewed financing
3.50 analysed document about reported gene sequence that were novel. Analysis of 120+ patented pieces of evidence showed that there was no novel Corona virus. Countless subtle modifications of Corona virus sequences but no single identified novel corona virus at all. Records in patent records of application back in 1999 which were not novel – for 2 decades.
6.12 first vaccine patented for corona virus (S spike protein) was in 2000. So we didn’t mysteriously stumble on the way to intervene on viruses – is false. US patent 6372224 spike protein virus vaccine for canine corona virus.
8.35 more problematic – Fauci and NIAID found the malleability of corona virus to be a potential candidate for HIV vaccines. So SARS is not a natural virus. In 1999 Fauci funded research to create an infectious, replication, defective virus targeted for human lung epithelia – we made SARS and patented it in 2002. The patent clearly laid out in very specific gene sequencing that we knew that the Ace receptor, the S1 Spike protein was not only engineered but could be synthetically modified in the lab using nothing more than normal gene sequencing technologies taking computer code and turning it into a pathogen and funded exclusively in the early days as a means to harness corona as a vector to distribute HIV vaccine.
11.35 gets worse. My organization was asked to monitor biological and chemical weapons treaty violations early in 2000, Through Fall of 2001 we began monitoring an enormous number of bacterial and viral pathogens that were being patented through NIH, NIAID, US Ammed Services programme etc. We were concerned that Corona virus was seen as potential manipulatable agent for use as vaccine vector but also as biological weapon candidate.
14.00 Corona virus is not new. Outbreak in China 2002 – 2003 gave rise to gave rise to filing in April 2003 by US CDC. Entire gene sequence of what because SARS Coronavirus was filed which is a violation of US Code. But you cannot patent a natural substance. Also derivative patents which covered gene sequence of SARS/Coronavirus and also the means of detecting it using RTPCR.
BUT if you own the patent on the gene itself and the patent on its detection you have an advantage to being able to control 100% of the provenance of the virus and its detection so you have entire scientific and message control. To justify the patent application, it was claimed that everyone would be free to research corona virus. BUT the gene sequence was already in the public domain and so could not be patented. The CDC over-rode the rejection of the patent by the patent office.
17.40 Every public stamen made by the CDC that this was in the public interest is falsifiable by their own paid bribe to the patent office and they paid an additional fee to keep their application private.
18.40 Fact Checkers have consistently stated that the novel coronavirus SARS COV 2 is distinct from the CDC patent. The gene sequences 899 – 99% overlaps.
19.55 The disingenuous fact checking that says that the CDC is not connected with this patent or pathogen is beyond the literal credibility of the published sequences and beyond credulity . Three days after CDC filed the patent on the SARS Corona virus 2003, Sequoia pharmaceuticals, (set up in Maryland, and eventually because part of Pfizer, J&J etc) filed a patent on anti-viral agents and control of infections by Coronavirus. The treatment was available 3 days later.
21.41 How would one have a patent on a treatment for a thing that was invented 3 days earlier. And it was patented before the CDC patent was allowed. The information was only available to insiders. It is not physically possible to patent a thing that treats a thing that had not been published because CDC had paid to keep it secret.
22.50 This is the definition of criminal conspiracy, racketeering and collusion. This is not theory but evidence. The reco pattern which was established in April 2003 for the first Corona virus was played out to exactly the same schedule when we see SARS COV-2 show up, when we have Moderna getting the spike protein sequence by phone from the Vaccine research centre at NIAID prior to the defn of the novel sub claim. How do you treat a thing before you have the thing.
It gets worse
24.10  5th June 2008. Series of patents filed which specifically targeted what we have been told is the novel feature of the SARS COV2 virus – the polybasic cleavage site for SARS/ ACE 2 receptor binding domain after the Gain of Function moratorium. Then a series of patents 2016, 2017, 2019 for the RNA and gene strands issued all identifying in patent filings every attribute that was allegedly uniquely published by the single referenced publication, the novel bat coronavirus, the paper that has been routinely used to identify the novel virus but you find 73 patents (2008-2019) which have the elements that were allegedly novel in the SARS COV2.
27.57 so the clinically novel components of the clinically unique, clinically contagious – there was no outbreak of SARS because we had engineered all of the elements of that and by 2016 the paper that was funded during the gain of function moratorium that said that the SARS Coronavirus was POISED FOR EMERGENCE AND PATENTED FOR COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION 73 times. 
29.10 For those who want to live in the illusion that that was the end of the story, Somebody knew something in 2015 and 2016 which give rise to my favourite quote by Peter Dashit (the person who corroborated the Chinese non-lab leak theory, but there was not a lab leak this was an intentional  bio-weaponisation of spike protein to get people addicted to a pan Corona virus vaccine.)  â€œWe need to increase public understanding of the need for medical counter measures such as a pan coronavirus virus vaccine. A KEY DRIVER IS THE MEDIA AND THE ECONOMICS WILL FOLLOW THE HYPE. We need to use that hype to get to the real issues. INVESTORS WILL INVEST IF THEY SEE PROFIT AT THE END OF THE PROCESS.”
 
32,00 Every study launched to prove a lab leak is a red herring -m 73n patents on everything clinically novel
32.26 Biggest bombshell – to prove this was not a release of anything, because the patent on the recombinant nature of the lung targeting Coronavirus was transferred mysteriously from the Uni of North Carolina to the national Institute of Health in 2018. BUT   – so explain why in 2027/2018 suddenly the NIH have to take ownership of the Patent they already had rights to.
 
33.56 On the single patent required to develop the vaccine research institutes mandate shared in 2019 began the sequencing of a spike protein vaccine a month before an outbreak ever happened. It is all about money. The script for this was written in 2004 by Merck. Merck introduced the notion of the new normal, the brand name adopted by WHO, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (included Fasuci and Bill Gates Dr Elias) . First intro of new normal to get people to accept universal pan corona vaccine was adopted 2004
36,31 Moderna knew it would be in front of line in mar 2109. But in Mar 2019 there was amendments to 4 rejected patent filings to make reference to deliberate release of Corona virus. So in March 2019 they began the process of developing a corona virus vaccine. 38.54 They had a coronavirus vaccine BEFORE we had a pathogen.
From 2016 – 2019 at every one of the NIAID advisory council board meetings Fauci complained that he could not find a way to accept the universal influenza vaccine. By March 2019 in the amended patent filings of Moderna we see the phrase “what if there was an intentional release of a respiratory pathogen” a phrase that is stated in the book “A World at Risk” put together by WHO in Sep 2019 i.e. months before there is an alleged pathogen which says we need to have a Global coordinated experience of a respiratory pathogen release, which by sept 2020 must put in place a universal capacity for public relations management, crowd control, and the acceptance of a universal vaccine mandate – that was sept 2019.
42.40 It was Moderna’s revitalizsed patent applications in March 2019, to include the deliberate release of a respiratory pathogen language
44.10 WHO had declared coronavirus a dead interest – we had eradicated coronavirus as a concern. So why having eradicated it in 2007-2008 did we spend billions of dollars for a vaccine for a thing that had been eradicated by declaration?
45.00 coronavirus is a tool for creating a biological weapon and for population control.
45.25 This was seen as a highly malleable bio-weapon. By 2005 it was unquestionably a weapon of choice. WE ARE NOT HAVING A VACCINE FOR A VIRUS. We are injecting a spike protein mRNA sequence a computer simulation not derived from nature known and patented for years. This is not preventative medicine. There has been no effort by big Pharma to combat the virus. This is about getting people injected with the known to be harmful S1 spike protein.
48.05 Fauci’s own patented application was rejected by the Patent Office because the immune response produced by a vaccine must be more than merely some immune response but must also be protective – vaccine must prevent infection.
49.50 I raised these issues in 2002 and now we are in a world where hundreds of millions of people being injected with pathogen stimulating computer sequences sold under what the Patent office, medical prof, and FDA would not agree is a vaccine but is instead a biological weapon.
 
 

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles McEwan

Well done Charles for clearly summarising this long and intricate report. If there is any truth in David Martin’s evidence at all then this is devastating news.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles McEwan

If the patents are there to see, then why hasn’t this work been followed up?
I cannot understand what Obama knew. He stopped federal funding for the gain f function work in 2014 because he was concerned about the release of a dangerous virus. Does this mean a virus existed or had it yet to be created? The patent works suggests it existed. Did the work stop because the federal funding stopped? It seems to me that it did not. Why did Obama return the funding just before he left office?
What has happened to investigative journalism?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles McEwan

Impressive researched post, Charles. Now do one on the Pharma$ and Ivermectin. Then one on the insane Politicos pushing Lock down when it so obviously was unaffordable and more destructive than helpful.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

We’re at the end of a century long march of “progressive” politics whereby it’s assumed that by setting up supernanny “health and safety” organizations like the WHO we’ll all be better off because they have only OUR better interests at heart and the scientific know-how to bring those interests about. Why don’t “progressives” EVER learn?

Diana Durham
Diana Durham
2 years ago

Great article. What I come away with is that essentially, when faced with the choice of whether to make public the likelihood of a leak, the key player/s simply did not have enough courage, and hid behind obfuscation.

Last edited 2 years ago by Diana Durham
Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

We don’t need the truth to be better prepared against the next virus. We need to truth to jail those responsible for this virus.

Joe Wein
Joe Wein
2 years ago

The outrage in all this is not particularly the scientists, as self-serving and mendacious as they appear to be – but social media. By suppressing alternative discussions of the origins of covid as being “conspiracy theories” on the basis of “expert” opinion, they did a larger disservice to the world in one year, than all of the accumulated positives that they have done since their founding.

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

I’ve said it before in response to Mr. Birrell’s covid reporting but I’ll happily say it again: thank you for your continued efforts to discover the true source of the sars-covid-2 virus. I’m not optimistic he’ll ever get to the bottom of this situation but you never know.
I think Daszak’s inclusion in the WHO team that visited Wuhan was a Godsend. It highlighted the untrustworthiness of the WHO and its role investigating the origin of the virus. Without Daszak’s presence the world’s attention would likely have quickly moved on from the WHO’s attempt at a whitewash.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago

This is real journalism.

Richard Lord
Richard Lord
2 years ago

One of the losers in all of this mess is science and scientists. The publics faith in science has been irreversibly damaged. The SAGE process has turned into scientists bickering and trying to grab the headlines, no doubt to boost themselves personally and to gain funding for their University or organisation. I’m sick of their pronouncements and grandstanding. As for the so called modellers, don’t get me started.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
2 years ago

The problem with a lie is that you can tell it only once. See what happens now and how distrust rules the world. The WIV leak will obtain the same status as the Lusitania sinking and the Reichtstag fire. Eighty years from now we will come to know what we already knew instinctively today.

David Shipley
David Shipley
2 years ago

And the Turkish “coup” of 2016.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago

It’s not hard to imagine that the pandemic and its fall-out was staged to some degree when reading articles like this (check the date):
https://www.healio.com/news/infectious-disease/20170111/fauci-no-doubt-trump-will-face-surprise-infectious-disease-outbreak

Michael Richardson
Michael Richardson
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

To be fair to Fauci (something that makes my guts twist somewhat) he is quoted (my emphasis):

The history of the last 32 years that I have been the director of the NIAID will tell the next administration that there is no doubt they will be faced with the challenges their predecessors were faced with

So he is not predicting something unique for Trump, just business as usual.
I still believe Rand Paul over Fauci, though.

h w
h w
2 years ago

In this interview of patent expert Dr David Martin by German/Californian lawyer Reiner Fuellmich (lawyer in class action vs VW), gives very detailed evidence that the various features of this virus were patented over the last 20 years, and that patents related to the injection were also obtained prior to Jan 2020. He says the lab leak discussion is a ‘red herring.’ Interesting? https://odysee.com/@FwapUK:1/A-manufactured-illusion.-Dr-David-Martin-with-Reiner-Fuellmich-9_7_21_-720p:5?

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago
Reply to  h w

Looking at David Martin’s claims on the M-Cam website about himself I would be sceptical about his claims in this video. The Fauci quote means, to me, something very different from what he claims. There is clinical evidence that the Pfizer vaccine gives a protection. There is clinical evidence that new variants are different by being more transmissible from the way they became dominant. It does though highlight the need for a WHO sponsored inquiry that examines in detail all the research that has been conducted on the virus and the pandemic to establish both the best possible science and the way science should be conducted in future, particulalry making it less personal glory and more collaborative, eg the Polymath project. An inquiry would need to be structured to be very transparent so that the “experts” are clearly challenged.