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Why did Peter Daszak change his mind? New documents reveal he warned against risky research

The science fiction is real. (Credit: Meng Delong/VCG Getty)

The science fiction is real. (Credit: Meng Delong/VCG Getty)


April 12, 2023   5 mins

Peter Daszak spent many years hunting down bat viruses with Chinese scientists, helped fund their cutting-edge research in Wuhan, and then vociferously led opposition to any suggestions that the pandemic might have been linked to a laboratory in the city. A pugnacious character, the British zoologist would pop up regularly in the media to fiercely dismiss “conspiracy theories”, playing a key role in efforts to stifle debate over the origins of Covid-19.

So how strange to discover that this same man had previously warned that risky research was “intensifying” threats from “lab-enhanced viruses”. In fact, two years before the pandemic erupted, Daszak was involved in drafting a presentation about the dangers of engineered viruses being accidentally or even deliberately released into the world.

In this newly uncovered presentation, the scientist warned that “gain-of-function” research — which boosts the transmissibility of viruses — was “elevating the risk” that “deadly novel biological agents” could be released through accident or design. The document, demanding the urgent development of counter-measures, put such risk at the same level as natural spillover from the wild. It even focused on the specific threat from coronaviruses.

Yet after the pandemic erupted in Wuhan, Daszak headed the charge against those claiming the mysterious new disease might be potentially linked to research in the city, with even the British Medical Journal branding him the leader of the campaign to label such critics as conspiracy theorists.

Little wonder the disclosure of this document has provoked angry claims of hypocrisy. Richard Ebright, an expert on biosecurity and professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University in New Jersey, told me it meant that Daszak and his allies have spent the past three years not telling the world the whole truth. The revelations, he said, underlined “the shocking recklessness” of funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan that was being carried out at a low-level biosecurity lab “with no protections beyond a pair of gloves, a lab coat and a hood”.

Today, Daszak is the $460,368-a-year president of EcoHealth Alliance, a New York-based group that channelled US research funding to Wuhan Institute of Virology until the payments were exposed and terminated by President Trump in April 2020. The former Kingston University snail researcher responded with outrage, rounding on suggestions that research in Wuhan might have sparked the pandemic. Typical was a June 2020 article in The Guardian entitled “Ignore the conspiracy theories: scientists know Covid-19 wasn’t created in a lab” that insisted claims of “frankenviruses” made in labs were “the latest chapter in a tale of blame, misinformation and finger-pointing”.

A Global Virome Project slide

Most infamously, he was the covert organiser of a statement in The Lancet journal that condemned “conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid-19 does not have a natural origin” and absurdly praised China’s “rapid, open and transparent” sharing of data. Signed by 27 experts, the document helped to crush scientific, political and media debate on whether the new virus might have been manipulated or leaked from a laboratory. The journal was forced later to add a note clarifying Daszak’s “competing interests” and he was removed from heading up its own inquiry into the virus’ origins.

Yet the presentation for the launch of his Global Virome Project (GVP) suggested something very different: that the risks of lab leaks and gain-of-function research needed to be taken seriously. It was seeking $1.3 billion funding over 10 years to help end “the pandemic era” by identifying viruses with the “greatest potential to infect humans and their laboratory-enhanced variants so we can prepare for them before they jump to us”.

The GVP was chaired by the infectious diseases expert Dennis Carroll, another of the signatories to The Lancet statement. Daszak was the project’s director, secretary and treasurer and emails obtained through freedom of information requests demonstrate that he had helped draft the pitch document.

A slide from the Global Virome Project flags the lab leak threat

The 40 slides prepared for the 2017 presentation focus on “dual threats” posed by both natural emergence of diseases and the accidental or intentional release of “laboratory enhanced variants”. They warn that gain-of-function research is inflaming the danger of “illnesses and deaths” along with “mass hysteria and panic”. They propose a 10-year project to “develop countermeasures” and build a huge database of viruses to enable their “rapid detection of natural and laboratory-enhanced threats”.

This presentation reflects sensible fears held by many sensible scientists. One page discloses plans for quick identification of engineered viruses. Another underlines the need to “rapidly recognise a lab-enhanced virus”. A third highlights the evidence of Sars-like coronaviruses in Yunnan — a tropical region of southern China where bats roost and scientists from Wuhan Institute of Virology went to collect their samples — while finding no signs of such infections in Wuhan itself.

A version of the slide deck came to light in an email exchange between Daszak and his GVP colleagues, obtained in a freedom of information request from US Right to Know, a public health campaign group. The full set was found by Gilles Demaneuf, a data scientist and member of the Drastic group which challenged the science establishment’s narrative that Covid almost certainly spilled over naturally from animals.“When Daszak needed to protect his back,” says Demaneuf, “anybody who dares say exactly what he wrote in these slides was called a conspiracy theorist — or worse.”

Emails indicate that the GVP organisers also held discussions on their plans with Washington defence research agencies. Last month, FBI director Christopher Wray said his agency had “for quite some time assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident”. It is now backed by the Department of Energy, which oversees a network of laboratories engaged in advanced biology, although other US intelligence agencies disagree with their conclusion.

After the pandemic started, the GVP stalled. Three months ago, a federal watchdog accused US funding authorities and EcoHealth Alliance of “deficiencies” in their monitoring and oversight of the work conducted on coronavirus strains at Wuhan Institute of Virology. Daszak has collaborated on extensive field research in Yunnan and 17 scientific papers since 2005 with the laboratory’s leading bat coronavirus expert Shi Zhengli.

Last month, EcoHealth Alliance boasted of winning fresh US grants to “identify” spillovers of bat coronaviruses in three other Asian nations by sampling thousands of bats and other mammals. “This will help identify the potential role of other wildlife as intermediate hosts in the transmission of bat CoVs — and may also help to shed light on the origins of SARS-CoV-2,” it claimed. The body did not respond to requests for comment on the GVP presentation.

Critics of virus hunting schemes argue that they present high risk while delivering few tangible benefits. A year-long investigation by The Washington Post concluded that such research could be placing the planet in greater danger of another pandemic, accusing the US of continuing to funnel big sums into overseas research despite insufficient oversight as regulation fails to keep pace with new technologies.There are thought to be thousands of biocontainment labs handling dangerous pathogens, although the precise number around the world is unknown.

Simon Wain-Hobson, the virologist who discovered the genetic blueprint of HIV, is among those wanting to see a ban on gain-of-function work.  He told me that Daszak’s presentation exposed the “fallacious logic” of suggesting engineered viruses could help to predict pandemics or assist production of preventative drugs and vaccines. “The science fiction goes on,” he said.


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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Richard Parker
Richard Parker
1 year ago

The evidence just keeps stacking up, doesn’t it? Given the extremely evasive and pugnaciously denialist behaviour of the main players listed in the article, that’s not too surprising. I always considered that the weight of evidence had so far consistently pointed to the accidental release of a modified virus (though naturally I’m open to persuasion by credible evidence to the contrary – and still waiting for the same).

That the Grauniad printed a piece essentially parroting Daszak’s claims is predictable and yet still strangely disappointing. I suppose I remember a time (not so long ago) when that paper was at least respectable, even if one did disagree with its byline. Sic transit


Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

If you read Alina Chan & Matt Ridley’s ‘Viral’ and Jeremy Farrar’s ‘Spike’ and then try to square those with each other, and then consider both of those in the light of all the FOIA obtained email exchanges on how the (potential) lab leak story was suppressed (Emily Kopp, writing at https://usrtk.org/category/covid-19-origins/, is a particularly good source on all the detail here), then it is abundantly clear that it is not just Daszak that has been, shall we say, ‘economical with the truth’, though he may be being lined up to take the fall when the attempted containment action takes place.
It is a massive blot on the WHO’s copybook that Daszak was despatched to Wuhan in the team to investigate something that has his fingerprints all over it, but The Guardian story he was allowed to publish is not that surprising given who donates vast sums of money to it (last week they published two big shills for mRNA tech).
Incidentally, given the other story on RFK Jr in The Post, he has a new book coming out in June: ‘The Wuhan Cover-Up: How US Health Officials Conspired with the Chinese Military to Hide the Origins of COVID-19’, with material including “the roles of Bill Gates and Sir Jeremy Farrar in helping to orchestrate China’s global cover-up”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nik Jewell
William Murphy
William Murphy
1 year ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

Of course, in its never ending on line begging campaign, the Grauniad never fails to emphasise how independent it is and how it is not dependent on a billionaire owner.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

Except most of the development work was done in a usa funded and run bio-lab in The Ukraine then the virus taken to China to be released there for enhanced propaganda purposes.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

Your citation fell off.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

Your citation fell off.

William Murphy
William Murphy
1 year ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

Of course, in its never ending on line begging campaign, the Grauniad never fails to emphasise how independent it is and how it is not dependent on a billionaire owner.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

Except most of the development work was done in a usa funded and run bio-lab in The Ukraine then the virus taken to China to be released there for enhanced propaganda purposes.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

For all the name calling that’s going on, you would think that the lab leakers or the spilloverists would have solid evidence to back up their claims. But they don’t. Both sides have enough “consistent with” evidence to make a plausible case. Neither side has anything probative.
Peter Daszak has acted poorly throughout, but he’s not the only one. It’s been a disgrace on both sides. Scientists do best acting as expert witnesses giving us the facts, not attorneys making arguments. There are some important things to be learned here, and all we get is yammering.

Last edited 1 year ago by Carlos Danger
Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

I don’t dispute the point you make here. However what I think your line of argument underplays is just how important the lab leak issue is. If (and, to be clear, that is a very big if) it did come from a lab then trust in science and in scientists will go up in a fireball. Potentially even trust in the scientific method itself. Your idea of ‘scientists as expert witness’ would be dead, and that would be a disaster for everyone.
Social media sites in late 2020 were actively censoring people who suggested a lab leak.
I have no idea what the implications of what confirmation of a lab leak would look like – I genuinely dread to think. It would take decades for a rehabilitation.
Some scientists I think need to take a bit of time to reflect on the idea of scientist-as-social-media-celeb. Punditry is not the same thing as expertise, however well-qualified is the pundit. We do not have science by press release, nor should we have science by twiter.
Indeed very few scientists seem to be willing to have the gain of function debate through the twitter megaphone but it’s a debate we – we: the world at large, not just the scientists – really need to have.
But no one should kid themselves – if covid was from a lab that’s not going to get glossed over with some talkboard attitude.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

They say we need to follow the money, as all scientific roads now only seem to lead to a pot of gold somewhere. That is very much indeed to the detriment of society.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

The question of where the virus came from is an investigative one–the scientific method has nothing to do with it. (https://www.heartlandforensic.com/writing/forensic-science-and-the-scientific-method/#)
That’s why all this Twitter chatter is so pointless. We don’t have any scientific evidence to tell one way or the other, and no new evidence has come in, yet scientists are bickering bitterly and endlessly.
If it turns out that the virus did leak from a lab, yes, there certainly will be an uproar. But the idea that Peter Daszak, Tony Fauci, or any American virologists broke any laws or ethical rules has no basis in fact (at least as we know the facts now). Those arguing otherwise are doing those people an injustice.

Last edited 1 year ago by Carlos Danger
Jane In Toronto
Jane In Toronto
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Apparently something in the structure of the virus (maybe the “furin cleavage site”?) makes some experts (e.g., Michael Palmer in Canada) think it implausible that it evolved naturally. So scientific method is not completely irrelevant.

B M
B M
2 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

On top of everything else, I find it extraordinary that SARS 1 and MERS both were traced to their original host animals whereas SARS 2 wasn’t.

Jane In Toronto
Jane In Toronto
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Apparently something in the structure of the virus (maybe the “furin cleavage site”?) makes some experts (e.g., Michael Palmer in Canada) think it implausible that it evolved naturally. So scientific method is not completely irrelevant.

B M
B M
2 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

On top of everything else, I find it extraordinary that SARS 1 and MERS both were traced to their original host animals whereas SARS 2 wasn’t.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

I stopped giving credence to “scientists” some time before covid but in March 2020 I became an atheist,a complete science unbeliever. My allegiance is not to science,Tory governments or The Great Satan of America

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

They say we need to follow the money, as all scientific roads now only seem to lead to a pot of gold somewhere. That is very much indeed to the detriment of society.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

The question of where the virus came from is an investigative one–the scientific method has nothing to do with it. (https://www.heartlandforensic.com/writing/forensic-science-and-the-scientific-method/#)
That’s why all this Twitter chatter is so pointless. We don’t have any scientific evidence to tell one way or the other, and no new evidence has come in, yet scientists are bickering bitterly and endlessly.
If it turns out that the virus did leak from a lab, yes, there certainly will be an uproar. But the idea that Peter Daszak, Tony Fauci, or any American virologists broke any laws or ethical rules has no basis in fact (at least as we know the facts now). Those arguing otherwise are doing those people an injustice.

Last edited 1 year ago by Carlos Danger
jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

I stopped giving credence to “scientists” some time before covid but in March 2020 I became an atheist,a complete science unbeliever. My allegiance is not to science,Tory governments or The Great Satan of America

B M
B M
2 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

What evidence do the spilloverists have?

Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

I don’t dispute the point you make here. However what I think your line of argument underplays is just how important the lab leak issue is. If (and, to be clear, that is a very big if) it did come from a lab then trust in science and in scientists will go up in a fireball. Potentially even trust in the scientific method itself. Your idea of ‘scientists as expert witness’ would be dead, and that would be a disaster for everyone.
Social media sites in late 2020 were actively censoring people who suggested a lab leak.
I have no idea what the implications of what confirmation of a lab leak would look like – I genuinely dread to think. It would take decades for a rehabilitation.
Some scientists I think need to take a bit of time to reflect on the idea of scientist-as-social-media-celeb. Punditry is not the same thing as expertise, however well-qualified is the pundit. We do not have science by press release, nor should we have science by twiter.
Indeed very few scientists seem to be willing to have the gain of function debate through the twitter megaphone but it’s a debate we – we: the world at large, not just the scientists – really need to have.
But no one should kid themselves – if covid was from a lab that’s not going to get glossed over with some talkboard attitude.

B M
B M
2 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

What evidence do the spilloverists have?

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

What credible evidence do you have of the accidental release of a modified virus? I lean that way too, but I don’t have any probative evidence to offer. Just my opinion based on probabilities, and that kind of evidence would be inadmissible in court.
Who did the dirty deed? When? Where? How? Why? There’s lots of speculation about that, but no proof. Motive, means and opportunity are usually things you try to prove when accusing someone of an illegal act, and we don’t have any proof of any of those here.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

The furan cleavage site in Covid is found nowhere else in coronaviruses and is often used to artificially enhance transmission of viruses.
QED

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

The furan cleavage site in Covid is found nowhere else in coronaviruses and is often used to artificially enhance transmission of viruses.
QED

Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

If you read Alina Chan & Matt Ridley’s ‘Viral’ and Jeremy Farrar’s ‘Spike’ and then try to square those with each other, and then consider both of those in the light of all the FOIA obtained email exchanges on how the (potential) lab leak story was suppressed (Emily Kopp, writing at https://usrtk.org/category/covid-19-origins/, is a particularly good source on all the detail here), then it is abundantly clear that it is not just Daszak that has been, shall we say, ‘economical with the truth’, though he may be being lined up to take the fall when the attempted containment action takes place.
It is a massive blot on the WHO’s copybook that Daszak was despatched to Wuhan in the team to investigate something that has his fingerprints all over it, but The Guardian story he was allowed to publish is not that surprising given who donates vast sums of money to it (last week they published two big shills for mRNA tech).
Incidentally, given the other story on RFK Jr in The Post, he has a new book coming out in June: ‘The Wuhan Cover-Up: How US Health Officials Conspired with the Chinese Military to Hide the Origins of COVID-19’, with material including “the roles of Bill Gates and Sir Jeremy Farrar in helping to orchestrate China’s global cover-up”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nik Jewell
Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

For all the name calling that’s going on, you would think that the lab leakers or the spilloverists would have solid evidence to back up their claims. But they don’t. Both sides have enough “consistent with” evidence to make a plausible case. Neither side has anything probative.
Peter Daszak has acted poorly throughout, but he’s not the only one. It’s been a disgrace on both sides. Scientists do best acting as expert witnesses giving us the facts, not attorneys making arguments. There are some important things to be learned here, and all we get is yammering.

Last edited 1 year ago by Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

What credible evidence do you have of the accidental release of a modified virus? I lean that way too, but I don’t have any probative evidence to offer. Just my opinion based on probabilities, and that kind of evidence would be inadmissible in court.
Who did the dirty deed? When? Where? How? Why? There’s lots of speculation about that, but no proof. Motive, means and opportunity are usually things you try to prove when accusing someone of an illegal act, and we don’t have any proof of any of those here.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
1 year ago

The evidence just keeps stacking up, doesn’t it? Given the extremely evasive and pugnaciously denialist behaviour of the main players listed in the article, that’s not too surprising. I always considered that the weight of evidence had so far consistently pointed to the accidental release of a modified virus (though naturally I’m open to persuasion by credible evidence to the contrary – and still waiting for the same).

That the Grauniad printed a piece essentially parroting Daszak’s claims is predictable and yet still strangely disappointing. I suppose I remember a time (not so long ago) when that paper was at least respectable, even if one did disagree with its byline. Sic transit


Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 year ago

Another excellent article on this topic. Gradually, we are moving towards a better understanding of the three interlinked stories of
1/ the origins of the Wuhan virus
2/ the way the US/UK “vaccine establishment” decided to abandon their initial suspicions of a lab origin and collectively take such a rigid public stance against the possibility.
3/ the pervasive censorship subsequently.
If we do not have all the answers yet, now journalists have got their teeth into these topics it can only be a matter of time. One suspects the results are going to be both startling and rather disillusioning.
What intrigues me most, however, is the strange lack of speculation currently about the appearance of Omicron variant which – on the face of it – was a quite extraordinary stroke of luck. By autumn 2021 the outlook was grim. The vaccines were reducing the fatality rate from Covid but were failing completely to prevent its spread as originally hoped (even if official announcements tried to gloss over this point). There had not been enough doses to vaccinate Africa and anyway the impact on transmissibility was falling far short of what the original strategy required. “Herd immunity” appeared to be a pipe dream. Meanwhile natural selection seemed likely to produce new more transmissible and vaccine resistant variants with fatality rates comparable to Alpha or Delta. The prospects for 2022 looked abysmal.
Instead, the Omicron variant appeared. It combined ultra high transmissibility with a very low fatality rate. It spread extremely rapidly – eliminating other more virulent variants – and gave natural immunity to the bulk of the global population at the cost of relatively few deaths. It was the equivalent of a successful global vaccination campaign (except in China which persisted with lock down policies). In the circumstances, one could not have designed a better response. The crisis ended and life resumed.
There is no evidence that this was not just luck. It is possible that Omicron evolved in some isolated population, in an animal reservoir or in a HIV compromised individual as has been suggested.
That said, Omicron is as odd in its own way as the original Wuhan variant
1/ It had an unexpectedly large number of mutations
2/ It has a curious family tree. It did not spring from any of the variants circulating in the previous year but directly from something similar to the original Wuhan variant
3/ It was so convenient. It is difficult to think of how the variant could have evolved in more beneficial manner.
4/ It was so improbable. Natural selection drives evolution. There were strong pressures for the next generation of Covid variants to be more transmissible and more vaccine resistant but little significant pressure to reduce the fatality rate.
My guess is that when the media have chewed over the narratives around the appearance of Covid, the next topic for investigation will be how it ended i.e. Omicron. If a natural origin for the Wuhan variant struck some as improbable at the time then I suspect similar doubts will arise for Omicron and we will end up reading speculation about who might have had the competence and chutzpah to engage in “gain of function” research to produce an ultra high transmissible but low fatality variant. Given given the obvious risks and legal exposures involved one can understand why those involved – if they exist – would prefer anonymity.
There would of course be a degree of symmetry if it turned out that Covid was started by an accidental lab leak but ended by a deliberate one.
At the moment, however, all one can say is that either the appearance of Omicron was a quite extraordinary stroke of luck or of anonymous courage.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Carnegie
Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Interesting theory about Omicron, but I don’t think any scientists are anywhere near capable of engineering a virus like that. Not even close.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Not sure that you are right e.g. Boston University recently produced in a lab a chimeric variant of Covid adding an Omicron spike to an otherwise Wuhan virus – thus producing an extremely transmissible and lethal virus which fortunately did not escape. (Understandably, there was some criticism of Boston.)

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

It’s not hard for people with the right training to do chimeric viruses where you combine parts of one virus with another to make a viable virus with different properties from either parent.
But the Omicron virus has over 50 separate mutations from the original strain, some of them never seen before, and the best experts in the world are puzzled as to why those mutations produce a more transmissible but less lethal virus.
To me that makes the idea that someone could design, make and release Omicron to save the world from Covid-19 sound like a bad science fiction plot. Too deus ex machina.

Last edited 1 year ago by Carlos Danger
Rupert Carnegie
Rupert Carnegie
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

You may be right. I think the situation is like that with the original virus a few months back. All one can do is accept that there are various alternative hypotheses and keep an open mind.

Rupert Carnegie
Rupert Carnegie
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

You may be right. I think the situation is like that with the original virus a few months back. All one can do is accept that there are various alternative hypotheses and keep an open mind.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

It’s not hard for people with the right training to do chimeric viruses where you combine parts of one virus with another to make a viable virus with different properties from either parent.
But the Omicron virus has over 50 separate mutations from the original strain, some of them never seen before, and the best experts in the world are puzzled as to why those mutations produce a more transmissible but less lethal virus.
To me that makes the idea that someone could design, make and release Omicron to save the world from Covid-19 sound like a bad science fiction plot. Too deus ex machina.

Last edited 1 year ago by Carlos Danger
jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

You are joking! I hope.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Not sure that you are right e.g. Boston University recently produced in a lab a chimeric variant of Covid adding an Omicron spike to an otherwise Wuhan virus – thus producing an extremely transmissible and lethal virus which fortunately did not escape. (Understandably, there was some criticism of Boston.)

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

You are joking! I hope.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

They are SO having a laugh at us. Calling it OMICRON,that was quickly recognised as an anagram of MORONIC,how obvious do you have to get. Now the have scheduled the “Emergency Alert” for St George’s Day April 23rd,Englands national Day much unobserved but often just when the swallows start to appear in the sky.
I don’t think this timing is chance. They are SO laughing.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Interesting theory about Omicron, but I don’t think any scientists are anywhere near capable of engineering a virus like that. Not even close.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

They are SO having a laugh at us. Calling it OMICRON,that was quickly recognised as an anagram of MORONIC,how obvious do you have to get. Now the have scheduled the “Emergency Alert” for St George’s Day April 23rd,Englands national Day much unobserved but often just when the swallows start to appear in the sky.
I don’t think this timing is chance. They are SO laughing.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
1 year ago

Another excellent article on this topic. Gradually, we are moving towards a better understanding of the three interlinked stories of
1/ the origins of the Wuhan virus
2/ the way the US/UK “vaccine establishment” decided to abandon their initial suspicions of a lab origin and collectively take such a rigid public stance against the possibility.
3/ the pervasive censorship subsequently.
If we do not have all the answers yet, now journalists have got their teeth into these topics it can only be a matter of time. One suspects the results are going to be both startling and rather disillusioning.
What intrigues me most, however, is the strange lack of speculation currently about the appearance of Omicron variant which – on the face of it – was a quite extraordinary stroke of luck. By autumn 2021 the outlook was grim. The vaccines were reducing the fatality rate from Covid but were failing completely to prevent its spread as originally hoped (even if official announcements tried to gloss over this point). There had not been enough doses to vaccinate Africa and anyway the impact on transmissibility was falling far short of what the original strategy required. “Herd immunity” appeared to be a pipe dream. Meanwhile natural selection seemed likely to produce new more transmissible and vaccine resistant variants with fatality rates comparable to Alpha or Delta. The prospects for 2022 looked abysmal.
Instead, the Omicron variant appeared. It combined ultra high transmissibility with a very low fatality rate. It spread extremely rapidly – eliminating other more virulent variants – and gave natural immunity to the bulk of the global population at the cost of relatively few deaths. It was the equivalent of a successful global vaccination campaign (except in China which persisted with lock down policies). In the circumstances, one could not have designed a better response. The crisis ended and life resumed.
There is no evidence that this was not just luck. It is possible that Omicron evolved in some isolated population, in an animal reservoir or in a HIV compromised individual as has been suggested.
That said, Omicron is as odd in its own way as the original Wuhan variant
1/ It had an unexpectedly large number of mutations
2/ It has a curious family tree. It did not spring from any of the variants circulating in the previous year but directly from something similar to the original Wuhan variant
3/ It was so convenient. It is difficult to think of how the variant could have evolved in more beneficial manner.
4/ It was so improbable. Natural selection drives evolution. There were strong pressures for the next generation of Covid variants to be more transmissible and more vaccine resistant but little significant pressure to reduce the fatality rate.
My guess is that when the media have chewed over the narratives around the appearance of Covid, the next topic for investigation will be how it ended i.e. Omicron. If a natural origin for the Wuhan variant struck some as improbable at the time then I suspect similar doubts will arise for Omicron and we will end up reading speculation about who might have had the competence and chutzpah to engage in “gain of function” research to produce an ultra high transmissible but low fatality variant. Given given the obvious risks and legal exposures involved one can understand why those involved – if they exist – would prefer anonymity.
There would of course be a degree of symmetry if it turned out that Covid was started by an accidental lab leak but ended by a deliberate one.
At the moment, however, all one can say is that either the appearance of Omicron was a quite extraordinary stroke of luck or of anonymous courage.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Carnegie
John Pade
John Pade
1 year ago

Once again, a Covid story generating far more commentary than the information it contains.
At this point, talking about Covid is like stirring a stew: sometimes the carrots come to the top, sometimes the onion. But it’s still the same stew.
However, continuing with this lame analogy, the evidence for natural origin, which was always weak, gets scantier and bizarrer with each stir. And its appeals to “not knowing for years” increase in frequency and amplitude with each regurgitation.
The lab leak theory suffers from the same set of deficiencies as Hunter’s laptop: they look and sound true, are consistent with the evidence, and are inconvenient to the wrong people. And the response is the same: ignore them and they’ll go away.

Iris Violet
Iris Violet
1 year ago
Reply to  John Pade

Exactly

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  John Pade

i agree… but please, “more bizarre”.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  John Pade

Yes,once they done Trump I’m expecting to see old slave whipper coffin dodger in court. Loads of evidence.

Iris Violet
Iris Violet
1 year ago
Reply to  John Pade

Exactly

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  John Pade

i agree… but please, “more bizarre”.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  John Pade

Yes,once they done Trump I’m expecting to see old slave whipper coffin dodger in court. Loads of evidence.

John Pade
John Pade
1 year ago

Once again, a Covid story generating far more commentary than the information it contains.
At this point, talking about Covid is like stirring a stew: sometimes the carrots come to the top, sometimes the onion. But it’s still the same stew.
However, continuing with this lame analogy, the evidence for natural origin, which was always weak, gets scantier and bizarrer with each stir. And its appeals to “not knowing for years” increase in frequency and amplitude with each regurgitation.
The lab leak theory suffers from the same set of deficiencies as Hunter’s laptop: they look and sound true, are consistent with the evidence, and are inconvenient to the wrong people. And the response is the same: ignore them and they’ll go away.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago

It was so obviously a lab leak that at this point the onus should be on the denialists to prove it wasn’t.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago

It was so obviously a lab leak that at this point the onus should be on the denialists to prove it wasn’t.

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 year ago

Has this guy been in front of an enquiry yet?

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Walsh

There will never be a proper enquiry. Why would the American and Chinese governments ever allow such a thing to happen?

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

I think you are right, he should be a household name.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

They are too busy indicting their political enemies with frivolous crimes.

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

I think you are right, he should be a household name.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

They are too busy indicting their political enemies with frivolous crimes.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Walsh

There will never be a proper enquiry. Why would the American and Chinese governments ever allow such a thing to happen?

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 year ago

Has this guy been in front of an enquiry yet?

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago

Whatever the ultimate truth about Wuhan and the lab, the big takeaway here is to STOP funding lab-engineered viruses. Just stop it. No good can come of all these under-secure labs all over the world playing with dangerous pathogens.

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago

Whatever the ultimate truth about Wuhan and the lab, the big takeaway here is to STOP funding lab-engineered viruses. Just stop it. No good can come of all these under-secure labs all over the world playing with dangerous pathogens.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

Why did Peter Daszak change his mind?
Money. Lots of it.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

Why did Peter Daszak change his mind?
Money. Lots of it.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

Slowly the truth comes out.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

Slowly the truth comes out.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

Gain-of-function experimentation is indeed the frankenstein accident-waiting-to-happen of our age.
As for Mr. Daszak, his apparent reversal seems perfectly logical. Before the Wuhan break-out, he was protecting funding for EcoHealth et al, including the Wuhan facility.
After the covid breakout, although his position seemed to have tipped in an hypocritical direction, he was still protecting the interests of continuous funding for research of that type.
The difference is: after the breakout, lab work would still be required, and should be funded. The new work demand would be for containment of outbreaks, rather than simply prevention.
Meanwhile, back at the lab(s) (all of them) the work must proceed. In fact, now that gain-of-function has demonstrated its destructive power, we have entered the brave new world of–like it or not–engineered repair and prevention of manipulated genetic species. There’s no turning back now. The GOF is out of the bag.
Welcome to the Brave Bio World! Refer to Mary Shelley and Aldous Huxley for further info. But its up to Daszak and his contemporaries to keep the progress tilted in a manageable (haha!) level. Good luck with that.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

For all the health concerns about Bio lab security in Wuhan I can confirm it was even worse outside
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3074896/wuhan-sacks-officials-after-pork-deliveries-are-tipped-street

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

For all the health concerns about Bio lab security in Wuhan I can confirm it was even worse outside
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3074896/wuhan-sacks-officials-after-pork-deliveries-are-tipped-street

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

Gain-of-function experimentation is indeed the frankenstein accident-waiting-to-happen of our age.
As for Mr. Daszak, his apparent reversal seems perfectly logical. Before the Wuhan break-out, he was protecting funding for EcoHealth et al, including the Wuhan facility.
After the covid breakout, although his position seemed to have tipped in an hypocritical direction, he was still protecting the interests of continuous funding for research of that type.
The difference is: after the breakout, lab work would still be required, and should be funded. The new work demand would be for containment of outbreaks, rather than simply prevention.
Meanwhile, back at the lab(s) (all of them) the work must proceed. In fact, now that gain-of-function has demonstrated its destructive power, we have entered the brave new world of–like it or not–engineered repair and prevention of manipulated genetic species. There’s no turning back now. The GOF is out of the bag.
Welcome to the Brave Bio World! Refer to Mary Shelley and Aldous Huxley for further info. But its up to Daszak and his contemporaries to keep the progress tilted in a manageable (haha!) level. Good luck with that.

Eija K Anderson
Eija K Anderson
1 year ago

Isn’t the reason Daszak and the US & Chinese governments conspired to prevent the truth coming out simply that they are terrified of a class action suit in US courts charging US institutions with promoting and funding the research without due care and attention to safety? There might be a few countries who would join in on that bonanza?!

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago

You’re probably right. In a sane world our judicial system wouldn’t tolerate such a lawsuit, but we sadly left sanity behind.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago

You’re probably right. In a sane world our judicial system wouldn’t tolerate such a lawsuit, but we sadly left sanity behind.

Eija K Anderson
Eija K Anderson
1 year ago

Isn’t the reason Daszak and the US & Chinese governments conspired to prevent the truth coming out simply that they are terrified of a class action suit in US courts charging US institutions with promoting and funding the research without due care and attention to safety? There might be a few countries who would join in on that bonanza?!

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
1 year ago

Daszak was and is owned by the CCP. The Lancet has long been a far left rag run by a practising communist; rich, public school, etc of course.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
1 year ago

Daszak was and is owned by the CCP. The Lancet has long been a far left rag run by a practising communist; rich, public school, etc of course.

David Shipley
David Shipley
1 year ago

What an inspired business model! Raise money from Fauci to fund dangerous gain-of-function research in China, far away from prying eyes and FOI laws. Then raise more money by scaring people (rightly as it very probably turns out) with the prospect of lab leak escape. A gifted huckster; all a bit unfortunate that 20 million had to die.

David Shipley
David Shipley
1 year ago

What an inspired business model! Raise money from Fauci to fund dangerous gain-of-function research in China, far away from prying eyes and FOI laws. Then raise more money by scaring people (rightly as it very probably turns out) with the prospect of lab leak escape. A gifted huckster; all a bit unfortunate that 20 million had to die.

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago

Is it possible that COVID was leaked somehow from a lab? Sure.
But I’d like to point out a couple of things, namely what confidence level the FBI and DoE placed on their statements. For the FBI, it was “most likely,” i.e. More likely than not – somewhere over 50%. For the DoE is was with “low confidence,” as low as you can go without saying no altogether. Neither saying they’re pretty sure it was and the DoE just shy of saying they still have no reason to believe it was.
Context is important.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Merriam

Good point, two agencies do think it was a lab leak, but neither has high confidence. But four other intelligence agencies went the other way, assessing with low confidence that it was a natural spillover. The rest could not say.
That’s where I come out. We don’t have enough information to say. To me it looks more likely to be a lab leak, but that’s opinion, just a guess. I have no probative evidence to support that view.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Merriam

Good point, two agencies do think it was a lab leak, but neither has high confidence. But four other intelligence agencies went the other way, assessing with low confidence that it was a natural spillover. The rest could not say.
That’s where I come out. We don’t have enough information to say. To me it looks more likely to be a lab leak, but that’s opinion, just a guess. I have no probative evidence to support that view.

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago

Is it possible that COVID was leaked somehow from a lab? Sure.
But I’d like to point out a couple of things, namely what confidence level the FBI and DoE placed on their statements. For the FBI, it was “most likely,” i.e. More likely than not – somewhere over 50%. For the DoE is was with “low confidence,” as low as you can go without saying no altogether. Neither saying they’re pretty sure it was and the DoE just shy of saying they still have no reason to believe it was.
Context is important.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

Look,they may be “scientists” but they’re also men (and a few girlies).
They need to earn money. It’s not mad uncle Algernon in the west wing any more. They need money to pay that mortgage,that ex wife,that car finance,that world travel. Unless you invent an object of desire and make a mint off it you need a job. Nasty,short,brutal word. So you gotta do what you’re told for money. So this bloke did that. That’s all. He was just following orders. From what I’ve learned so far seems that THEY (and I don’t know who THEY are,) decided to make themselves the bosses of us. So they decided that a good wheeze would be to take nasty viruses out of animals they live in harmlessly then alter them in a lab (in the Ukraine,funded by The White House) o make them transmissible to humans.
We’ve had Bats,next one coming up is Birds,I’m looking forward to Hedgehogs.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

Look,they may be “scientists” but they’re also men (and a few girlies).
They need to earn money. It’s not mad uncle Algernon in the west wing any more. They need money to pay that mortgage,that ex wife,that car finance,that world travel. Unless you invent an object of desire and make a mint off it you need a job. Nasty,short,brutal word. So you gotta do what you’re told for money. So this bloke did that. That’s all. He was just following orders. From what I’ve learned so far seems that THEY (and I don’t know who THEY are,) decided to make themselves the bosses of us. So they decided that a good wheeze would be to take nasty viruses out of animals they live in harmlessly then alter them in a lab (in the Ukraine,funded by The White House) o make them transmissible to humans.
We’ve had Bats,next one coming up is Birds,I’m looking forward to Hedgehogs.

Chuck Pezeshki
Chuck Pezeshki
1 year ago

Why did Daszak double down on his nonsense? Single-cross, double-cross, triple cross — the main glaring absence of information in all of the coverage on the Wuhan lab is what role the various intelligence agencies play in this latest version of Spy-vs-Spy. Because culpability could mean a crime against humanity. Here’s the real story. https://empathy.guru/2022/03/15/the-memetics-of-bioweapons-and-why-they-matter/

Chuck Pezeshki
Chuck Pezeshki
1 year ago
Reply to  Chuck Pezeshki

FWIW — I find people screaming about needing FOIAs to be the stupidest of them all. Do you really think anything about a bioweapons lab that is meaningful is going be releasable?