by Peter Franklin
Thursday, 5
November 2020

Was the virus engineered?

One reputable journal does not rule it out
by Peter Franklin
Credit: Getty

When Scientific American published an article entitled ‘Eight persistent COVID-19 myths and why people believe them’, number one on the list was “the virus was engineered in a laboratory in China.”

The author, Tanya Lewis, quoted from an intelligence agency press release: “the Intelligence Community… concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified.”

That statement was from back in April. Is that scientific consensus quite so solid today?

Well, take a look at this: It’s an opinion piece for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by David Relman of the Stanford University School of Medicine. It begins with one thing that we definitely do know, which is that there’s an awful lot that we don’t know:

We find ourselves ten months into one of the most catastrophic global health events of our lifetime and, disturbingly, we still do not know how it began.
- David Relman, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

He adds that efforts to investigate the origins of the virus “have become mired in politics, poorly supported assumptions and assertions, and incomplete information.”

To be clear, ReIman doesn’t have much time for the notion that the virus was deliberately engineered with the intention of releasing it to cause deliberate harm. However, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t engineered in order to better study samples found in the wild — for instance, by bringing together key features from different strains to investigate how they work in combination:

…there is probably more than one recent ancestral lineage that contributes to SARS-CoV-2 because its genome shows evidence of recombination between different parental viruses. In nature, recombination is common among coronaviruses. But it’s also common in some research laboratories where recombinant engineering is used to study those viruses.
- David Relman, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

To know for certain, we’d need to identify what Relman refers to as the “immediate parents” of SARS-CoV-2. And so far they’re missing.

Given that this vital evidence is not yet available, why the dogmatic statements that the virus was definitely not engineered?

Obviously, the origin issue has become highly politicised — not least in the rhetoric of Donald Trump. It was therefore important for the scientific and intelligence communities to remain objective — and not to be drawn into political spin, let alone outright conspiracy theories.

And yet, as with all things Covid, there is a danger of overkill — of ruling out all scenarios involving genetic engineering (or even anything involving a laboratory release) just because a subset of those scenarios (the most lurid and sinister of them) are implausible.

We should therefore welcome the fact that journals like PNAS are allowing reasonable possibilities to be raised and evidence-based investigation to be called for.

Perhaps, in the post-Trump era, that research can take place in a less febrile atmosphere — assuming of course, the Chinese government have the slightest interest in the truth being known.

Join the discussion

  • 1) What do the “experts” really know about much of it & yet look what this has been used tho “justify”? 2) Why from earliest days has media being peddling “the only solution” is a “New Vaccine for all Solution” 3) Why has MSM been talking “Positive Tests” numbers …& not this vis a vie whole numbers of tests done? And total Deaths %’s in Age Bands & with co-morbitities info? And why is MSM talking Virus deaths & not this vis a vie normal flu deaths pa? And who is verifying any of the numbers we are told of…& providing proper explanations?….Why is there so much so fishy here? …$ Billions of public money handed to Big Pharma??…The residual question for me is… is ANOTHER monster “Rort” in train here?…

  • The most amazing thing is how NO comparisons to covid are made with things like influenza, ones which we could understand. If I was in the government info dissemination game I would show pie and bar charts showing why we ignore the Flu all together, and why covid is such a completely different thing. From what I have seen flu does make a useful tool to look at covid with. Lots of correlation factors, demographics, ages, hospitalizations, deaths, different years, different geographic effects and so on. Why is this thing we all know so well, the Flu, not used to explain covid to us in a way we could understand, used to illustrate why lock down is needed. I suspect because it would backfire and show the opposite of what is wanted.

  • Also because Liberal bias towards Communism. They just cannot bring themselves to peer under that rock and see how it has been. The Cultural Revolution? Well just them sorting their direction out.

    Not too long ago Hobsbawn, the unrepentant Stalinist, passed away with the most glowing obituaries in every paper, even the Telegraph, and was idolized by the BBC as most of them had studied his works. Milliband’s Father was a Marxist, a Top Marxists Intellectual he was called, and the Milliband boys remembered fondly the father and Hobsbawn together discussing Communism around the family dinner table. If a Right Wing nation had a million religious minorities in concentration camps, were genociding the Tibetans by forced migration, and on and on, there would be outrage, but Communists are given a pass, although their horrors equal any the world has seen.

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