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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Wuhan lab had 'all the genes' to make an 'epidemic' coronavirus in 2017

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A recruit chief petty officer stands at the lead of her formation before a pass-in-review graduation ceremony at Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Illinois, May 13, 2021. More than 40,000 recruits train annually from the Navy's only boot camp. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Spencer Fling)

As evidence has grown that the novel coronavirus came from a Chinese virology lab, White House health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and others have speculated that the virus still could have made a natural jump from animals to humans.

A naturally evolved strain might have been among the various coronaviruses extracted from horseshoe bats in caves in the southern province of Yunnan and stored in vials at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. But increasingly evidence is pointing to the virus having been manipulated by scientists in research funded by Fauci's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Now, a 2017 report by Science News spotlighted by the National Pulse is shedding more light on the focus of research at the Wuhan lab led by Chinese virologist Dr. Shi Zhengli in collaboration with the U.S.-based British zoologist Dr. Peter Daszak.

The lab had obtained "all the genes to make a SARS coronavirus similar to the epidemic strain," the Science News report said.

The article is titled "Bats in China carry all the ingredients to make a new SARS virus." A hotlink to the article by the Wuhan lab's website has been deleted.

"After five years of surveying bats in a cave in southern China’s Yunnan Province," the article states, "Zhengli Shi and colleagues discovered 11 new strains of SARS-related viruses in horseshoe bats (especially in Rhinolophus sinicus).

"Within the strains, the researchers found all the genes to make a SARS coronavirus similar to the epidemic strain, says Shi, a virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences."

Meanwhile, video of a 2016 speech by Daszak has been unearthed in which the scientist boasted his "colleagues in China" were creating a "killer" coronavirus.

The admission, at an event discussing "emerging infectious diseases and the next pandemic," conflicts with Fauci's repeated insistence that the U.S. government never funded dangerous gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab.  In gain-of-function research, virologists enhance the lethality and transmissibility of viruses that pose the threat of jumping from animals to humans so they can prepare treatments and vaccines in advance. The NIH under President Obama imposed a moritorium on the research in 2014 because of the security risks. But NIH kept funding it through third parties, particularly Daszak's non-profit EcoHealth Alliance.

Daszak and Shi Zhengli are listed as co-authors of more than a dozen research papers that were produced through $3.7 million in NIAID grants. Shi has included the Fauci-backed grants on her resume. Until March 2021, when the issue was brought up by lawmakers such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., the Wuhan lab listed the National Institutes of Health as one of its "partners."

'We sequenced the spike protein'

In his 2016 remarks, Daszak describes the Wuhan lab's work of "insert[ing] spike proteins” into viruses to see if they can "bind to human cells."

"Then when you get a sequence of a virus, and it looks like a relative of a known nasty pathogen, just like we did with SARS," he said.

Daszak said "a whole host" of other coronaviruses were discovered in bats that "looked very similar to SARS."

"So we sequenced the spike protein: the protein that attaches to cells. Then we -- well I didn't do this work, but my colleagues in China did the work -- create pseudo particles, you insert the spike proteins from those viruses, see if they bind to human cells."

"At each step of this you move closer and closer to this virus could really become pathogenic in people," he said.

"You end up with a small number of viruses that really do look like killers."

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