Posted by Curt on 2 February, 2023 at 9:07 am. 2 comments already!


by Dr. Joseph Mercola

In January 2022, House Oversight Committee Republicans released a batch of emails sent to and from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by Jimmy Tobias at The Intercept also forced the release of unredacted NIH correspondence in late November 2022, just as Dr. Anthony Fauci prepared to retire from his position as director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
The emails reveal what many had suspected all along, namely that SARS-CoV-2 appeared to be a genetically engineered virus that somehow escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China. (In a January 17, 2023, Twitter thread, molecular biologist Richard Ebright, Ph.D., summarized the lab-origin hypothesis.)
The correspondence also reveal that a) NIH leaders were nervous about the possibility that they’d funded the creation of this virus, and b) they were determined to suppress questions about its origin.
Summary of Key Findings
As reported by the House Oversight Committee:

“Excerpts of emails released today reveal the following:

  • January 27, 2020: Dr. [Anthony] Fauci knew NIAID [National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] had funded EcoHealth Alliance, the WIV was a subgrantee of EcoHealth, and EcoHealth was not in compliance with its grant reporting, in particular a grant that NIAID knew had gain-of-function potential on novel bat coronaviruses.
  • February 1, 2020: Dr. Fauci, [then-NIH director] Dr. [Francis] Collins, and at least eleven other scientists convened a conference call to discuss COVID-19. On the conference call, Drs. Fauci and Collins were first warned that COVID-19 may have leaked from the WIV and may have been intentionally genetically manipulated.
  • February 4, 2020: After speaking with Drs. Fauci and Collins, four participants of the conference call abandoned their belief the virus originated from the Wuhan lab and authored a paper7 entitled ‘The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2.’ Prior to final publication in Nature Medicine, the paper was sent to Dr. Fauci for editing and approval.
  • April 16, 2020: More than two months after the original conference call, Dr. Collins emailed Dr. Fauci expressing dismay that the Nature Medicine article — which they saw prior to publication and were given the opportunity to edit — did not squash the lab leak hypothesis and asks if the NIH can do more to ‘put down’ the lab leak hypothesis.
  • April 17, 2020: After Dr. Collins explicitly asked for more public pressure, Dr. Fauci cited the Nature Medicine paper from the White House podium likely in an effort to further stifle the hypothesis COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan lab.”

Fauci Tipped Off About Lab Leak Possibility
January 31, 2020, Fauci received an email from Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, asking him to call Kristian Andersen, Ph.D., an evolutionary biologist and professor in the department of immunology and microbiology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. As reported by The Intercept January 19, 2023:

“Fauci had his phone call with Andersen that night, and what he heard clearly disturbed him. In an email to Farrar after the call, he wrote the following:
‘I told [Andersen] that as soon as possible he and Eddie Holmes should get a group of evolutionary biologists together to examine carefully the data to determine if his concerns are validated. He should do this very quickly and if everyone agrees with this concern, they should report it to the appropriate authorities.
I would imagine that in the USA this would be the FBI and in the UK it would be MI5′ … What were Andersen’s concerns? And why were they so dire they might merit a call to the FBI?
Andersen laid them out plainly in an email to Fauci that same evening. ‘The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome (<0.1%) so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered,’ Andersen wrote in the email.
‘I should mention,’ he added, ‘that after discussions earlier today, Eddie, Bob, Mike and myself all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory. But we have to look at this much more closely and there are still further analyses to be done, so those opinions could still change.’”

NIH Funded Risky Research at the WIV
The following day, February 1, 2020, at 2 p.m., Fauci, Farrar, Collins, Andersen and several other virologists had their conference call, and Andersen clearly wasn’t the only one who had noticed tell-tale signs of genetic engineering. Farrar himself wrote “On a spectrum if 0 is nature and 100 is release — I am honestly at 50!” 
According to The Intercept, Fauci spent that morning “brushing up on what sorts of grants and collaborations his agency was involved in with research institutions in China.”
In all likelihood, he discovered (if he was somehow previously unaware, which seems doubtful) that the NIH had provided research grants to the EcoHealth Alliance, which in turn subcontracted coronavirus experiments to the WIV — including an experiment involving humanized mice that were infected with chimeric hybrids of SARS-related bat coronaviruses.
According to The Intercept, it’s highly unlikely that these experiments resulted in SARS-CoV-2, as the viruses are too dissimilar, “but it does raise questions about what other kinds of experiments were going on in Wuhan and haven’t been disclosed.”
NIH-Linked Scientists Suspected Lab Leak From the Start
February 2, 2020, Farrar circulated a set of notes summarizing the discussion, which he said was to be treated “in total confidence.” Michael (Mike) Farzan, Ph.D., an expert on the entry processes of enveloped viruses, was bothered by the presence of a furin cleavage site — a novel feature that allows SARS-CoV-2 the ability to infect cells in the human airways.
According to Farrar’s note, Farzan “has a hard time explain[ing] that as an event outside the lab.” Farrar’s summary goes on to state that:

“… the likely explanation could be something as simple as passage SARS-live CoVs in tissue culture on human cell lines (under BSL-2) for an extended period of time, accidentally creating a virus that would be primed for rapid transmission between humans via gain of furin site (from tissue culture) and adoption to human ACE2 receptor via repeated passage …
So, I think it becomes a question of how do you put all this together, whether you believe in this series of coincidences, what you know of the lab in Wuhan, how much could be in nature — accidental release or natural event? I am 70:30 or 60:40.”

A note from professor and microbiologist Robert (Bob) Garry, Ph.D., reveals he had similar concerns:

“… I aligned the nCoV with the 96% bat CoV sequenced at WIV. Except for the RBD [receptor binding domain] the S proteins are essential [sic] identical at the amino acid level — well all but the perfect insertion of 12 nucleotides that adds [sic] the furin site.
S2 is over its whole length essentially identical. I really can’t think of a plausible natural scenario where you get from the bat virus or one very similar to it to nCoV where you insert exactly 4 amino acids 12 nucleotide [sic] that all have to be added at the exact same time to gain this function — that and you don’t change any other amino acids in S2?
I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature. Do the alignment of the spikes at the amino acid level — its [sic] stunning. Of course, in the lab it would be easy to generate the perfect 12 base insert that you wanted.
Another scenario is that the progenitor of nCoV was a bat virus with the perfect furin cleavage site generated over evolutionary times. In this scenario RaTG13 the WIV virus was generated by a perfect deletion of 12 nucleotides while essentially not changing any other S2 amino acid [sic]. Even more implausible IMO [in my opinion]. That is the big if.”

In other words, in the earliest days of the pandemic, the general consensus among virologists in communication with the NIH was that a WIV lab leak was not only plausible, but perhaps the most likely. The correspondence also leaves no doubt about the fact that Fauci and Collins wanted to silence this theory.
The Cover-Up Begins
In a February 2, 2020, email, Collins stated that he was “coming around to the view that a natural origin is more likely,” and warned that “voices of conspiracy will quickly dominate” lest they convene a panel of experts to address the matter, and that such conspiracies could do “great potential harm to science and international harmony.”
Dutch virologist Ron Fouchier, who participated in the call, also warned his colleagues that continuing the discussion about a lab leak “would unnecessarily distract top researchers from their active duties and do unnecessary harm to science in general and science in China in particular.”
Fauci, for his part, appears to have made the decision to suppress the lab leak theory that same day (February 2). In an email, he wrote:

“Like all of us, I do not know how this evolved, but given the concerns of so many people and the threat of further distortions on social media, it is essential that we move quickly.”

According to The Intercept, Fauci, Farrar and Collins alerted officials at the World Health Organization in the hopes they’d convene an expert panel to investigate, but “WHO apparently declined to do so at the time.” The group was well aware of the risks involved, though, were the lab leak theory to gain legs, so a plan to discourage further “accusations” was apparently hatched.
Just two days later, on February 4, 2020, Fauci and Collins received the first draft of the article, “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2,” later published in Nature Medicine.
Three of the authors, Andersen, Robert Garry of Tulane University and Edward Holmes of the University of Sydney, were on the February 1, 2020, conference call. Andersen, Garry, and another “Proximal Origin” author, W. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University, have also received large NIH grants in recent years, so this paper was not written by uninterested and independent parties.
The original draft is still secret. All we have is an email reply from Fauci, in which he appears to flag the inclusion of serial passage through humanized mice. This suggests the issue of animal passage was raised, but then immediately scrapped.
The Nature Medicine article roundly dismissed the idea that the virus was the result of deliberate engineering, proposing instead that, despite a dearth of evidence, it most likely evolved naturally. (Two potential natural-evolution theories were described.) They didn’t conclusively dismiss the possibility of a lab leak, though — only the idea that it was “deliberately” engineered. As noted in the paper:

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