It was February 2020 when a friend of mine who is from that part of the world and who would know, shared with me the likelihood that the Wuhan virus came from a Wuhan lab. It made sense to me. Fast forward nearly a year and a half later, I'm even more so convinced of the likelihood, and I am suspicious of anyone who says otherwise. To their credit, the Washington Examiner on Friday reported extensively on this issue, in multiple pieces, featuring those who are asking the right questions.
What's involved, as Jerry Dunleavy lays out in writing "GOP lawmaker wants answers from Fauci on Wuhan lab's research and possible COVID-19 origin," which is referring to Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), is a fact-sheet released from the State Department in mid-January, mentioning in part that a lab "has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military."
Further, Dunleavy pointed to how "the Washington Post reported that an unnamed Biden State Department official said that 'there wasn’t significant or meaningful disagreement regarding the information in the fact sheet."
Dunleavy also reported:
Officials from both the Trump and Biden administrations have said that the Chinese government worked for over a year to thwart an independent investigation into the origins of the virus, which has killed 3.25 million people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, and both administrations cast doubt on the manner in which the WHO-China study was conducted in early 2021. Though the WHO-China report said a jump from animals to humans was most likely, Trump officials have pointed to an accidental escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology as a highly plausible origin for the pandemic.
While it may seem promising that the Trump and Biden administration actually agreed on something, it does make it that much more frustrating that President Biden did away with Trump's move to leave the WHO.
Here's where Rep. Gallagher comes in. The Washington Post, kudos to them, published a copy of a letter the congressman sent to Dr. Anthony Fauci, which references those findings and that fact-checking. Of his multiple questions that he requests answers to, many of them touch upon how much the United States scrutinized and knew about the Wuhan lab in question. One question asks, "In light of the Chinese Communist Party’s extensive coverup and lack of transparency, surrounding the origins of the pandemic, even to this day, how should the U.S. government modify or reconsider scientific exchanges with Chinese entities?"
Then there's a reference to a pinned tweet from the congressman from just last night, which links to a piece from science writer Nicholas Wade.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the lab leak hypothesis cannot be dismissed out of hand. We need answers, regardless of how the Chinese Communist Party feels about it. https://t.co/DLWEXf56CK— Rep. Mike Gallagher (@RepGallagher) May 6, 2021
The Washington Examiner also published a piece by Kaylee McGhee White, who, in "More evidence that the Wuhan lab-leak theory is the correct one," writes that "The lab-leak theory was always the most plausible one, but those who raised it as a possible explanation were excoriated by Democrats and media know-it-alls."
She too references Wade's piece. In a post that takes 43 minutes to read, Wade offers readers as much information of two different theories as they may want to know, and then some. While he invites readers to come to their own conclusions, he does call arguments that the virus came from a wet market "contrived" and "strained," also saying that "What became clear was that the Chinese had no evidence to offer the commission in support of the natural emergence theory" and has "had gained not a shred of supporting evidence in over a year" and that "public and media statements... in favor of the natural emergence scenario... were not at first examined as critically as they should have been."
Highlights to support that it came from the lab include:
In what follows I will sort through the available scientific facts, which hold many clues as to what happened, and provide readers with the evidence to make their own judgments. I will then try to assess the complex issue of blame, which starts with, but extends far beyond, the government of China.
What this means, in non-technical language, is that Dr. Shi set out to create novel coronaviruses with the highest possible infectivity for human cells. Her plan was to take genes that coded for spike proteins possessing a variety of measured affinities for human cells, ranging from high to low. She would insert these spike genes one by one into the backbone of a number of viral genomes (“reverse genetics” and “infectious clone technology”), creating a series of chimeric viruses. These chimeric viruses would then be tested for their ability to attack human cell cultures (“in vitro”) and humanized mice (“in vivo”). And this information would help predict the likelihood of “spillover,” the jump of a coronavirus from bats to people.
The methodical approach was designed to find the best combination of coronavirus backbone and spike protein for infecting human cells. The approach could have generated SARS2-like viruses, and indeed may have created the SARS2 virus itself with the right combination of virus backbone and spike protein.
It cannot yet be stated that Dr. Shi did or did not generate SARS2 in her lab because her records have been sealed, but it seems she was certainly on the right track to have done so. “It is clear that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was systematically constructing novel chimeric coronaviruses and was assessing their ability to infect human cells and human-ACE2-expressing mice,” says Richard H. Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University and leading expert on biosafety.
“It is also clear,” Dr. Ebright said, “that, depending on the constant genomic contexts chosen for analysis, this work could have produced SARS-CoV-2 or a proximal progenitor of SARS-CoV-2.” “Genomic context” refers to the particular viral backbone used as the testbed for the spike protein.
The lab escape scenario for the origin of the SARS2 virus, as should by now be evident, is not mere hand-waving in the direction of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It is a detailed proposal, based on the specific project being funded there by the NIAID.
That the Biden administration hasn't commented on the fact-sheet, as Dunleavy mentioned, is doubled down on by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
White House press sec deflects questions on why NIH funded Wuhan Virology Lab pic.twitter.com/lNRWvjiey2— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) May 7, 2021
During Friday's press briefing, in an exchange with Newsmax's Emerald Robinson, she tried to pass the buck onto NIH, before giving off slightly more information:
Robinson: I said that the NIH and Dr. Fauci had provided funding to the Wuhan Lab of Virology. That’s the [inaudible 00:55:06] question when we talk about the lab leak theory. Given that gain of function research is dicey, why would the US fund that in China? Why would Dr. Fauci?
Psaki: I’m happy to send you to the NIH about more specifics of what program they funded and more details of that.
Robinson:... because the president hasn’t really weighed in. Dr. Fauci is one of the voices who discredit the lab leak theory. But now there’s more officials in the Biden administration, like the director of national intelligence, the CIA director, and now also the NIH director who say that this cannot be ruled out. There’s calls for more investigation into it. Who does the president agree with, Dr. Fauci or the other officials? Does he think it was a lab leak?
Psaki: Well, the president has said and I’ve said from here many times that there needs to be a credible independent investigation through the World Health Organization and one that relies on data, relies on participation from China and other countries that may have information. That’s certainly something everybody has called for, and we look forward to that happening.
Robinson: Why hasn’t the president spoken with President Xi about the origins of the coronavirus yet? He said just a few weeks ago he hadn’t yet.
Psaki: I think we have given a readout of his call and also that the president believes there should be an independent investigation led by health experts and one where their data is provided. That’s provided transparently to our medical and science experts here in the United States, and we look forward to reviewing that. We’re going to have to go on.
Kudos to Rep. Gallagher and any others who want to find out the truth. We must hold China accountable for its part in so many millions of deaths around the world.