The following piece explores gain-of-function research, how documented coronaviruses have been made, the thin line of distinction between projects and events leading up to COVID-19.
By Dr. T.J. Coles for TOTT News.
Virologists working in civilian institutions create what they call “chimeras”: genetically-modified (GM) organisms, some of which are viruses engineered to be more lethal.
The professed purpose is to better understand viral transmission in test-animals so that vaccines can be produced for humans. But the US Surgeon General warns that “deadly pathogens” could be made “by well-intentioned scientists who underestimate the unexpected consequences of their work.”
Such pathogens could leak or be stolen from laboratories. A British Ministry of Defence projection is more cynical. It says that “biotechnology and genetic engineering may be combined (sic) to create ‘designer’ bio-weapons.”
The engineering of GM viruses makes it difficult to determine whether or not a novel pathogen is natural or human-made. The ambiguity allows for plausible deniability on the part of those attacking a target population.
WHAT IS GAIN-OF-FUNCTION?
Government agencies, including health institutes and military departments, fund civilian scientists to work in bio-secure universities and laboratories.
Many scientists believe that their work is conducted in the public interest (e.g., to prevent pandemics). Governments, on the other hand, subsidise Big Pharma by allotting public research money, the results of which end up as commercial products, including vaccines.
The military, meanwhile, looks for ways to weaponise the results.
So, how do scientists enhance pathogens? Viruses are protected by a protein shell.
Naturally-occurring genetic mutations result in either the protein’s loss of function (the virus weakens and/or dies) or a gain in its function (the virus becomes more transmissive and/or lethal).
A decade ago, researchers made the controversial decision to start engineering gain-of-function (GOF) features in viruses, purportedly to help develop vaccines, should similar strains mutate in nature.
Given the history of laboratory outbreaks, many scientists raised concerns about GOF.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wrote at the time:
“Whenever one deliberately manipulates a virus or a microbe … [the] results could be used by bioterrorists to intentionally cause harm, [or] an accidental release of a pathogen from a laboratory could inadvertently cause harm.”
Later, Fauci led US-funded GOF experiments in Wuhan, China, before being appointed by President Donald Trump to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, following the COVID-19 outbreak.
A CAUSE FOR CONCERN
The first controversial GOF experiments occurred in 2011 and involved enhancing the transmissibility of the A/H5N1 (“Avian Flu”) in ferrets, supposedly in order to learn about the effect of the virus on human lungs.
Fearing potential weaponisation of the results (“dual-purpose”), the US Department of Health’s National Science Advisory Board initially asked the journals Nature and Science not to disclose the results. Four months later, influenza researchers began a year-long pause on GOF research due to widespread concerns.
In the US, guidelines for GOF experiments were soon drafted. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) oversees the National Institutes of Health.
A year later, the Office of Science and Technology Policy published its Recommended Policy Guidance (P3CO). Adding to the potential for plausible deniability, P3CO did not distinguish between GOF and pandemic pathogens.
But none of the above regulations are enforceable. The statements amount to mere guidelines. There is no global treaty on GOF safety standards, inspections, knowledge-sharing, and/or verification.
SOME EXAMPLES OF G.O.F. CORONAVIRUSES
Coronaviruses thrive in several mammalian species, particularly in bats. The animal-to-human and human-to-human transmissible strains usually affect human lungs.
Coronaviruses get their name from the purported shape of their protein spikes. They include Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), and COVID-19.
To help learn about their transmissibility and lethality, and thus supposedly to develop effective vaccines, scientists have for many years isolated and manipulated coronaviruses, creating entirely new strains.
In mammals, the ACE2 is an enzyme that binds to cell membranes and helps to lower blood pressure. In nature, the bat coronavirus (WIV1-CoV) binds to the human ACE2 and replicates.
Mice are not naturally susceptible to the bat WIV1-CoV, but mice are a favourite tool of research. So, a team of North Carolina University scientists modified the bat virus to infect mice. They synthesised a DNA copy which replicates in cells similar to human lungs.
The researchers took the glycoprotein gene from a coronavirus strain they had engineered (SARS-CoV MA15) and substituted it with a WIV1-CoV gene in mice to analyse its spread.
In a transgenic human-mouse containing the human ACE2 gene, the bat coronavirus WIV1-CoV replicated. Monoclonal antibodies that block the infection of cells were injected into the mice. The antibodies blocked the replication of both SARS-CoV and WIV1-CoV.
The team also took the protein spike from the SARS-CoV-like bat virus (SHC-14) and added it to the modified SARS-CoV MA15 to create yet another engineered strain: SCH014-MA15, which replicated in human airway cell lines and cultures. With this strain, the mice SARS-CoV antibodies did not block the engineered SCH014-MA15, meaning that it was a super-spreading engineered virus.
As far as we know, none of the above escaped from a lab.
Humans have a glycoprotein enzyme called the dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4). It is expressed in the respiratory tract and susceptible to viral infection from MERS-CoV.
A technology called CRISPR (clustered regulatory interspaced short palindromic repeats) allows researchers to add the CRISPR-associated gene 9 to make amino acid substitutions in mDPP4 at certain positions.
With government funding, North Carolina University researchers took the mouse-adapted MERS-CoV virus (icMERSma1) and modified it, making a novel virus clone (genome maM35c4) “capable of achieving severe respiratory disease” in animals in certain doses.
HOW COVID UNFOLDED
Due to the inherent dangers, funding for GOF experiments was halted in the US under President Barack Obama and contracted out to foreign countries, including to China and its Wuhan Institute of Virology.
In 2014, the US National Institutes of Health committed $3.7m to the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, to study bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
A year later, WIV was granted biosafety level 4 authority: the highest level of security.
Other diplomats wrote sensitive cables, noting “a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.”
WIV deleted related statements from its website.
Despite the private concerns of inspectors, in 2019 the US National Institutes of Health authorised another $3.7m of funding for WIV, including for the study of bat coronaviruses.
By late summer of that year, a respiratory virus had appeared in Wuhan. But the World Health Organization was not altered under December. In the same year and of all the places on Earth, the annual Military World Games, attended by US athletes, were hosted by Wuhan. This turned out to be a global, super-spreader event, with US, French, Italian, and other troops getting ill and returning to their home countries with the virus.
CONCLUSION: WAS IT G.O.F.?
Whether the virus was natural, a GOF leak, a GOF bioweapon, or a deliberate GOF release by US, Chinese, or other agents, we will never know. This is where the research truly leads.
The Chinese state accused the US of bringing COVID to China via the Military World Games.
Ex-CIA Director and US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, initially claimed that Chinese military biologists may have created the virus, as did former MI6 Director, Richard Dearlove, who spread the accidental release theory.
None of these actors—Pompeo, Dearlove, or the Chinese authorities—have track-records of honesty. Pompeo was at least honest enough to admit that he is a liar:
“When I was the CIA Director, we lied, we cheated, we stole … [W]e had entire training courses.”
As far as getting to the truth, the circumstances in which both GOF and biowarfare experiments are conducted are ambiguous enough to keep us guessing.
Perhaps it was meant to be this way all along.
Dr. T.J. Coles is the author of several books, including — The War on You.
Check out T.J’s Amazon page by clicking here.
View more published content from Coles here.
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