A Minority Report on Pandemic Origins
From the Brownstone Institute
Those who have been attending or listening to my recent talks and podcasts may have noticed that I have repeatedly stated that my opinion is that SARS-CoV-2 virus was created in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and somehow entered the general population approximately September 2019. Based on their report, this appears to also be the interim minority opinion of the Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions Minority Oversight Staff, which has been archived at the Malone Institute under the government corruption tab, and can be found here.
Here is the cautiously worded but still stunning conclusion of this interim report:
As noted by the WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens, the COVID19 Lancet Commission, and the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence 90-Day Assessment on the COVID-19 Origins, more information is needed to arrive at a more precise, if not a definitive, understanding of the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and how the COVID-19 pandemic began (see footnote). Governments, leaders, public health officials, and scientists involved in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and working to prevent future pandemics, must commit to greater transparency, engagement, and responsibility in their efforts.
Based on the analysis of the publicly available information, it appears reasonable to conclude that the COVID-19 pandemic was, more likely than not, the result of a research-related incident. New information, made publicly available and independently verifiable, could change this assessment. However, the hypothesis of a natural zoonotic origin no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt, or the presumption of accuracy. The following are critical outstanding questions that would need to be addressed to be able to more definitively conclude the origins of SARS-CoV-2:
- What is the intermediate host species for SARS-CoV-2? Where did it first infect humans?
- Where is SARS-CoV-2’s viral reservoir?
- How did SARS-CoV-2 acquire its unique genetic features, such as its furin cleavage site?
Advocates of a zoonotic origin theory must provide clear and convincing evidence that a natural zoonotic spillover is the source of the pandemic, as was demonstrated for the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak. In other words, there needs to be verifiable evidence that a natural zoonotic spillover actually occurred, not simply that such a spillover could have occurred.
Footnote- see also Sachs, J. D., Karim, S. S. A., Aknin, L., Allen, J., Brosbøl, K., Colombo, F., Barron, G. C., Espinosa, M. F., Gaspar, V., Gaviria, A., Haines, A., Hotez, P. J., Koundouri, P., Bascuñán, F. L., Lee, J.-K., Pate, M. A., Ramos, G., Reddy, K. S., Serageldin, I., & Thwaites, J. (2022). The Lancet Commission on lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet, 0(0). . See also: Office of the Director of National Intelligence. (2021). Updated Assessment on COVID-19 Origins.
I recommend that you also read the excellent extensive coverage on this report from Pro-Publica and Vanity Fair (in partnership) entitled “COVID-19 Origins: Investigating a “Complex and Grave Situation” Inside a Wuhan Lab”. This follows on a previous investigative report by Katherine Eban in Vanity Fair entitled “The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins”.
A summary of examples concerning how the corporate media have previously covered the “Lab Leak Hypothesis” explanation of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic can be found below:
By way of relevant historical context, on approximately 04 January, 2020 I received an unexpected phone call from Dr. Michael Callahan (known to me to have been a CIA agent, and separately confirmed to me by NY Times reporter Davey Alba in February 2022 as a “former” CIA agent).
During this call, Dr. Callahan revealed to me that he was calling from China, and that he was in country under cover of his Harvard Professor appointment. Further information regarding Dr. Callahan can be found in this article by Raul Diego, with research support by Whitney Webb, entitled “DARPA’s Man in Wuhan”. It is important to know that Callahan has provided advice in the White House to at least three US Presidents, including Obama and Trump.
On 04 January 2020, Dr. Callahan told me that there was a novel coronavirus circulating in the Wuhan region, it was looking like a significant biothreat, and I should get “my team” engaged in seeking ways to mitigate the risk of this new agent. My sense from this and subsequent discussions with Dr. Callahan over the next few months during 2020 was that he had been in China as part of an exchange program, sent there under his joint appointment at a Chinese sister hospital of the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where he has maintained a faculty appointment since 2005.
Dr. Callahan asserted to me that he had been directly involved in managing hundreds of cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan during early 2020, and according to journalist Brendan Borrell, who has acted as a close ally of Dr. Callahan and published many stories (and a recent book) about his various exploits, Dr. Callahan escaped Wuhan surreptitiously by boat immediately prior to the lockdown of the region on 23 January 2020. If you believe Borrell’s story line (and I do not- Callahan is a CIA trained liar, and I have previously seen Borrell publish unverifiable falsehoods), the heroic Dr. Callahan first stepped into a Wuhan hospital the day before the lockdown:
He went to Wuhan anyway and hunkered down in a guest house, waiting to get the word from his friends. “They had to check in to make sure things were safe for me.” On Jan. 22, Callahan slipped on medical scrubs and donned an N95 mask and a pair of goggles to pass through the entrance of the Wuhan Central Hospital, a boot-shaped glass building rising up from the city’s empty streets. There, his colleagues registered him as a “guest clinical educator,” a title that would allow him into the wards as an observer. The next day, the city locked down. Callahan had just made it into the white-hot center of the outbreak.
Note the careful dissembling and cover that Borrell provides Callahan (and the CIA):
If he went to Wuhan, Callahan knew he couldn’t worry his wife by telling her about his plan. He had to be careful about telling anyone. He didn’t have official permission to travel there, after all. “It was not sanctioned, not authorized,” he said.
When Callahan set down his bag in the lobby of the Westin Hotel and was handed the key card to his room, he had to smirk. There’s 400 rooms in this hotel, and I get the same room every time? he thought. It was a fine room. Clean bathroom, firm mattress. It was also a tell. Ever since Chinese hackers stole a database containing information about his high-level security clearance, Callahan knew that someone might be watching his every move. “I’m not that good-looking of a guy, but you’d think I was Brad Pitt when I go down and get a beer,” he said. “Honeypots. But, you know, we get training for that.”
Who is the “we” that get training to avoid honeypots? Yet another tell….
Borrell now asserts that Callahan left Wuhan one week after his arrival:
All told, Callahan spent almost a week on the ground helping his colleagues keep the hospital functioning, learning about the virus’s toll on the human body, and taking note of what drugs doctors were throwing at the virus. Chinese officials were planning to tighten Wuhan’s quarantine measures, banning residents even from stepping out to buy food. Callahan slipped across the river by boat — “the black-market way” — and returned to Nanjing, where he and his colleagues had a video link with the ICU units in two hospitals in Wuhan and could provide advice and track patient outcomes. Callahan knew he needed to report what he was seeing to his friends in the U.S. government.
Which would mean that Callahan, who reported to me that he had helped manage hundreds of cases of COVID-19 while in Wuhan (600 as I recall Michael bragging, but Borrell says 277), did so early in the outbreak within a one week period. In retrospect, this is yet another lie.
Clearly this story told by Borrell is a limited hangout, as was his prior April 26, 2020 story that Callahan had examined a series of 6,000 Chinese cases during that time and discovered the activity of Famotidine as a COVID-19 treatment. I know for a fact that he never used Famotidine to treat COVID-19 while he was in Wuhan or later when he was managing the Diamond Princess outbreak and setting up the portable hospital in New York City, and only began looking into the potential efficacy after I reported to him on the findings of the group that I was leading (and my own personal experience self-treating with Famotidine when I was infected during the Boston Wuhan-1 outbreak at the end of Feb 2020).
To this point, when this false narrative was published in Science magazine, I requested from Borrell, Callahan, and Science Magazine a copy of the database which was purportedly used to make this discovery, and none of these were able to provide it. I once asked Borrell if he was also CIA, or as Callahan often says “a member of the secret handshake club”. Borrell denied any association, but there is no question in my mind that for some inexplicable reason Borrell has been publishing Callahan’s cover stories for many years. Like this one for example: “95,000 stranded at sea: What happens when a cruise ship becomes a hot zone”.
After returning from China to report to his longstanding close associate Dr. Bob Kadlac (then serving as the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response to the Trump administration), back in Washington DC, Callahan was then deployed to help managing both the Diamond Princess outbreak during the first week of February, 2020, as well as the March 08 Grand Princess outbreak. Which would mean that he would have arrived in Nanjing, China under cover of his Harvard appointment, beginning 22 Jan traveled to Wuhan and managed between 200 and 600 COVID-19 patients, emailed Bob Kadlac on Jan 28 alerting him of the emerging threat (weeks after he had called me), escaped Wuhan by boat returning to Nanjing, continued to monitor hospital COVID-19 management practices remotely from Nanjing, returned to Washington DC to report to Kadlac, and then deployed to the Diamond Princess in Japan during the first week of February.
And during this time, was supposedly was involved in a detailed statistical analysis of a 6,000 patient Chinese database (which no one else has ever seen) to discover that Famotidine is active against COVID-19. I know from personal communication with Michael that he then designed and managed deployment of the tent hospital in NY City, and then deployed to manage and set US policy for COVID-19 treatment and infection control in nursing homes. I also know that he presented the data from our research group at White House and WHO meetings as the support for advocating for Famotidine as a COVID-19 repurposed drug treatment, but did not present data from the ephemeral 6000 person Chinese data base analysis.
As for myself, I downloaded the sequence of the “Wuhan Seafood Market Virus” available on the NIH servers on January 10, and got busy with volunteers from the DTRA-funded project group at Alchem Laboratories in Alachua Florida, which contract (focused on use of biorobots and computational modeling to identify inhibitors of organophosphate chemical toxins) I had helped write and win and for which I was then serving as project manager. I directed the group to focus on identifying repurposed drugs which could inhibit the Papain-like protease of the virus (3-ClPro) as opposed to the main serine protease (M-Pro) which has been the primary focus of Pharmaceutical company research into SARS-1 inhibitors.
Computational docking studies lead to a ranked priority list which included Famotidine, and I confirmed the activity of this agent by treating myself after I was infected during the last week of February 2020. Jill got busy beginning January 04 after the Callahan call, and with my help wrote and self-published (Amazon) a book designed for a lay audience to help them prepare and protect themselves from the novel coronavirus. The highly referenced book (written by a PhD and an MD/MS with decades of experience in infectious disease outbreaks) was published during the first week of February, 2020, and was censored/deleted by Amazon in March 2020 due to “violating community standards” which were not otherwise specified at the time. No appeal.
The fact that Jill and I were able to produce and published this book in a month has been cited by some conspiracy theorists as evidence that I was “in on the game” well before January 04, but I can assure you that this is merely a testimony to the commitment and efforts of Dr. Jill-Glasspool Malone to warn and help our friends, community, social media followers, and the general population. To have this product of such hard work and commitment summarily deleted without appeal by Amazon was deeply damaging to her morale, as it would be to yours.
On a side note, early in February 2020, I directly asked Michael for his opinion on the possibility that the “2019 Novel Coronavirus” (not yet named SARS-CoV-2) originated from a laboratory. His response was that “my people have carefully analyzed the sequence, and there is no evidence that this virus was genetically engineered”. We now know that this was another lie, and that there is clear evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was genetically engineered.
Based on this timeline and history, as well as my own direct personal communication with Dr. Callahan, I strongly suspect that both the gross clinical mismanagement of ventilatory support during the first phase of the outbreak (responsible for up to 30,000 deaths) as well as the stunningly poor management practices of Nursing Home and Extended Care facilities throughout the USA can be directly traced to the influence of Dr. Michael Callahan, DARPAs Man in Wuhan and arguably the top US Government/CIA expert in both biowarfare and gain of function research.
Consistent with this being a limited hangout, much later during early 2022 I received a call from Dr. David Hone, Ph.D., a longtime associate (since he was a post-doctoral student at University of Maryland) and former employee of Dr. Robert Gallo’s Institute of Human Virology, in which he told me that Callahan was not present in Wuhan on January of 2020, that “we did not have anyone there at that time”, and that I should stop asserting otherwise. Dr. Hone was serving as a GS-15 rank DTRA CB civilian rank employee of the DoD at the time, essentially as the Chief Scientific Officer of DTRA CB. Clearly, this timeline is a sensitive topic, and deserves further congressional investigation. Sworn testimony from both Drs. Hone and Callahan should be obtained.
Reprinted from the author’s Substack
Eye Protection Wasn’t Misdirection
From the Brownstone Institute
“If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it.” ~ Anthony Fauci, July 30th, 2020
We had heard enough from Fauci by the time this comment was made in mid-2020 to begin automatically tuning out his frequently contradictory advice. What if we had given weight to this comment and explored why he began recommending goggles (yet never donned them himself)?
While I’m not surprised that the inner anatomy of the face including ocular ducts and connectivity within structures aren’t common knowledge, I expected more of a reaction from the medical community regarding Fauci’s push for eye protection. Not only do medical professionals take extensive coursework on human anatomy — they are required to meet annually with an Industrial Hygienist for fit tested, hazard-specific kit for each exposure setting , including ocular protection. This testing process requires going into detail about each exposure setting and required donning and donning practices within the scope of their professional duties.
Instead of elaborating on his recommendation, Fauci just publicly hushed on the issue and folks carried on, obediently masked up yet entirely neglectful of their nasolacrimal ducts. Shame, shame.
These are the structures of the lacrimal apparatus connecting ocular and nasal pathways. Basically, the eye drains into the nasal cavity. None of the talking heads of the medical community ever seem to bring up that these parts of the body connect with one another, and while we hear about masks ad nauseam three entire years after the onset of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, no one is arguing with strangers on the internet about goggles.
Bernie Sanders was recently praised for being the only person at the February, 2023 State of the Union donning a (sub-grade, non-mitigating) respirator, but eye spy something fishy. It was noted that he kept removing his glasses, as they were fogging up.
Those who have donned respirators have experienced that exhale emissions are generally redirected out of the nose bridge (or out of side gaps if improperly sealed). This is the exhale emission plume create by a fitted, unvalved N95 respirator:
This plume of warm, moist respiratory emissions is what causes glasses to fog. This is precisely why I continue to argue that masks are NOT source control for respiratory aerosols, because these apparatuses are not designed nor intended to protect others from your emissions, but solely for protection of the wearer. The ASTM agrees with me on this matter:
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard Specification for Barrier Face Coverings F3502-21 Note 2 states, “There are currently no established methods for measuring outward leakage from a barrier face covering, medical mask, or respirator. Nothing in this standard addresses or implies a quantitative assessment of outward leakage and no claims can be made about the degree to which a barrier face covering reduces emission of human-generated particles.”
Additionally, Note 5 states, “There are currently no specific accepted techniques that are available to measure outward leakage from a barrier face covering or other products. Thus, no claims may be made with respect to the degree of source control offered by the barrier face covering based on the leakage assessment.”
So does it matter if your neighbor’s exhale emissions are directed in your face for the duration of your 6-hour flight?
Absolutely. Imagine sitting between these two fine fellas with your eyes exposed, and their emission plumes directed right in your face.
In mitigation of aerosol hazards, eye protection is a standard part of required kit, because those from the correct domain of expertise, Industrial Hygiene, know enough about human anatomy to remember the interconnectivity of facial structures.
Ocular transmission of SARS-CoV-2
There has been a great deal of focus on respiratory protection since the start of the pandemic, but ocular transmission was already established for SARS-CoV-1.
“SARS-CoV-1 has been shown to be transmitted through direct contact or with droplet or aerosolized particle contact with the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth. Indeed, during the 2003 SARS-CoV-1 outbreak in Toronto, health care workers who failed to wear eye protection in caring for patients infected with SARS-CoV-1 had a higher rate of seroconversion.”
We are beginning to see mounting research on ocular transmission for SARS-CoV-2 emerge, as well, traveling through the nasolacrimal duct from the eye, draining into the sinus cavity.
“There is evidence that SARS-CoV-2 may either directly infect cells on the ocular surface, or virus can be carried by tears through the nasolacrimal duct to infect the nasal or gastrointestinal epithelium.”
“The nasolacrimal system provides an anatomic connection between the ocular surface and the upper respiratory tract. When a drop is instilled into the eye, even though some of it is absorbed by the cornea and the conjunctiva, most of it is drained into the nasal cavity through the nasolacrimal canal and is subsequently transferred to the upper respiratory or the gastrointestinal tract.”
“SARS-CoV-2 on the ocular surface can be transferred to different systems along with tears through the nasolacrimal route.”
Seldom did ocular exposure result in eye infection, while systemic infections occurred regularly. Ocular exposure cannot always be determined as the point of contact for this reason, as an eye infection does not always coincide with systemic infection.
The nasolacrimal duct is often discussed in ocular transmission research, but this is not the sole ocular transmission pathway discussed.
“There are two pathways by which ocular exposure could lead to systemic transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. (1) Direct infection of ocular tissues including cornea, conjunctiva, lacrimal gland, meibomian glands from virus exposure and (2) virus in the tears, which then goes through the nasolacrimal duct to infect the nasal or gastrointestinal epithelium.”
Additionally, research is being conducted on the usage of ocular secretions in transmitting SARS-CoV-2.
“Then here comes the question, whether SARS-CoV-2 detected in conjunctival secretions and tears is an infectious virus? Colavita et al inoculated Vero E6 cells with the first RNA positive ocular sample obtained from a COVID-19 patient. Cytopathic effect was observed 5 days post-inoculation, and viral replication was confirmed by real-time RT-PCR in spent cell medium. Hui et al also isolated SARS-CoV-2 virus from a nasopharyngeal aspirate specimen and a throat swab of a COVID-19 patient. The isolated virus not only infected human conjunctival explants but also infected more extensively and reached higher infectious viral titers than SARS-CoV.”
According to this study, ocular secretions were highly infectious.
“The ocular surface can serve as a reservoir and source of contagion for SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted to the ocular surface through hand-eye contact and aerosols, and then transfer to other systems through nasolacrimal route and hematogenous metastasis. The possibility of ocular transmission of SARS-CoV-2 cannot be ignored.”
This paper also has a focus on aerosols coming into contact with ocular mucosa.
“Once aerosols form, SARS-CoV-2 can bind to the ACE2 on the exposed ocular mucosa to cause infection. In order to prevent aerosols from contacting the eye surface, eye protection cannot be ignored.”
An additional area explored in this analysis discusses rhesus macaques wherein solely those inoculated through the ocular route became infected.
“If the ocular surface is the portal for SARS-CoV-2 to enter, where does the virus transfer after entering? An animal experiment reveals the possible nasolacrimal routes of SARS-CoV-2 transfer from the ocular surface. Five rhesus macaques were inoculated with 1×106 50% tissue-culture infectious doses of SARS-CoV-2. Only in the conjunctival swabs of rhesus macaques inoculated via conjunctival route could the SARS-CoV-2 be detected. Conjunctival swabs of the rhesus macaques that were inoculated via intragastric or intratracheal route were negative. Three days post conjunctival inoculation, rhesus macaques presented mild interstitial pneumonia. Autopsies showed that SARS-CoV-2 was detectable in the nasolacrimal system tissues, including the lacrimal gland, conjunctiva, nasal cavity, and throat, which connected the eyes and respiratory tract on anatomy.”
An additional macaque study had similar findings.
“Deng et al. showed that SARS-CoV-2 infection could be induced by ocular surface inoculation in an experimental animal model using macaques. Although the researchers detected the virus in conjunctival swabs only on the first day after inoculation, they continued to detect it in nasal and throat swabs 1-7 days after the inoculation. Their findings demonstrated that the viral load in the airway mucosa was much higher than that in the ocular surface. They euthanized and necropsied one of the conjunctival inoculated-animals and found that the virus had spread to the nasolacrimal system and ocular tissue, nasal cavity, pharynx, trachea, tissues in the oral cavity, tissues in the lower-left lobe of the lung, inguinal and perirectal lymph node, stomach, duode-num, cecum, and ileum. They also found a specific IgG antibody, indicating that the animal was infected with SARS-CoV-2 via the ocular surface route.”
While the nasolacrimal route is the primary focus in most current research, the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) is also discussed as a possible pathway.
“Once it reaches the ocular surface, SARS-CoV-2 could invade the conjunctiva and iris under the mediation of ACE2 and CD147, another possible receptor for SARS-CoV-2 on host cells. De Figueiredo et al described the following possible pathways. After reaching blood capillaries and then choroid plexus, the virus reaches the blood-retinal barrier (BRB), which expresses both ACE2 and CD147 in retinal pigment epithelial cells and blood vessel endothelial cells. Since CD147 mediates the breakdown of neurovascular blood barriers, the virus can cross the BRB and enter into blood.”
There has been a push recently to bring back masks for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), especially in schools, as this pathogen largely impacts youth populations, yet ocular transmission is a proven method of infectivity for RSV.
In this paper, intranasal dosing of the given pathogen resulted in onset of illness for nearly all respiratory pathogens studied. It reviews transmission routes and minimum infective dose for Influenza, Rhinovirus, Coxsackievirus, Adenovirus, RSV, Enteric Viruses, Rotavirus, Norovirus, and Echovirus, including ocular transmission.
“The infective doses of rhinoviruses in the nose and eyes are thought to be comparable because the virus does not infect the eyes but appears to travel from the eyes to the nasal mucosa via the tear duct.”
“Hall et al. (1981) investigated the infectivity of RSV A2 strain administered by nose, eye, and mouth in adult volunteers. They reported that the virus may infect by eye or nose and both routes appear to be equally sensitive. A dose of 1.6 × 105 TCID50 infected three of the four volunteers given either into the eyes or nose while only one out of the eight were infected via mouth inoculation, and this was thought to be due to secondary spread of the virus.”
“RSV A2 had poor infectivity when administered via the mouth but was shown to infect by eye and nose and both routes appear to be equally sensitive to the virus.”
“Bynoe et al. (1961) found that colds could be produced almost as readily by applying virus by nasal and conjunctival swabs as by giving nasal drops to volunteers.”
Would masks save schools from RSV circulation? Most kids have robust immune systems, with a very, very small percentage of the youth population undergoing chemotherapy or taking immunosuppressives, who usually are not on campus for in-person learning. But for those seeming protection and in-person instruction, we must not set them up for immune bombardment by offering a false sense of security while feigning ignorance of other viable transmission routes. Masks are not the answer.
Ocular transmission of respiratory pathogens hasn’t been a focal point of study, but with other pathogens and mounting research on SARS-CoV-2 showing such ease of systemic onset for this transmission route, more attention should be given to this area of research.
Consider all of the people you’ve seen donning masks or respirators over these past three years, assured in the merit of their virtue. How many still got sick? Did you ever once see someone donning goggles? Are we ever going to get around to discussing exhaustion of the hierarchy of controls, or are actual mitigating measures too taboo, too fringe?
TLDR: Ocular transmission is a viable method of transmission for SARS-CoV-2. Masks are not source control. Even N95s aren’t going to fix this. And all child masks are unregulated, untested, unethical, and unsafe, with zero efficacy, fit, term of wear, or medical clearance standards, and with ocular transmission being a proven route of transmission for RSV, masks aren’t going to fix that issue, either.
Curious: Angela Merkel’s September 2019 Visit to Wuhan
From the Brownstone Institute
In a much-tweeted soundbite from the recent Congressional hearing on the origins of Covid-19, former CDC director Robert Redfield noted that three unusual events occurred in Wuhan in September 2019 suggesting a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
But another, in retrospect, highly curious event also occurred in Wuhan in September 2019: namely, none other than then German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a visit to the city and, more specifically, to the Tongji Hospital on the left bank of the Yangtze River. The hospital is also known as the German-Chinese Friendship Hospital.
The below photo from Germany’s Deutsche Presse Agentur shows Chancellor Merkel being greeted by nurses at the hospital reception on September 7, 2019. (Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung.)
A 2021 House Foreign Affairs Committee Minority Report, referring in greater detail to the same events as Redfield, concludes that a lab leak took place at the WIV sometime prior to September 12, when, notably, the WIV’s virus and sample database was mysteriously taken offline in the middle of the night (p. 5 and passim).
What an incredible coincidence that the German Chancellor was visiting Wuhan’s Tongji Hospital at almost precisely the time when, according to Redfield’s speculations, a potentially catastrophic event was taking place across the river at the Wuhan Institute of Virology! This was, moreover, merely three months before the first officially acknowledged cases of Covid-19 began to turn up in the city.
But the coincidence is in fact even more incredible. For when those first cases did begin to turn up in Wuhan in early December 2019, they did not in fact turn up in the vicinity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology on the right bank of the Yangtze, but rather in the direct vicinity of Tongji Hospital on the left bank!
The below mapping of the initial cluster of cases from Science magazine makes this clear. The black dot is the epicenter of the cluster. Cross #5 marks the location of Tongji Hospital.
And that is not all. As discussed in my earlier article on “The Other Lab in Wuhan,”although the WIV was relatively far removed from the outbreak – say around 10 kilometers from the epicenter as the crow flies — there is in fact another virus research lab in Wuhan that is located right in the area of the initial cluster.
The lab in question is the German-Chinese Joint Laboratory of Infection and Immunity – or, as its German co-director Ulf Dittmer has also called it, the “Essen-Wuhan Laboratory for Virus Research” – and the Chinese host institution of the German-Chinese Joint Lab is none other than the Tongji-Hospital-affiliated Tongji Medical College.
Per Google maps, Tongji Medical College is located around one kilometer due north of the hospital. Have another look at the above map keeping in mind the indicated scale. This would put it nearly right at the epicenter of the outbreak!
According to German and Chinese sources, however, the lab is in fact located at another hospital affiliated with Tongji Medical College: Wuhan Union Hospital. The location of Union Hospital is marked by cross #6 on the Science map: still in the cluster, but a bit further away from the epicenter.
A press release on the website of the University of Duisburg-Essen, the German co-sponsor of the lab, notes that:
The Joint Lab is fully equipped for virus research. It is a BSL2 safety laboratory with access to BSL3 conditions. German and Chinese members of the lab have access to a large sample collection form [sic.] patients of the Department of Infectious Diseases for their research.
BSL stands for “biosafety level.”
The below photo from a German article on the Essen-Wuhan collaboration shows the virologist Xin Zheng of Union Hospital, Tongji Medical School, at work in the joint lab. Per the cited source, Xin did her doctorate at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Could SARS-CoV-2 have leaked from the joint lab?
And, while we’re at it, was gain-of-function research being conducted at the lab? We do not know, but we do know that the German members of the lab will, at any rate, have been in contact with a nearby lab where it was being conducted. For the Wuhan Institute of Virology lists the University of Duisburg-Essen as one of its partner institutions.
Furthermore, in addition to its own partnership with the University of Duisburg-Essen, Tongji Medical College also has a longstanding academic exchange program with the Charité research and teaching hospital in Berlin of none other than Christian Drosten: the German virologist whose controversial and ultrasensitive PCR protocol, in effect, guaranteed that the Covid-19 outbreak would acquire the status of a “pandemic.”
As discussed in “The Other Lab in Wuhan,” Drosten appears as one of the scientists participating in the so-called “Fauci emails,” and of all the participants, he is the most vehement denier of the possibility of a lab leak.
In remarks in the German press, Drosten has admitted that he began working on his Covid-19 testing protocol before any Covid-19 cases had even officially been reported to the WHO! He says he did so based on information he had from unnamed virologist colleagues working in Wuhan. (Source: Die Berliner Zeitung.)
Speaking of which, Drosten can be seen below in the company of none other than Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the scientist whose research on bat coronaviruses is suspected of being at the origin of a Covid-19 lab leak.
The picture comes from a “Sino-German Symposium on Infectious Diseases” that took place in Berlin in 2015 and that was organized by Ulf Dittmer of the University of Duisburg-Essen. Dittmer, as noted above, is the co-director of the Essen-Wuhan lab, which would be founded two years later. The symposium was funded by the German Ministry of Health.
Dittmer is the bald man with the striped shirt in the full group picture of symposium participants below. (Source: University of Duisburg-Essen.) The jovial bearded man with the bowtie in the next row is none other than Thomas Mertens, the current chair of the “Standing Committee on Vaccination” of the German health authority, the Robert Koch Institute.
The Berlin symposium was held one year after the US government declared a moratorium on gain-of-function research.
As it so happens, Drosten himself has been involved in gain-of-function research, as the below screen shot from the webpage of the German RAPID project makes clear.
RAPID stands for “Risk Assessment in Prepandemic Respiratory Infectious Diseases.” Further information from the German Ministry of Education and Research expressly states that Drosten’s Charité hospital does not merely oversee, but is directly involved (beteiligt) in RAPID sub-project 2: i.e. “identification of host factors by loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments.”
Imagine for a moment that then President Donald Trump paid a visit to Wuhan in September 2019, at the very time that a lab leak is suspected to have occurred in the city.
And imagine that, while there, he made a stop at a hospital that is affiliated with a medical school located in the very epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak that would officially occur three months later.
Imagine that this medical school, furthermore, runs a joint, BSL-3 capable, virus research lab with an American university – let’s say, for example, Ralph Baric’s University of North Carolina – and that Baric and his colleagues were themselves conducting research right in Wuhan!
And imagine that the American university in question is also a partner institution of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (Baric’s University of North Carolina is not in fact) and that the local Wuhan medical school also has a partnership with, say, the NIH.
And imagine that there is even a photo of none other than Anthony Fauci of the NIH with none other than Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology at a joint “Sino-American Symposium on Infectious Diseases” in Washington that was organized by Baric and funded by the US Department of Health four years before the Covid-19 outbreak. And imagine, for good measure, that, say, Rochelle Walensky was also present at the event.
Imagine, finally, that Fauci had not just (allegedly) provided funding for gain-of-function research, but was himself directly involved in it.
The above concatenation of circumstances would undoubtedly be regarded as what some members of the US intelligence community might call “slam-dunk” proof of US complicity in any lab leak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that may have occurred in Wuhan.
Why does the ample evidence of manifold German connections to and indeed involvement in virus research in Wuhan not merit at least the same degree of scrutiny, if not to say of certainty?
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