Science on the Frontlines: Varmint Hunting and Conflicts of Interest

 

Where exactly did the novel coronavirus, SARS Cov-2 originate? Like the plot of a Sherlock Holmes mystery, the search continues. Evidence is emerging this may be a laboratory-created mutant virus that escaped from a BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4 labs. One such lab being the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in Wuhan China, the country’s first biosafety level four lab.

What is the evidence? A team of WHO-sponsored scientists traveled to Wuhan, China to look for clues. They spent two weeks in Wuhan visiting museums, and several markets, including the highly suspected Wuhan Seafood Market. Curiously, in two weeks of investigation, the team spent only three hours reviewing the WIV laboratory at the center of the controversy. In fact, of those three hours, one was spent dawning and doffing personal protective equipment. Why such a cursory examination? Could a conflict of interest be a reason?

One of the leaders of the investigational team was Peter Daszak, Ph.D, a British zoologist and a Principal at EcoHealth Alliance, a nongovernment organization (NGO). His NGO focuses on situations like the emergence of SARS Cov-2. Readers should note, Dr. Daszak published and collaborated with the key scientist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Shi Zhengli. He also received tens of millions of dollars in funding from China and the United States for his research. According to The National Pulse, these potential conflicts of interest only scratch the surface.[1] In a February 2021 interview with the New York Times and a March 2021 interview with NPR, Dr Daszak failed to disclose his financial ties to the Chinese government.[2] Interestingly, neither journalist from these esteemed media outlets felt it necessary to ask him about the aforementioned conflicts. A scientist has an ethical and professional obligation to disclose potential conflicts of interest when conducting research or investigations.

In May of 2020, China admitted samples were destroyed at the WIV in December of 2019.[3] However, Chinese officials denied this was an attempt at a cover up. After the cursory inspection of the lab, Dr. Daszak concluded SARS Cov-2 must have originated from natural zoonosis, and was not an engineered pathogen involved in an accidental laboratory escape. Hmmm…

“Zoonosis” is transmission of a pathogen, a disease causing organism like a virus or a parasite, from an animal host to a human host. There is a major problem with Dr. Daszak’s theory of zoonosis as the origin of the SARS Cov-2 virus and the subsequent COVID 19 pandemic. For zoonosis to occur, an in-between or intermediate host is required, this is known as intermediate adaption. A pathogen can not move directly from a bat to a human, as bat pathogens cannot thrive in a human host.

How could a bat virus have evolved into one that can infect humans, seemingly out of nowhere? The top theory is that through Gain-of-Function Research (GOFR) different strains of bat Coronaviruses underwent manipulation and forced adaptation to have a strong binding affinity for humans. It is this pathogen that may have escaped from the laboratory in Wuhan.

By culturing a virus through a series of different cell lines, from different animal species, researchers can force a virus to adapt to the species-of-choice rather quickly. This technique mimics natural zoonosis which also makes it difficult to distinguish between the two processes. The unique characteristics of SARS Cov-2 makes this a distinct possibility. One such characteristics is a higher binding affinity to human- ACEII receptor, higher than any other bat betacoronavirus of the sabrecovirus group.

Could laboratory created humanized-lung tissue in mice be the intermediate host we are looking for? Peter Daszak from the WHO investigational team revealed his prior work with this technique in a 2019 interview where he cites his work with humanized mice in 2015. In direct contraction to the time-honored tradition of sharing information among scientists, it is troubling that Dr. Daszak blocks any scientist on Twitter who dares to question his assertions, thus effectively, discouraging scientific discourse. Why? We will let the reader draw their own conclusions.

Scroll to Top

Sharing a story can change the world.