Monday’s big news that COVID came from a Chinese bio weapons lab and not a wet market offering tasty morsels of bat meat and pangolin tenders has been greeted by some with justifiable skepticism. Bernard at Moon of Alabama, for example, is certain that this is just a propaganda move by the U.S., which is trying to whip up public support for an eventual war with China.
Bernard may be correct that this public reversal of the narrative regarding China, from exculpation, to blame, is a consequence of growing tensions with Beijing, it does not mean that the claim is false. Here is the truth — the United States and China bear joint responsibility for the creation of COVID. The research started in the North Carolina lab of Ralph Baric and then moved to China thanks to funding from Dr. Anthony Fauci’s section of the National Institutes of Health. The MIT Technology Review lays it out in detail. Here are the highlights:
In 2013, the American virologist Ralph Baric approached Zhengli Shi at a meeting. . . Shi had detected the genome of a new virus, called SHC014, that was one of the two closest relatives to the original SARS virus, but her team had not been able to culture it in the lab.
Baric asked Shi if he could have the genetic data for SHC014. “She was gracious enough to send us those sequences almost immediately,” he says. His team introduced the virus modified with that code into mice and into a petri dish of human airway cells. Sure enough, the chimera exhibited “robust replication” in the human cells—evidence that nature was full of coronaviruses ready to leap directly to people.
While Baric’s study was in progress, the National Institutes of Health announced that it would temporarily halt funding for “gain of function” research—experiments that make already dangerous viruses more virulent or transmissible—on SARS, MERS (which is also caused by a coronavirus), and influenza until the safety of such research could be assessed. The announcement brought Baric’s work to a standstill.
In a potentially fateful decision, it funded work similar to Baric’s at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which soon used its own reverse-genetics technology to make numerous coronavirus chimeras.
Unnoticed by most, however, was a key difference that significantly shifted the risk calculation. The Chinese work was carried out at biosafety level 2 (BSL-2), a much lower tier than Baric’s BSL-3+.
Former Admiral John Kirby, now masquerading as the spokesman for the National Security Council, falsely claimed that there is no consensus in the intelligence community about the origin of the COVID virus. Nonsense. The evidence is there to support a consensus, but political considerations are preventing some key agencies from admitting the truth. There is indisputable evidence thanks to the information provided by at least two defectors with direct ties to the Wuhan Lab (whose bona fides have been verified) that proves the COVID virus was created in the Wuhan Lab and escaped because of sloppy handling.
When Donald Trump was President, officials from the NIH, FDA, and CDC insisted publicly that it did not originate in a lab. Fauci, who is implicated in the cover up, blamed the Chinese wet market. He and others were covering up their own complicity in funding and facilitating the research in China that produced the lethal virus.
China, for its part, also engaged in a cover-up. Chinese officials were loathed to admit that incompetent lab security created a global pandemic. Denying that fact was critical for China in order to try to protect its international image. Admitting that kind of error would mean a tremendous loss of face for the Chinese nation. I am pretty sure that Xi Jinping and his national security team believed China could avoid that fate because they believed that the number of prominent people in the United States, like Fauci, who also was implicated in the creation of this deadly virus would provide some insurance from the truth being revealed.
Too bad for China. It is learning the hard lesson that counting on greedy, guilty American scientists and a Biden Administration desperate to shift the focus from the impending debacle in Ukraine is a lousy insurance policy. The Biden Administration is once again displaying its incredible incompetence. Admitting, albeit reluctantly, to China’s partial responsibility for the creation and release of the COVID virus, is adding fuel to a raging fire that is portraying China as America’s number one enemy. This thing is taking on a life of its own and will ignite an equally harsh reaction by the Chinese Government.
Put yourself in the position of Xi Jinping. You know that the virus that started the global pandemic was leaked accidentally from your lab. But you also know that the Americans, including the eminent Dr. Fauci, helped fund the research. Yet only your country is being blamed. Would that give you a case of the red ass? I think so. What the Biden Administration is doing is dangerous and short sighted. Exclusively blaming China is going to strengthen the resolve of China to align itself more closely with Russia and be less cooperative with the United States.