Frankenstein Chimeras: COVID, Wuhan Labs and Biosafety

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

In 2015, the Wuhan Institute of Virology started experimenting how to make a natural virus more pathogenic and easier to transmit. In the military jargon of hiding reality, experts call this weaponization of viruses “gain of function.”

University of North Carolina scientists trained Chinese scientists how to manipulate viruses, while leaving no traces of their genetic engineering methods, which create microscopic pathogenic monsters known as Chimeras.

According to Milton Leitenberg, Center for International and Security Studies, University of Maryland, lab manipulated viruses could become part of lab aerosols, moving from experimental animal to experimental animal, including lab scientists and technicians.

“In other words,” Leitenberg said, “gain of function techniques were used to turn bat coronaviruses into human pathogens capable of causing a global pandemic.”

Leitenberg reviewed the published literature on the corona virus and China and reached the following conclusions:

There’s a record of poor safety and viruses escaping from Chinese labs, at least since 2004. This includes the Wuhan institutes. China suppressed information, especially about the corona virus. In addition, China initiated a “disinformation campaign” regarding the “origins” of the corona virus: “targeting “US biological laboratories.”

Leitenberg also stated there’s “a record of gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, including passage of a bat coronavirus construct through experimental animals.”

These charges against China are almost impossible to prove, and Leitenberg admitted as much. US virology labs are probably no better than Chinese labs.

Biological warfare on the name of biosafety and biodefense reminds us of similar claims of advocates of nuclear warfare. We need the nuclear bombs to protect ourselves from the nukes of our enemies.

Truth is the first victim of this kind of propaganda.

The Animal factor

In addition to the genetic engineering of viruses and lab accidents, the other major avenue of plague pandemics has an agricultural origin. The Confined Animal Feeding Operations – CAFOs – have always been fertile grounds for animal and human pestilence.

Mass crowding of mammals creates an ideal environment for “new and lethal viral mutations.”

Put thousands, much less millions, of animals very close to each other and you guarantee pandemic disease among those animals and diseases among humans feeding and slaughtering those animals.

Frankenstein Chimeras

Expand CAFOs to include rice-duck farming and pig-duck-fish aquaculture and you multiply mischief in pandemic diseases. This is especially true for the 10-million bird mega CAFOs, making possible genetic drift among confined animals and possibly human workers.

Living near CAFOs is abhorrent not merely because of stench. The dust and aerosols from CAFOs contains pathogens making people sick.

Writing in 2013, Indiana University professor J. E. Hollenbeck said that, “With so many swine and poultry CAFOs in close proximately, the acceleration of the “mixing” and assortment of influenza viruses is unfathomable.”

Hollenbeck worries that human, swine, and poultry viruses are spreading. His solution:

“The best defense against another pandemic is constant monitoring of the livestock and handlers of CAFOs and the live animal markets of Southeast Asia. These are the most likely epicenters of the next pandemic.”

However, I would not trust a mega bureaucratic and business virology lab establishment to protect public health. The example of what happens to “regulations” under conditions of tyranny, like those exemplified by the Trump administration, should warn us of technical and convenient solutions.

The best defense against another pandemic is to dismantle, worldwide, the biological warfare laboratories and bring to an end the agricultural causes for global pestilence.

These technologies have given rise to a Frankenstein Chimera taking the shape of ever changing genetic mixture of different species that don’t belong in the natural world or among people. Such a monster is without control, almost immortal, threatening its creators with disease and death. It has become a ticking bomb, not much different than the streaming fire of the Greek original monster.

The seventh century BCE epic poet Hesiod describes Chimera as a mighty, gigantic, dreadful, fleet-footed monster breathing fire ceaselessly. She had three heads: that of a shining lion, another one of a goat and still another (the third) of a savage snake. Her front was lion, her back dragon, and the upper middle was goat, which emitted an awesome gleaming stream of fire (Theogony319-324).

It’s the fire of Chimera that has taken the form of disease and death. Humans then and now cannot manipulate or engineer the natural world.

Bio-CAFOs disarmament

Biological disarmament – no more Chimeras — should be no less important than nuclear or chemical weapons  disarmament.

Eliminating CAFOs would be the logical and necessary reform to ease the risks of pandemics from thousands of giant animal farms in America. Rural America without CAFOs would be safer and healthier.

I don’t think we should slaughter animals for meat. It’s exceedingly cruel, immoral, and unnecessary.

In addition, CAFOs emit great amounts of greenhouse gases. Banning them would be a blessing for our fight against climate change, by far the most ominous threat to human survival and the survival of the natural world.


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Evaggelos Vallianatos is a historian and environmental strategist, who worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years. He is the author of 6 books, including Poison Spring with Mckay Jenkings.

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