Anthony Fauci and Gain-of-Function Wargames

Anthony Fauci assumed the post of the U.S.A.’s voice of science during the early days of the pandemic. While Donald Trump promoted bleach and hydroxychloroquine, Fauci stood behind him and looked pained. While Trump tried to place the blame on China, Fauci worked with his colleagues in virology to (1) make sure the natural origins/seafood market hypothesis became dominant, and (2) put an end to the gain-of-function (GoF), lab leak hypothesis of the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Along with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (long led by Anthony Fauci) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funded the Ecohealth Alliance, led by Peter Daszak, to act as a conduit of U.S. taxpayer money to Shizheng Li, the chief scientist of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in Wuhan, China.

Shizheng Li manipulates the genome of coronaviruses. She had worked together with Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina to create chimeras (Frankenviruses) made with the backbone of the original SARS (2002-2003) virus with spike proteins from coronaviruses that Shizheng Li (occasionally together with Peter Daszak) collected from bats in caves in the Yunnan province of China, a thousand miles away. At the WIV, such viruses would be tested on “humanized” mice, that is, mice bred to have respiratory systems similar to those of humans. Serial passage through laboratory animals is one type of gain-of-function research.

Another way to gain function is to move around genetic material. Ralph Baric came up with a “no see-um” method to insert genetic material. Early on in the pandemic, in February 2020, a number of prominent virologists convened around Anthony Fauci. Many initially thought that the furin cleavage site, on the spike of SARS-CoV-2 looked suspicious. SARS-CoV-2 was the first sarbecovirus to have such a furin cleavage site. It didn’t look like a product of evolution. It looked like it had been inserted there.

Quickly, however, those virologists around Anthony Fauci coalesced around the position that they would discount the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 was created in the laboratory and therefore leaked from the laboratory. In the March 2020 “Proximal Origins” article, they did just that and promoted the natural origins hypothesis. The virologists confidently declared, “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.” It turns out that this article was orchestrated by Peter Daszak. Appearing on Democracy Now! in April 2020, Daszak said that “the idea that this virus escaped from a lab is just pure baloney.”

The Times of London is now reporting that “US State Department investigators” have found that virologists from the Chinese military participated in the experiments on coronaviruses at the WIV. That they were carrying out an explicitly gain-of-function program to create a bioweapon. That they were developing a vaccine against such a bioweapon. That their plan would have been to vaccinate China’s population before wielding such a weapon. That that’s why they had a vaccine so early. That the scientist who developed the vaccine died at age 54, allegedly falling off of the roof of the WIV. [“The Wuhan lab (Pt 2): The shadow project.”

On the face of it, this sounds like a nutty James Bond movie villain’s plot to take over the world. But isn’t “defense” the same justification that the U.S. “biodefense” military-industrial consortium uses for its own gain-of-function work? As Sam Husseini notes, it is a matter of semantics. Ecohealth Alliance also applied for Defense Advanced Research Products Agency (DARPA) funding in order to insert a furin cleavage site into a coronavirus. The grant monies were denied, but that does not mean that Ecohealth Alliance subcontractors didn’t continue on with their proposals.

With the 78th commemoration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki approaching, we should keep in mind that weapons systems, such as nuclear weapons, missiles, or drones, are developed with the intent of gaining a military advantage over one’s enemies. Inevitably, though, enemies catch up – and the end result is proliferation. As with other weapons, the downsides, the risks, and the costs of bioweapons research are becoming more obvious. How many millions of deaths globally from COVID-19? The WHO cites 7 million reported deaths, but this is considered a gross undercount. Also obvious is that we must put a stop to bioweapons research.

The hegemons of medical orthodoxy, e.g. the New England Journal of Medicine, continue to lionize Anthony Fauci. Should they? Did he not work to cover up the origins of the coronavirus? Moreover, he was instrumental in backing gain-of-function research. Should he not be called to account for this? Should we not be all be working to bring gain-of-function research to an end?

The physicist who led the Manhattan Project, Robert Oppenheimer, came to regret his role in the development of atomic weapons. When will we see some remorse among those who created the coronavirus?

Seiji Yamada, a native of Hiroshima, is a family physician practicing and teaching in Hawaii.