A leaked Pentagon paper penned early in the pandemic indicates the U.S. government suspected all along that Fauci’s COVID-19 natural-origins theory may have been rubbish.
What’s the background?
Despite privately expressing uncertainty about the origin of the virus, there was a well-documented effort by Fauci and several of his peers — some with connections to the Wuhan lab and the dangerous research on coronaviruses undertaken there — to downplay the possibility that COVID-19 originated in a lab and to instead bolster then-unsubstantiated claims that the virus had naturally made the trans-species jump to humans.
Scripps Research Institute immunology professor Kristian G. Andersen, whose later claims are referenced in the newly leaked Pentagon paper, directed British evolutionary biologist and virologist Edward Holmes’ attention to the “furin cleavage site between the S1 and S2 junctions,” which had features characteristic of genetic engineering.
Some of Andersen’s colleagues were “bothered by the furin site” and had “a hard time explaining that as an event outside the lab.”
Michael Farzan, professor and chair at the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the Scripps Research Institute, reportedly suggested prior to the publication of the narrative-curing March paper, “A likely explanation could be something as simple as passaging SARS-like CoVs in tissue culture on human cell lines (under BSL-2) for an extended period time, accidentally creating a virus that would be primed for rapid transmission between humans via gain of furin site (from tissue culture) and adaptation to human ACE2 receptor via repeated passage.”
An undisclosed counterpoint
Chretien and Cutlip’s working paper, dated May 26, 2020, cast significant doubt on Andersen’s suggestion that the notable features of COVID-19 — namely the presence of key amino acids in the receptor binding domain not found in SARS-related coronaviruses and the furin cleavage site — arose naturally and not as the result of laboratory manipulation.
Rather, the authors noted that the features of the virus discussed by Andersen were “consistent with another scenario: that SARS-CoV-2 was developed in a laboratory, by methods that leading coronavirus researchers commonly use to investigate how the viruses infect cells and cause disease, assess the potential for animal coronaviruses to jump to humans, and develop drugs and vaccines.”
Chretien and Cutlip concluded their paper thusly: “The evidence Andersen et al. present does not lessen the plausibility of laboratory origin.”
Undesirable facts get sidelined
Prior to this working paper’s completion, Fauci had already successfully pitched his version of events to the American people.
Fauci told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in March 2020 that COVID-19 was an animal virus that jumped to a human.
When asked during a White House press briefing on April 17, 2020, whether it was possible that the virus “came out of a laboratory in China,” Fauci answered in the negative, citing the paper without bothering to note he had commissioned, edited, and approved it.
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