The newly unedited correspondence between Fauci and top scientists reveals early efforts to shift the narrative of the possible laboratory origins of COVID-19 despite uncertainty

From recent unredacted communications between top scientists, it is clear that early in the pandemic there was a coordinated push to downplay the possibility that COVID-19 originated in a laboratory and instead bolstered then-unsubstantiated claims that the virus could transmit naturally way. Species spread to humans.

what are the details

Through a freedom of information lawsuit, Guardian reporter Jimmy Tobias received new unedited emails detailing both the February 1, 2020 conference call between Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and virologists who discussed the SARS-COV-2 virus as well as detailed other correspondence related to COVID-19 possible origins.

Emily Kopp, a reporter for the nonprofit investigative research group US Right to Know, has compiled these findings into a comprehensive and detailed report timeline on the “proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2”.

Kopp noted that in February 2020, when the aforementioned conference call took place, several top virologists attempted to probe the nature of the coronavirus that would go on to kill tens of millions worldwide.

Although they eventually concluded in the journal Nature Medicine that the virus had not been tampered with, stating, “We don’t think any type of laboratory scenario is plausible,” there was serious doubt behind the scenes.

furin cleavage site

Many of the scientists trying to explain the origin of the furin cleavage site on the virus’s spike protein — responsible for its relatively high infectivity — were faced with the strong possibility of human intervention.

US Right to Know reported that in January 2020, Danish evolutionary biologist and Scripps Research Institute immunology professor Kristian G. Andersen behaved the matter of a gain-of-function study that “looked like a guide to building the Wuhan coronavirus in a lab.”

Andersen is said to have drawn the attention of British evolutionary biologist and virologist Edward Holmes to the “furin cleavage site between the S1 and S2 junctions” which showed distinctive features of genetic engineering.

The furin cleavage site is a site in a viral cell where furin protease enzymes cleave the spike protein, the hook that binds to ACE2 receptors on the outer surface of human cells. This splicing allows the spike to bind to a second receptor called neuropilin-1, facilitating the virus’ entry into the human cell.

Many scientists believe that furin cleavage sites like those seen in COVID-19 do not occur naturally. This lends credence to the growing theory that the virus originated in a lab.

Holmes reportedly responded by saying, “F*** that’s bad.”

On January 31, 2020, Andersen wrote to Fauci: “You have to look very closely at the genome to see traits that may have been manipulated. … I should mention that earlier today after discussions, Eddie [Holmes]bob [Garry]mike [Farzan]and I all find the genome to be inconsistent with the expectations of evolutionary theory.

‘Wild West’

In a February 2, 2020 email to Francis Collins, former director of the National Institutes of Health, British medical researcher Jeremy Farrar added comments from Michael Farzan, professor and chair of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research Institute, and Bob Garry, professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane School of Medicine.

Farrar stated that Farzan “was disturbed by the Furin site and is having a hard time explaining this as an event outside the lab.”

Farzan noted, as stated in Farrar’s email, “A likely explanation could be something as simple as passage of SARS-like CoVs in tissue culture on human cell lines (under BSL-2) for an extended period of time, accidentally creating a virus would be prepared for rapid transmission between humans by retrieval of the furin site (from tissue culture) and adaptation to the human ACE2 receptor by repeated passage.

“So I think the question becomes, how do you summarize all of this, do you believe in this set of coincidences, what do you know about the Wuhan lab, how much could be in nature – accidental release or natural event? I’m 70:30 or 60:40,” Farzan added.

According to Farrar’s email, Bob Garry said: “[If] You did gain of function research, you would NOT use an existing degree [clone] from SARS or MERSv. These viruses are already human pathogens. What you would do is close a bat virus[at] hadn’t appeared yet. Maybe then pass it into human cells for a while to include the RBS, then re-clone and insert the mutations you’re interested in — one of the first, a polybasic cleavage site.”

Based on Garry and Farzan’s comments, Farrar wrote: “On a spectrum when 0 is nature and 100 is release – I’m honestly at 50! I suspect this will remain gray unless there is access to the Wuhan lab – and I suspect that’s unlikely!”

While Farrar had not been swayed one way or the other by the data available at the time, he did note that Holmes “would be 60-40 on the lab side”.

Collins clarified that “Eddie now argues against the idea that this is the product of intentional human manipulation.

Farrar agreed, “probably not ‘engineered'” but asserted that “there remains a very real possibility of accidental laboratory passage in animals to deliver glycans”.

Collins wrote back on Feb. 4, “I would be interested in the suggestion of accidental lab passage in animals (which ones?).”

US Right to Know reported that Fauci’s concerned response, “?? Serial passage in ACE2 transgenic mice‘, pointing to the possibility that ‘the virus may have acquired its furin cleavage site by serial passage in mice engineered with human airway cells’.

Virus expert Dr. Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina, who, with Dr. Zhengli Shi experimented on coronavirus and was funded by Fauci’s agency, it has been reported shared transgenic mice with the Wuhan lab.

Farrar affirmed Fauci.

Collins couldn’t believe such ruthless experiments were being conducted in Wuhan, writing, “Surely this wouldn’t be done in a BSL-2 (low biosafety) lab?”

Farrar replied, “Wild West.”

Shoot down a strong possibility

Citing concerns from Chinese in Hubei who believed they were being lied to about the origin of the virus, Edward Holmes wrote that “things got worse when the Wuhan lab released the bat virus sequence — a bat native to another province.” , for which they did it, a large specimen collection was taken.”

“I think the aim/question here is should we, as scientists, try to write something balanced about the science behind it?” wrote Holmes. “There are arguments for and against.”

On February 8, Andersen stated: “The fact that Wuhan has become the epicenter of the ongoing epidemic caused by nCoV is probably an unfortunate coincidence, but it raises questions that cannot be dismissed out of hand. Our main work over the past few years has been focused on disproving every type of laboratory theory, but we are at a crossroads where the scientific evidence is not conclusive enough to say that we have high confidence in any of the three main theories considered .”

On February 9, Marion Koopmans, a Dutch virologist and head of the Erasmus MC Virosciences department, told Andersen that she “wouldn’t be in favor of publishing anything specific about the lab escape hypothesis because… it could backfire.”

Koopmans recommended “zooming out a bit for starters and describing that one of the biggest challenges is where this virus came from and discussing some of the (wild) guesses. … And I would leave ‘lab escape’ for the discussion, because putting that out there as a hypothesis would, I think, be read as ‘you see, that’s what they thought too’.”

The leaders of the medical establishment clearly zoomed out.

March 2020, Fauci said CBS’ Face the Nation reported that COVID-19 was an animal virus that jumped to a human.

fauci said National Geographic in May 2020 that despite concerns privately expressed by other virologists, there is “no scientific evidence” that the virus originated in the Wuhan lab.

Last month, ProPublica, in partnership with Vanity Fair, published a bombshell report indicating that the origin of COVID-19 was in fact the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

Senate Republicans also released a report in October showing that human interference, and not evolutionary mishap, was responsible for the pandemic and the loss of over 1 million Americans. The newly unedited correspondence between Fauci and top scientists reveals early efforts to shift the narrative of the possible laboratory origins of COVID-19 despite uncertainty

Laura Coffey

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