REMINDER: Chair of The Lancet’s COVID Commission Says He’s ‘Pretty Convinced’ SARS-CoV-2 Came Out of ‘U.S. Lab Biotechnology’
Here’s a reminder that on June 15, 2022 the chair of The Lancet‘s ‘COVID-19 Commission’ Jeffrey Sachs said that he’s “pretty convinced” that SARS-CoV-2 came out of “U.S. Lab Biotechnology” and “not out of nature.”
Anybody who’s spent a lengthy amount of time researching the connection between U.S. federal government funding and gain-of-function research domestically and abroad knows that the link is undeniable. (Just ask UNC Chapel Hill‘s Ralph Baric, and “Batwoman” Zhengli-Li Shi.) Now, however, prominent Columbia University economist and chair of The Lancet‘s “COVID-19 Commission“ Jeffrey Sachs has made it clear SARS-CoV-2 most likely—in some way—was the result of that funding as he is “pretty convinced [the virus] came out of U.S. lab biotechnology, not out of nature.”
Speaking at a GATE Center roundtable, Sachs spoke candidly about several controversial political topics, including the self-imposed energy crisis in the West and the “warpath” the U.S. is on with China. What was most striking, however, was his bluntness in regards to the—very likely—manmade origins of SARS-CoV-2. In his opening remarks to the group, Sachs said the following:
“It may shock you or not shock you or you may say I already know that Professor Sachs, but I chaired a commission for The Lancet for two years on COVID, I’m pretty convinced it came out of U.S. lab biotechnology not out of nature. Just to mention after two years of intensive work on this. So it’s a blunder, in my view, of biotech. Not an accident of a natural spillover. We don’t know for sure, I should be absolutely clear. But there’s enough evidence that it should be looked into and it’s not being investigated. Not in the United States, not anywhere. And I think for real reasons—that they don’t want to look underneath the rug too much.”
Critically, Sachs noted the origin of SARS-CoV-2 wasn’t “some lab in Wuhan,” or even a Chinese lab, but specifically “U.S. lab biotechnology.” Likewise, Sachs didn’t say SARS-CoV-2 came out of “a U.S. biolab,” but only that it was America’s technology that was likely used to create the virus; meaning the lab responsible for SARS-CoV-2 may have been in China, but used U.S. tech—and funding.
Indeed, in an email response to AFP science reporter Issam Ahmed, Sachs clarified that in his remarks to the GATE Center he was saying he believes the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is likely the result of “US biotechnology, and US funding, but not necessarily in a US-based lab.”
This isn’t the first time Sachs—Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University and President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network—has discussed his “shocking” thoughts on the manmade origins of SARS-CoV-2. Far from it, in fact.
In a May 19, 2022 opinion in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Sachs and co-author Neil L. Harrison—a professor of anesthesiology and pharmacology at Columbia—raised many concerns about the myopia of the United States’ investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2. The authors noted that “Much of the work on SARS-like CoVs performed in Wuhan was part of an active and highly collaborative US–China scientific research program funded by the US Government (NIH, Defense Threat Reduction Agency [DTRA], and US Agency for International Development [USAID]), coordinated by researchers at EcoHealth Alliance (EHA), but involving researchers at several other US institutions.” They added that “It is still not clear whether the IC [the intelligence community] investigated these US-supported and US-based activities.”
Sachs and Harrison proceeded to drop many other “truth bombs”—or at the very least pose pertinent questions based on the extraordinary unwillingness of the U.S. government to provide necessary evidence of wrongdoing or lack thereof in the context of the virus’ origins.
“Blanket denials from the NIH are no longer good enough,” the authors wrote. “Although the NIH [National Institutes of Health] and USAID [the US Agency for International Development] have strenuously resisted full disclosure of the details of the EHA-WIV-UNC [EcoHealth Alliance-Wuhan-Institute of Virology-University of North Carolina] work program, several documents leaked to the public or released through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) have raised concerns,” the professors added, noting specifically that “These research proposals make clear that the EHA-WIV-UNC collaboration was involved in the collection of a large number of so-far undocumented SARS-like viruses and was engaged in their manipulation within biological safety level (BSL)-2 and BSL-3 laboratory facilities, raising concerns that an airborne virus might have infected a laboratory worker.”
“The NIH has resisted the release of important evidence, such as the grant proposals and project reports of EHA, and has continued to redact materials released under FOIA, including a remarkable 290-page redaction in a recent FOIA release,” the authors highlighted. (Indeed, The Intercept reported on February 20, 2022 that “in response to ongoing litigation over public records related to coronavirus research funded by the federal agency, the NIH sent… 292 fully redacted pages rather than substantive material that could help us understand how the virus first came to infect humans.”)
Sachs and Harrison even wrote that “EHA, UNC, NIH, USAID, and other research partners have failed to disclose their activities to the US scientific community and the US public, instead declaring that they were not involved in any experiments that could have resulted in the emergence of SARS-CoV-2.” The authors added that verification of these organizations’ innocence still depends upon “gaining access to any… unpublished viral sequences that are deposited in relevant US and Chinese databases.”
While the authors reprimanded several U.S. agencies for possibly funding the research that led directly to SARS-CoV-2, they focused in on the NIH, noting that:
“To date, the federal government, including the NIH, has not done enough to promote public trust and transparency in the science surrounding SARS-CoV-2. A steady trickle of disquieting information has cast a darkening cloud over the agency. The NIH could say more about the possible role of its grantees in the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, yet the agency has failed to reveal to the public the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 emerged from a research-associated event, even though several researchers raised that concern on February 1, 2020, in a phone conversation that was documented by email. Those emails were released to the public only through FOIA, and they suggest that the NIH leadership took an early and active role in promoting the “zoonotic hypothesis” and the rejection of the laboratory-associated hypothesis.”
In May of 2022 Sachs also said—in an interview with Briahna of Bad Faith on YouTube, immediately below—that FOIA requests showed that “NIH got together a group of virologists and asked them in a private call: ‘What do you think [about the origin of the virus]?'” Sachs noted some of them said “I don’t know how this could’ve happened naturally” and others said “odds on lab.” (These emails can be read in full in this 20,000-word deep dive into Anthony Fauci’s top 9 flip-flops.)
Sachs also brought up EcoHealth Alliance’s March 2018 DEFUSE proposal, in which the organization—with Principal Investigator (PI) Peter Daszak—ostensibly claimed the goal of identifying and modeling “spillover risk” of zoonotic viruses. Daszak et al. explained how they aimed to “assess delivery vehicles” of “reconstruct[ed] and characterize[d] spike trimers” in “transdermally applied nanoparticles, sticky edible gels that bats mutually groom and consume,” and “aerosolization via prototype sprayers.” Daszak and his colleagues also discussed introducing “appropriate human-specific cleavage sites” into bat coronaviruses in order to “evaluate growth potential in Vero cells and HAE [humanized ACE 2 receptor] cultures.”
Sachs noted that while DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) decided not to fund DEFUSE—which would’ve cost $14,209,245—it’s possible that somebody else could’ve funded the project. The professor noted that he himself, as an academic, often assembles proposals with the intention of bringing them to multiple potential funders.
Indeed, the mere fact that Daszak et al. had the intention of introducing the Furin cleavage site into bat coronaviruses—the exact Furin cleavage site that all of Anthony Fauci’s peers believed was likely, or at least possibly, artificially inserted—raises red flags. (At the very least EcoHealth Alliance should be ordered to disclose whether or not DEFUSE was ultimately funded or not.)
The rest of Sachs’ GATE Center talk didn’t center on the virus’ origins as much as one would hope, as it quickly moved on to topics of foreign policy and monetary policy; focusing often times on how the U.S. is faltering on the world stage.
“We’re at the end of the U.S. leadership period,” Sachs said. He added that “A lot of the uncertainties that we feel right now are because the United States does not and cannot lead. But Europe does not fill the void. And Latin America in recent years has been completely de-institutionalized.”
Sachs also came down on NATO, saying “Russia needs to leave [Ukraine], but we don’t need to enter afterward.” He stressed to the crowd around him that he’s pleading with U.S. leadership: “please don’t pour more weapons into Ukraine.” He added the idea of Zelenskyy negotiating with Putin is “an absurdity” as he has nothing to offer.
Although Sachs highlighted his desire to see the world reach a “zero-carbon energy system”—an expected desire for a “Director of the Center for Sustainable Development“—he noted, unequivocally, that the current energy crisis the West is experiencing has been “caused by sanctions on Russia.” Sachs noted “There is actually no physical shortage of oil and gas; Europe decided not to buy. That’s it. Full Stop.”
The Columbia University professor seemed particularly frightened at the prospect of the U.S. government seizing people’s property on nonexistent legal grounds.
“We also shouldn’t be confiscating central bank reserves of other countries. Because that’s also going to be the end of our financial system. Or, to me, frankly, it’s a little weird. I don’t have any sympathy for oligarchs in general, neither U.S. nor Russian nor any others. But the idea ‘You’re friends with Putin, we take your ship, we take your apartment, we freeze your property’—What is this? I never even heard of this in 67 years,” Sachs said, adding that “in 41 years of being an economist I never heard the government say ‘You’re a friend of someone we don’t like so your property is seized.’ That’s the rule of law? That’s what we’re doing? I don’t even get that, actually.”
Feature image: Disruptive Signal
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