Researchers associated with the Chinese military have bioengineered a COVID-related coronavirus (GX_P2V) that “can cause 100% mortality” in lab mice modified with human DNA, according to a “preprint” — a not-yet-reviewed paper — posted online on January 4. The development “is sure to remind many of the Wuhan lab incident,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins warned on “Washington Watch,” as the Chinese research team underscored the “spillover risk of GX_P2V into humans.”
After modifying a coronavirus found in a Malaysian pangolin, researchers were surprised that “all the mice that were infected with the live virus succumbed to the infection within 7-8 days post-inoculation, rendering a mortality rate of 100%.”
The laboratory test was designed and conducted by “researchers from the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Soft Matter Science and Engineering and the Research Center for Clinical Medicine of the Fifth Medical Center of PLA (the People’s Liberation Army) General Hospital,” according to The New American.
The researchers “detected significant amounts of viral RNA in the brain, lung, turbinate [nose], eye, and trachea [throat],” with a “severe brain infection during the later stages of infection” being the most likely cause of death, in their opinion. By Day Seven, “the mice displayed symptoms such as piloerection, hunched posture, and sluggish movements, and their eyes turned white.”
“It is possible,” they admitted, that the modified coronavirus strain “has undergone a ‘virulence-enhancing mutation.’”
“This paper demonstrates that gain-of-function research on SARS-related viruses continues,” declared Dr. Robert Malone, chief medical and regulatory officer for The Unity Project, who emphasized “the risks of such research” and “the need for robust and verifiable restrictions.”
Rutgers University chemist Richard Ebright observed that “The preprint does not specify the biosafety level and biosafety precautions used for the research.” The absence of this information concerned him that “part or all of this research, like the research in Wuhan in 2016-2019 that likely caused the Covid-19 pandemic, recklessly was performed without the minimal biosafety containment and practices essential for research with a potential pandemic pathogens [sic].”
Malone called the research “alarming” and “deeply troubling” during an appearance on “Washington Watch,” lamenting that Chinese researchers “seem to have learned nothing” after the COVID-19 pandemic likelyoriginated from a lab leak. “This is quite alarming,” Perkins agreed, “given the fact that we know what happened last time.”
“Why would we be doing these types of research, especially given what happened with COVID-19?” Perkins asked.
Researchers rationalize their gain-of-function research with “contrived logic,” Malone responded. “‘Dual function research’ is what it’s technically called because it can be used for weapon purposes or for research and discovery purposes,” he said. Scientists believe that, if they “meddle about with these viruses and demonstrate ways that they can become more lethal, then they can anticipate that happening in nature,” he described.
However, Malone added, “clearly, what we’ve learned over the last four years is that that’s not sufficient to justify the risk to the global population.”
“I would think that, at some place, ethics would come into this,” Perkins responded. “Maybe there might be a remote chance that we … get ahead of [the next pandemic].” But he suggested that possibility seems insignificant “when you weigh the risk with … the fact that people will die if it leaks, like many suspect it did last time.”
Malone responded that, for some researchers, the ethic is a lack of any. “I can’t get into the minds of the people that are doing this,” he said. “But there is an ethic that if things can be done, they should be done. It is rampant in this research environment, in this research culture, that these scientists often believe that they’re the best and the brightest, and they’re entitled to do this.” Perhaps we can call it, “the Fauci Affect.”
Of course, not every virologist is so irresponsible. “It’s a terrible study, scientifically totally pointless,” asserted University College London infectious disease expert Professor Francois Balloux. “I can see nothing of vague interest that could be learned from force-infecting a weird breed of humanized mice with a random virus. Conversely, I could see how such stuff might go wrong.”
It’s relevant to note here that the communist Chinese research team’s study was not entirely devoid of an ethical framework. Their paper even included this “Ethics Statement:”
“All animals involved in this study were housed and cared for in an AAALAC (Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care) accredited facilities. The procedure for animal experiments (IACUC-2019-0027) was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the Fifth Medical Center, General Hospital of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, and complied with IACUC standards.”
They weren’t very concerned about the possibility that their genetically mutated virus will escape the lab and kill millions of human beings. But they were very eager to inform their audience that their mutated lab mice were imprisoned humanely — before they infected them with a disease that caused the subjects to die slow and painful deaths. How comforting to the conscience.
“There needs to be a global ban on this type of research and development activity. It’s clearly not safe, and those that are performing it clearly have few, if any, ethical boundaries,” said Malone. Retired Stanford professor of medicine Dr. Gennadi Glinsky concurred. “This madness must be stopped before [it is] too late.”
One problem is, “we’re talking about the CCP [Chinese Communist Party]. So, their ideas of what is justified are not aligned, let’s say, with classical Western thought,” Malone said wryly. University of Michigan molecular biologist Dr. Christina Parks described the Chinese study as “classic gain-of-function, whether they tell you it is or not.”
As one more exhibit in a fistful of reasons not to trust the Chinse Communist Party, congressional investigators recently learned that Beijing had largely mapped out COVID-19’s genetic sequence two weeks before sharing it with the rest of the world. Dr. Lili Ren of the CCP-affiliated Institute of Pathogen Biology submitted the virus sequence to a U.S.-run genetic database on December 28, 2019; China did not share the virus sequence with the WHO until January 11, 2020. However, the NIH deleted it from the database after Ren failed to respond to questions about technical details. Reading between the lines, we can guess the reason why a scientist in China would suddenly become quiet about information inconvenient to the state.
However, another problem is, our own government is too often complicit in China’s unethical research. For the Chinese Communist Party, who seem to have little to no regard for human life, to engage in such monstrous research is one thing. “But we, as Americans, by and through our government, should be nowhere in the neighborhood,” insisted Perkins. If “we’re funding [gain-of-function research], … we bear responsibility as a nation.” We can’t change the evil nature of the CCP; we can change our participation with it.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) were deeply involved, through an American research consortium called EcoHealth Alliance, in funding research projects at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), including gain-of-function research with coronaviruses similar to Sars-Cov-2, the viral strain which sparked the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), NIH’s parent agency, debarred the WIV in 2023 due to its poor safety practices, but NIH still contract with EcoHealth Alliance, which is currently pursuing research related to Ebola-like viruses and noroviruses.
For Dr. Malone, the only explanation for this behavior was moral, not scientific. “We’re in a post-truth environment,” he said. “We seem to also be in a post-ethical environment for a large segment of our government. It’s driven by other considerations — you know, ‘realpolitik,’ — Henry Kissinger’s world rather than the logic of the United States as the ‘shining city on the hill’ and the ethical beacon for the world.”
For Perkins, Malone’s analysis explained more problems than just some foolish funding on virus research. Rather, it penetrated to the heart of the blight infecting politics across the board. “We live in a post-truth culture,” Perkins reiterated. “I mean, how else can you come up with the failure to recognize what science and biology tells us [about gender]? … [Y]ou talk about ‘deniers.’ These folks are deniers. They’re deniers of truth.” The same theme carries through the intellectual dishonesty recently exposed at the highest levels of academia and the media.
Paul warned his mentee Timothy of a coming time “when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:4). He could have been describing our own time and place.
“We have to stand firm for truth,” said Perkins, “lest our children be carried away in this ungodly culture, this godless culture that is being advanced.”
Meanwhile, global elites have gathered this week in Davos, Switzerland, where World Health Organization (WHO) Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus led a panel on “Preparing for Disease X.” But, instead of suggesting foolish scientists abandon their useless and risky research, WHO is pushing for a global pandemic treaty that would vastly expand their power at the expense of national sovereignty, free speech, and the right to life.
“It’s almost as if the WHO’s working in concert with the CCP,” suggested Perkins. “They’ve got a hand grenade with their finger on the pin saying, ‘Approve this treaty,’ because this [potential deadly virus] is out there.”
Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.
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