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Classified Study: COVID-19 Could Have Originated in Chinese Lab

Classified Study: COVID-19 Could Have Originated in Chinese Lab

“The lab-origin theory is predicated on the fact that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)…has long been at the forefront of China’s research on bat coronaviruses.”

Legal Insurrection readers will remember that I was persuaded early on in the pandemic (i.e., Feb. 16, 2020) that the coronavirus at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic likely came from the Chinese research laboratory in Wuhan. The main question I had was whether the virus was “natural” or the result of gene-modification technology that is the hot, new thing in biological research.

Now we have reports of a classified study of SARS-CoV-2’s origin. conducted a year ago by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s premier biodefense research institution. They determined the virus could have originated in a laboratory in China.

Researchers at Livermore’s “Z Division,” the lab’s intelligence unit, issued the report May 27, 2020, classified “Top Secret.” Its existence is previously undisclosed. The Z Division report assessed that both the lab-origin theory and the zoonotic theory were plausible and warranted further investigation. Sinclair has not reviewed the report but confirmed its contents through interviews with multiple sources who read it or were briefed on its contents.

In an email to Sinclair, a Livermore spokesperson confirmed the existence of the report but declined to provide additional information. “Because the report you are referring to is classified,” wrote Lynda Seaver, director of public affairs, “it would be inappropriate for our lab to discuss this.”

Avril Haines, the new director of national intelligence, testified that the U.S. intelligence community is actively investigating both theories. “We just don’t know exactly where, when, and how the coronavirus was transmitted initially,” Haines told the House intelligence committee on April 15.

“We have two plausible theories that we are working on that components within the intelligence community have essentially coalesced around. One of them is that it was a laboratory accident, and the other is that it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals.”

The originated in a lab theory is somewhat backed up by a State Department fact sheet:

The lab-origin theory is predicated on the fact that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) – located, like the wet markets, in the central Chinese city that was the epicenter of the outbreak – has long been at the forefront of China’s research on bat coronaviruses.

According to a “fact sheet” released by the State Department on January 15, WIV personnel work closely with the Chinese military and have conducted experiments involving RaTG13, the bat coronavirus with the closest sample to SARS-CoV-2 (96.2 percent). The lab has also published findings from “gain-of-function” research, which is aimed at increasing the transmissibility of viruses among humans.

It is not unheard of to work with viruses for scientific reasons, but also make super viruses:

This area of scientific activity, experts told Sinclair, carries a “dual-use”: It supports the development of new vaccines and therapeutics but can also be used in covert biological- and chemical-weapons programs, which China is suspected of maintaining. The State Department fact sheet said China is working “to engineer chimeric viruses.” In its 2021 report, issued this month, the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC) said the “dual-use applications” of China’s scientific research “raise concerns about its compliance with Article I” of the Biological Weapons Convention enacted in 1975, to which China is a signatory. That article prohibits member states from pursuing biological weapons.

The “dual use” of gain-of-function research has in turn divided proponents of the lab-origin theory into two main camps. Both believe SARS-CoV-2 accidentally “leaked” from WIV personnel, but one camp attributes the accident to legitimate medical research, the other to prohibited biological-weapons research.

Interestingly, Nicholas Wade (a science writer with an actual degree in natural sciences and has been previously published in Nature, Science, and the New York Times) took a detailed look at the two theories: Laboratory origin or animal-to-human transmission. The post is an excellent summation of many of the topics I have addressed previously and with many compelling details.

In a nutshell: Wade demonstrated the most logical conclusion one can draw from all the available evidence is that the coronavirus is likely a modified virus, which came from an accidental release in the laboratory. He evaluates many critical points. He includes the possibility the Chinese scientists were not working at the appropriate level of biological safety needed to handle these viruses (bat virus work was conducted at a BSL2 instead of the more protective BSL4 level).

Wade also noted that the coronavirus has a sequence of 2 codons (3 nucleotide sequence that forms a unit of genetic code in a DNA or RNA molecule for a specific amino acid), which has no natural equivalent in bat viruses. In terms of the viral structure, he said when considering the lab escape scenario, the presence of the “double CGG codon” coding for the amino acid arginine would be no surprise. The human-preferred codons are routinely used in labs.

Wade served up a harsh and exceedingly refreshing critique of all the “scientists” and “experts” who denounced the lab origin theory before we all knew the details.

From early on, public and media perceptions were shaped in favor of the natural emergence scenario by strong statements from two scientific groups. These statements were not at first examined as critically as they should have been.

“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,” a group of virologists and others wrote in the Lancet on February 19, 2020, when it was really far too soon for anyone to be sure what had happened. Scientists “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife,” they said, with a stirring rallying call for readers to stand with Chinese colleagues on the frontline of fighting the disease.

Contrary to the letter writers’ assertion, the idea that the virus might have escaped from a lab invoked accident, not conspiracy. It surely needed to be explored, not rejected out of hand. A defining mark of good scientists is that they go to great pains to distinguish between what they know and what they don’t know. By this criterion, the signatories of the Lancet letter were behaving as poor scientists: they were assuring the public of facts they could not know for sure were true.

Finally, to underscore the new study and Wade’s analysis, researchers still have not found the supposed animal source of the coronavirus.

This time, though, the intermediate-host hypothesis has one big problem. More than a year after covid-19 began, no food animal has been identified as a reservoir for the pandemic virus. That’s despite efforts by China to test tens of thousands of animals, including pigs, goats, and geese, according to Liang Wannian, who leads the Chinese side of the research team. No one has found a “direct progenitor” of the virus, he says, and therefore the pandemic “remains an unsolved mystery.”

The new consensus: Anyone who asserts that a lab release of coronavirus isn’t a reasonable possibility is ignoring the real science.


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Could have?

It’s called the Chinese virus for a reason!

I have little doubt about it being created in a Chinese lab. The only question standing is if it was released it on purpose.
I lean towards “YES”.

    venril in reply to Exiliado. | May 5, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    I question the timing, At a time when Trump was eating China and the DNC’s lunch. They needed something to stop Trump with an impending election and a booming economy.

    The both gained from this enormously. And there is a precedent for such coordination. Teddy Kennedy made an offer to Yuri Andropov, to coordinate their efforts to unseat Ronald Reagan. Revealed by journalists when Yeltsin opened up the KGB archives to scrutiny.

No, it couldn’t have. Two seconds on Google scholar reveals why.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to paralegal. | May 5, 2021 at 12:39 am

    I honestly do not believe it was released on purpose. There is an excellent article linked in post you should all read. It discloses why the US government may not be eager to disclose the rather obvious origins of the virus, namely, in order to circumvent a ban of gain of function experiments that make viruses more infections and/or deadly, Fauci funded gain of function bat coronavirus experimentation in Wuhan specifically to see if they could make a bat coronavirus that could infect humans. This is not conspiracy. It’s a documented fact.

DaveGinOly | May 4, 2021 at 7:00 pm

“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,” a group of virologists and others wrote in the Lancet on February 19, 2020, when it was really far too soon for anyone to be sure what had happened. Scientists “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife”

Much has been made of the “natural” v. “lab modified” argument. The argument is specious. The question isn’t whether the virus is natural or lab enhanced, the question is whether a lab was the point from which the pandemic started. This is an entirely different question and its answer doesn’t turn on “natural” or “enhanced.” It turns simply on whether the virus got into the human population from the wild, or if it escaped from a lab (natural or not). A determination that the virus is completely natural would not exclude a lab as the starting point of the pandemic.

    henrybowman in reply to DaveGinOly. | May 4, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    “But, hey, let’s make sure to classify this report, so no one will ever figure it out!”
    Those government scamps! Wait until they learn the moon isn’t made of green cheese!

    venril in reply to DaveGinOly. | May 5, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    Or it was released intentionally to trip up the president. To the benefit of the DNC and of China.

JusticeDelivered | May 4, 2021 at 7:03 pm

It could be an accident, it could also be intentional.

What CCP cannot explain away, are their post release actions, in my view this was an act of war, if not before, then after.

After reading Redfield, who insinuated it was virtually impossible that a zoonotic transfer would be so transmissible so quickly, the lab scenario makes even more sense.

What’s more, he seemed to say that the outbreak happened much earlier and China was able to successfully contain it. But once out, the CCP did nothing to warn others, so they could use containment, but allowed it to pass that stage into mitigation. That is why almost everywhere else suffers so much in comparison.

Then again, it could well be intentional from the start. People that do genocide are not at all past that.

    Could NOT contain. Sorry.

    Here’s the Redfield quote: “I do not believe this somehow came from a bat to a human. And at that moment in time, the virus came to the human, became one of the most infectious viruses that we know in humanity for human to human transmission. Normally, when a pathogen goes from a zoonotic to human, it takes a while for it to figure out how to become more and more efficient.”

      JusticeDelivered in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | May 4, 2021 at 8:20 pm

      Remember all the claims that this was not intentionally created, there were none of the telltale gene splicing markers? Anything with a rapid mutation rate can be developed with old fashioned selective breeding coupled with applying the right stress factors.

    DaveGinOly in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | May 4, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    I tend to not favor the “intentional” scenario. Why would you intentionally release a virus literally at the doorstep of a virology lab? Such a scheme would make a denial or responsibility less credible. An intentional release would have been done somewhere remote from the source of the virus and in a place guaranteed to move it around the world before anyone knew what was happening – like the international airport in Hong Kong.

      There are two releases. One is the release in/from the lab, which was likely negligence, which was discovered and contained in Wuhan, for the most part.

      The second is the release to the non-Chinese that were in Wuhan, that were allowed to travel elsewhere. Wasn’t there some international gathering taking place? Unknown, these people spread. If China was forthright, these people would have been subject to containment. That is where the intentionality exists.

      In addition, the virus probably was weaponized in lab, and that is what the Chinese wanted to hide most, the nature of what they were doing. But once the virus was out, why not also take advantage.

      Does not seem out of the realm of possibility.

Of course it did. How do I know? The chicoms said it didn’t and they always lie about everything.

Truly shocking. We never could have guessed. Except for when we did, like a year ago.

What’s the name of that guy.. you know the guy that is always shaving?

Occam, something or other.. I’ll go with him…

It may be true or not … but it’s a reasonable hypothesis that deserves serious, honest and open investigation and discussion. So far I think it’s been avoided and swept under the rug.

healthguyfsu | May 4, 2021 at 8:12 pm

The biomedical and biotech community in this country has a lot to lose if the US becomes phobic of research using viruses. They are terrified of the chilling effect this could have on their research progress and, more importantly, their research dollars. It’s one of the reason they are very quiet about the most likely of outcomes.

I myself have injected a live virus into a rat brain to alter its gene expression. It was a low grade virus with limited infectious potential for humans (an adeno-associated virus or aav). It is common to work with viruses to manipulate gene expression in model organisms, and all of the latest gene editing technology (e.g. CRISPR) uses them as vectors.

I lived in the Far East for years, and know wet markets in small-town Taiwan, Bangkok, and Guangzhou. The idea that c-19 0riginated in a wet market is nonsense; and probably cover for either an accidental or deliberate leak from a lab. China’s behavior in the wake of the c-19 outbreak and that of its catspaws in WHO–especially official China’s dismay when Trump got some of our companies to make our own respirators and other PPE–convinces me that this was probably a “dr run” for germ warfare.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Kepha H. | May 4, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    You’ll see above my reasons for thinking the virus was not intentionally released. However, I have said before the decision to establish the virology lab in a city with a large wet market was not made by chance. The lab was intentionally established in Wuhan so market could take the blame if a virus escaped from the lab. The wet market’s presence provides plausible deniability in case of an accident. (It could also provide plausible deniability for an intentional release, but an intentional release can be done almost anywhere. Why would the Chinese intentionally release a virus almost literally through the front door of a lab? It wouldn’t make sense to draw attention to a city with such a lab. The wet market provides for contingency after an accident that a purposeful release doesn’t require, because the time and place of a release can be selected.)

      venril in reply to DaveGinOly. | May 5, 2021 at 2:46 pm

      To that , I have to say, who benefits?

      China and the DNC benefited enormously, de-railing the trump train against which they had no effective respo0nse. They were looking at a very likely Trump win in 2020. Further constraining their ambitions. I understand the release location would be unwise, but the Chinese are nothing if not soaking in hubris.

Intended or opportunistic… what they did by intentionally letting the virus travel to the rest of the world is all that counts. I vote for slip-shod security on a bioweapon capable potentiation of the virus. Early on some experts felt that China decided not to suffer from their blunder and to take down the world along with them. Their ruthless clamp down stopped the plague and now they are on easy street as the West implodes with ChiCom-like dictat and inflation.

They locked down Wuhan hard and sealed it off from the rest of China while still permitting international flights to and from Wuhan.

They have a bio (weapons) research lab in Wuhan.

They’re lying, thieving, arrogant, power hungry Communists bent on world domination and they have no more regard for human life than Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot did.

They hated President Trump and wanted to get rid of him as much as our neo-Communist Democrat party did.

Not sure I really need to know much more than that. Other than how much money the Biden family made doing business with them and what kind of leverage they have on Comrade Joe.

Isn’t it curious that those who claim it could never be the result of a lab leak are those who have strong connections to the Chinese government such as Joe Biden and many Democrats and members of the “official” WHO investigation. I have many “gene jockey” colleagues who uniformly state that there is no way this virus could have come out of nature by any natural mechanism, but they cannot speak out about this fearing for their funding.

On a side note I’ll repeat what I have stated so many times before. Scientific research is likely the most difficult intellectual effort ever attempted for the potential for error stemming from unrealized assumptions, misinterpreting data, poor or absent control, etc., can cause all sorts of issues none of which are good. Since the results obtained today in research become the foundation of tomorrow’s work, today’s work must be as perfect and accurate as possible or else tomorrow’s work will be a guaranteed failure. As such, skepticism is demanded. Everyone from the principle investigator on down to the dishwasher must raise questions whenever something seems amiss no matter how trivial. This is the basis for peer review – to ensure no errors were made. When efforts are made to change peer review into pale review, to censor those with criticisms or dissenting ideas, to criminalize dissent by eliminating funding or terminating a researcher, to label dissenters as “deniers”, etc., are all strong indicators that something is amiss and that the powers that be are trying to push their agenda disguised as science. All these efforts to hide the fraudulent science is the height of stupidity because eventually the truth will come out and the lies will be made known. We are already seeing this if global warming,COVID-19, and other areas of research and yet the efforts to politicize science continues. The Left driven Lysenkoisation of science continues.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Cleetus. | May 5, 2021 at 11:03 am

    The problem with gain in function experimentation is that the benefits are speculative while the risks are real. As a matter of research ethics, the equation does not justify the activity.

    Please note, when I say “the benefits are speculative,” I am not saying the success or failure of the research endeavor is a matter of speculation, I am saying precisely that the benefits of a successful course of research and experimentation is speculative. When the risks of such research is both real and substantial, it should be avoided.

      Indeed. the benefits are speculative. And sometimes far more than one might imagine.

      Killer mousepox virus raises bioterror fears
      10 January 2001

      By Rachel Nowak

      A virus that kills every one of its victims, by wiping out part of their immune system, has been accidentally created by an Australian research team. The virus, a modified mousepox, does not affect humans, but it is closely related to smallpox, raising fears that the technology could be used in biowarfare. …”

        Brave Sir Robbin in reply to venril. | May 6, 2021 at 12:30 pm

        I am well aware of this case. I have been a long standing advocate for banning gain in function experiments precisely from this event.

        What was once Nobel award level science only 30 years ago can now be found in a science experiment kit intended to for children ages 12 and below.

        There are many hubristic scientist who think they know best and know how to control dangerous things. They require a careful eye and close scrutiny. These people greatly resent oversight from people other than themselves, but it must be imposed.

In a more sane world this study would be the final graveyard of Fauci’s “credibility” period considering his very firm attacks on anyone questioning his defense of the lab.