If you have not read yesterday’s blockbuster Vanity Fair report about the US investigation into the lab-leak theory, and you have some free time today, go and read it.
If you do not have free time, let us try to walk you through the big news.
We should begin with the not-quite-a-smoking-gun.
“U.S. government virologists advising them flagged one study first submitted in April 2020. Eleven of its 23 coauthors worked for the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the Chinese army’s medical research institute. Using the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR, the researchers had engineered mice with humanized lungs, then studied their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. As the NSC officials worked backward from the date of publication to establish a timeline for the study, it became clear that the mice had been engineered sometime in the summer of 2019, before the pandemic even started. The NSC officials were left wondering: Had the Chinese military been running viruses through humanized mouse models, to see which might be infectious to humans?
Believing they had uncovered important evidence in favor of the lab-leak hypothesis, the NSC investigators began reaching out to other agencies. That’s when the hammer came down. “We were dismissed,” said Anthony Ruggiero, the NSC’s senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense. “The response was very negative.”
So, in the summer of 2019 – months before the virus first appeared in Wuhan, the Wuhan Institute of Virology was growing human lungs, in mice, for the purpose of testing out the human infectivity of coronaviruses. That is, as the Americans might say, one heck of a coincidence.
It is not the only one.
The whole piece is riddled with people raising red flags about the conduct of researchers at the Wuhan Institute. For example, back in 2002, the institute created an entirely new, infectious, human coronavirus by injecting bat virus DNA into an existing SARS virus. The experiment was so successful, and so dangerous, that the people who carried it out wrote that it was possibly too dangerous to continue with. The lab continued anyway – with funding from the US and Chinese Governments.
The piece is also full to the brim with tales of how efforts were made – at the highest levels of the US Government – to discourage talk about the Wuhan Lab during the early stages of the pandemic. Not to protect China, of course, but to protect Washington, which appears to have funded most of the research into “gain of function” experiments.
There’s another disturbing part to the piece, too:
Shi’s own comments to a science journal, and grant information available on a Chinese government database, suggest that in the past three years her team has tested two novel but undisclosed bat coronaviruses on humanized mice, to gauge their infectiousness.
One of the strongest arguments against the “lab leak” theory has always been that Wuhan was very open about the kinds of viruses it was studying and creating, and that no virus it had publicly admitted to studying had any close resemblance to Covid 19. But we know, from the Vanity Fair article, that the Chinese Military had a hand in the laboratory too. And that the mice, mentioned above, were used to test two “undisclosed” viruses, to gauge their infectiousness.
None of this, it is worth repeating, is proof that the virus came from the laboratory. But the coincidences are starting to pile very high.
We also know, now, that considerable effort was expended on the part of politicians, scientists, and journalists, to discourage any talk about, or investigation into, the lab leak theory. Some of that is political correctness. Some of it is a desire to protect scientists from taking the blame. An awful lot of it is some people absolutely terrified that the wrong kind of people might have been right, and the right kind of people might have been wrong.
But none of that matters. What matters is the truth – and it is starting to emerge in a hurry.