Covid "Much More Easily Explained" By Lab Leak: Harvard PhD & Rutgers Chem Professor
Said one Princeton PhD: “This evidence is not dispositive, but were the lab leak hypothesis incorrect, it would represent a staggering set of coincidences."
Over the weekend, Dr. Richard Ebright of Rutgers University laid out what I can only describe as a damning chronology of circumstantial evidence supporting the case for Covid-19 emerging from a lab in Wuhan, instead of via natural origins.
Dr. Richard Ebright is the Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University and Laboratory Director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology. Ebright received an A.B. summa cum laude in biology from Harvard University in 1981 and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University in 1987.
I had previously interviewed Dr. Richard Ebright back in September 2021, where he said that Dr. Anthony Fauci had lied “knowingly, willfully and brazenly” about gain-of-function research. In my opinion, Ebright has been someone who has concerned himself with the facts from day one when commenting about Covid. He isn’t an anti-vaxxer (he called vaccines the “only way to end the pandemic” in 2021) and is hardly a conspiracy theorist.
Upon reviewing the thread laid out by Ebright, Justin B. Kinney, an Associate Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Princeton PhD commented that the thread was “much more compelling" than the evidence recently published by Worobey et al. and Pekar et al. in Science,” referring to a July 2022 study that concluded the virus came from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market (and was riddled, in my opinion, with conflicts of interest and ties to the CDC and WHO).
“This evidence is not dispositive, but were the lab leak hypothesis incorrect, it would represent a staggering set of coincidences,” Kinney wrote on Monday.
Ebright’s chronology, which can be found in its entirety here, lays out the following.
A “Pandemic caused by a bat SARS-like coronavirus emerged in Wuhan - a city 1,000 miles from nearest wild bats with SARS-like coronaviruses, but that contains labs conducting world's largest research program on bat SARS-like coronaviruses.”
He then noted that in 2015 to 2017 “scientists and science-policy specialists expressed concern that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) was conducting and contemplating research that posed an unacceptable risk of lab accident and pandemic.”
“In 2017-2018, [The Wuhan Institute of Virology] constructed a novel chimeric SARS-like coronavirus that was able to infect and replicate in human airway cells and that had 10,000x enhanced viral growth and 4x enhanced lethality in mice engineered to display human receptors on cells,” he writes, citing two sources (here and here).
Then he points out how an NIH grant proposal focused on novel spike genes with higher binding affinities:
“In 2018, in an NIH grant proposal, [The Wuhan Institute of Virology] and collaborators proposed to construct more novel chimeric SARS-like coronaviruses, targeting chimeras that replace natural spike gene with novel spike genes encoding spikes that have higher binding affinities to human cells.”.
He also noted a DARPA grant proposal from 2018 to construct bat SARS-like coronaviruses:
“Also in 2018, in a DARPA grant proposal, WIV and collaborators proposed to construct novel "consensus" bat SARS-like coronaviruses, and to insert furin cleavage site (FCS) sequences at the spike gene S1-S2 border of bat SARS-like coronaviruses.”
From 2017 to 2019, the Wuhan Institute of Virology was then constructing and characterizing viruses at a biosafety level that was “patently inadequate”, he says:
“In 2017-2019, WIV constructed and characterized novel SARS-like coronaviruses at biosafety level 2, a biosafety level patently inadequate for work with enhanced potential pandemic pathogens and patently inadequate to contain a virus having transmission properties of SARS-CoV-2”
And then, all of a sudden, Covid pops up - with the same characteristics referenced in both grants, Ebright notes:
“In 2019 a novel SARS-like coronavirus having a spike with high binding affinity for human cells, and having an FCS at the spike S1-S2 border - a virus having the properties set forth in the 2018 WIV NIH and DARPA grant proposals - emerges on the doorstep of WIV.”
Common sense dictates that the most reasonable explanation is that the virus came from the lab, though natural origins can’t be ruled out, he says: “SARS-CoV-2 is the only one of more than 100 known SARS-like coronaviruses that contains an FCS. This is a feature that does not rule out a natural origin, but that is more easily explained by a lab origin. Especially since insertion of FCS had been explicitly proposed in 2018.”
“The FCS of SARS-CoV-2 has codon usage unusual for bat SARS-related coronaviruses and has an 8-of-8 amino-acid-sequence identity to the FCS of human ENaCa. These are features that do not rule out a natural origin, but that are more - much more - easily explained by a lab origin,” he says.
“In 2020-present, WIV and its funders/collaborators at EcoHealth Alliance have withheld information, misrepresented facts, and obstructed investigation...even though, if not connected to origin, they most easily could clear their name though cooperation with investigation,” he concludes.