The national response to the pandemic has meant that we now have record numbers of patients waiting for cancer, gastrointestinal, gynaecological, orthopaedic, neurological and other operations. Waiting list recovery plans are being implemented in collaborations between the NHS and the private sector. The implications of the response to COVID-19 go far beyond just a viral infection. The measures are impacting on all aspects of life (and death). So we have to ask; how did this all start? And, who can we actually believe?
First hearing of the coronavirus
The world was initially informed that SARS-CoV-2 was a natural virus that had jumped from bats or even pangolins to humans. It seemed to most of us that there was a strange coincidence of the proximity of the virus research lab in Wuhan to the first known and reported cases of infection. A major biological research facility, we learned that The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has been conducting research into coronaviruses for years, but we were nonetheless expected to accept the coincidence.
However, not knowing any better, we were also happy to support the seemingly credible scientific theory that due to the local and exotic meat markets, this was a typical zoonose disease and one that had been transmitted from another species of animal.
It was also clear that any suggestions that the virus may have been created and leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan were being immediately stamped on as 'conspiracy theories', by both the medical press including The Lancet and by mainstream media including the BBC. The Lancet published the following statement; "We invite others to join us in supporting the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of Wuhan and across China. Stand with our colleagues on the frontline!".
However, The Lancet struggles as an independent source of medical information as the parent company Elsevier is largely dependent on pharmaceutical company advertising for commercial viability. This is a pretty fundamental conflict of interest. As The Lancet asked of itself back in 2002 - "..how tainted by commercial conflicts has medicine become? Heavily, and damagingly so, is the answer. A more important question arises: do those doctors who support this culture for the best of intentions—eg, to undertake important research that would otherwise remain unfunded—have the courage to oppose practices that bring the whole of medicine into disrepute?". It would appear that that we are starting to get an answer to the second question too.
Unfortunately, the BBC also has it's own issues concerning independence from government.
23rd July 2021 Update - following the highly public (and publicised) spat between Senator Rand Paul and Dr Anthony Fauci, a more recent article on the BBC by "Reality Check", tries to make sense of what Rand Paul describes as Dr Fauci's attempt to obfuscate what happened. The article concludes by saying that the research on viruses, "may not intend to produce "gain-of-function", although that could be the end result of it". The article finishes quoting Rebecca Moritz of Colorado State University who told the BBC: "There is not always consensus [on gain-of-function research] even amongst experts, and institutions interpret and apply policy differently."
So, we are kinda led to believe that the US was funding the Wuhan lab to produce weaponised viruses (with gain-of-function to infect humans), but it all depends on your interpretation of the wording.
Whichever way you look at this, it's not good. If, as it would appear, US money helped create dangerous viruses the next question is; for what purpose? and, why collaborate with China?
Evidence that the virus was created in the lab
Senior scientists and virologists are increasingly convinced that there is no other explanation for the emergence of this virus other than via human intervention and either deliberate, or unintentional release. Some of these scientists are speaking out in places where it is more difficult to have their observations censored.
Scientists including Dr Steven Quay a resident at the Harvard-MGH Hospital, and was on the faculty of Stanford University School of Medicine, and Professor Richard Muller at the University of California, have set out their observations as medical witnesses. Recorded via video courtesy of Forbes Breaking News, the scientists lay out the evidence for why they suspect the virus to be man-made. The genetic manipulation of viruses to create 'designer' aspects is referred to as 'gain-of-function' research.
Evidence of gain-of-function
The key points illustrating that the virus causing COVID-19 has undergone laboratory gain-of-function manipulation includes the following observations:
1. There is a total absence of pre-pandemic infection. This situation is unprecedented.
2. Despite mass testing of animals from the market and in the locality, there is an absence of evidence for any natural host animal. All early cases were demonstrated to be as a result of human to human transmission.
3. The level of genetic purity is what you would expect following gain-of-function research.
4. The spike protein mutation (including the Furin cleavage site dimers, normally associated with other deadly diseases such as Zika and Dengue) can only happen following gene insertion.
5. The virus has evidently been optimised to attack human tissue. This can be achieved via passage and selection through 'humanised' genetically modified mice.
6. All the evidence argues in favour of a laboratory origin.
This is one of the most chilling conversations I have had in my life
Dr Richard Muller
Black-listing the science
Dr Muller explains how when he tried to get other laboratories to get involved in the necessary research to investigate the source, he was shocked by the fearful and negative response of the scientific community. He was told, "If anybody in my laboratory is discovered to be working on a laboratory leak hypothesis, China will label us as 'enemies of China' and the laboratory will be black-listed, and we will no longer be able to collaborate. We collaborate all the time with China. Nobody will take that risk".
During the presentation, Dr Muller then describes how this was one of the "most chilling conversations of his life".
What sources of information can we trust?
Even the BBC now seem to be changing their tune. A recent news item confirms that in May 2021, President Joe Biden ordered an intelligence inquiry into the origins of the virus. Results from the inquiry will be presented later this summer. The BBC also now report that a classified US intelligence report - saying, "Three researchers at the Wuhan laboratory were treated in hospital in November 2019, just before the virus began infecting humans in the city".
So, it does appear that there is increasing evidence to support those (including Donald Trump) conspiracy theorists. As the BBC report, "As the evidence for the lab-leak hypothesis grows, we should be demanding the full investigation of all origin hypotheses that's required."
The problem is that this now also raises the need to discuss all so-called 'conspiracy theories' and adopt a rigorous and truly independent scientific process in order to prevent politics and commercial interests from coopting the science. After all, we have to be able to trust something. If there has been any covert behaviour or misdirection, then any good detective will start by suggesting the need to 'follow the money'.
Associated with the nervous system and the brain.Full medical glossary