By Caroline Downey, National Review
A World Health Organization (WHO) collaborator, who reviewed a coronavirus research grant application unearthed last month, confirmed that the language of the documents suggests American and Chinese scientists planned to collaborate on the creation of a new coronavirus not found in nature.
The grant proposal, obtained by the analysis group DRASTIC last month, was submitted to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 2018 by the EcoHealth Alliance, an American research non-profit that planned to collaborate with Chinese scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology to create a new virus using the funding.
“We will compile sequence/RNAseq data from a panel of closely related strains and compare full length genomes, scanning for unique SNPs representing sequencing errors,” the application states. “Consensus candidate genomes will be synthesised commercially using established techniques and genome-length RNA and electroporation to recover recombinant viruses.”
The WHO source explained the procedure and how the brand new virus could still closely resemble the natural viruses it was derived from.
“They would then synthesise the viral genome from the computer sequence, thus creating a virus genome that did not exist in nature but looks natural as it is the average of natural viruses,” the individual said. “Then they put that RNA in a cell and recover the virus from it. This creates a virus that has never existed in nature, with a new ‘backbone’ that didn’t exist in nature but is very, very similar as it’s the average of natural backbones.”
While the grant was never approved, it provides further evidence that American and Chinese scientists were exploring gain-of-function research, in which scientists manipulate existing viruses to make them more transmissible and/or dangerous. Other EcoHealth Alliance grant proposals obtained by the Intercept also suggests the group and its Chinese partners were heavily involved in gain-of-function research.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who leads the NIH’s Institute of of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, has repeatedly denied in congressional testimony that any U.S. funding went to gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Read more at National Review.