INTRODUCTION: This is a resource base related to Peter Daszak and the coronavirus Pandemic. It is not exhaustive, however, it should give a good outline to those wishing to have one convenient source. Like my other articles, it’s a work in progress which I expect to update over time.
May 27, 2014. Peter Daszak, President of Ecohealth Alliance, is awarded a NIAID (National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases) research grant to study the risks of humans contracting coronaviruses from bats. The text below is the Abstract of the description of the government-funded project. SOURCE: NIH.gov
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This project will examine the risk of future coronavirus (CoV) emergence from wildlife using in-depth field investigations across the human-wildlife interface in China, molecular characterization of novel CoVs and host receptor binding domain genes, mathematical models of transmission and evolution, and in vitro and in vivo laboratory studies of host range. Zoonotic CoVs are a significant threat to global health, as demonstrated with the emergence of pandemic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in China in 2002, and the recent and ongoing emergence of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Bats appear to be the natural reservoir of these viruses, and hundreds of novel bat-CoVs have been discovered in the last two decades. Bats, and other wildlife species, are hunted, traded, butchered and consumed across Asia, creating a large scale human-wildlife interface, and high risk of future emergence of novel CoVs. This project aims to understand what factors increase the risk of the next CoV emerging in people by studying CoV diversity in a critical zoonotic reservoir (bats), at sites of high risk for emergence (wildlife markets) in an emerging disease hotspot (China). The three specific aims of this project are to: 1. Assess CoV spillover potential at high risk human-wildlife interfaces in China. This will include quantifying he nature and frequency of contact people have with bats and other wildlife; serological and molecular screening of people working in wet markets and highly exposed to wildlife; screening wild-caught and market sampled bats from 30+ species for CoVs using molecular assays; and genomic characterization and isolation of novel CoVs. 2. Develop predictive models of bat CoV emergence risk and host range. A combined modeling approach will include phylogenetic analyses of host receptors and novel CoV genes (including functional receptor binding domains); a fused ecological and evolutionary model to predict host-range and viral sharing; and mathematical matrix models to examine evolutionary and transmission dynamics. 3. Test predictions of CoV inter-species transmission. Predictive models of host range (i.e. emergence potential) will be tested experimentally using reverse genetics, pseudovirus and receptor binding assays, and virus infection experiments across a range of cell cultures from different species and humanized mice.
February 23, 2016. Peter Daszak speaks at a forum on “emerging infectious diseases and the next pandemic” at the New York Academy of Medicine. A summary of remarks made by Danszak were reported in The National Pulse:
While describing how his organization sequences deadly viruses, Daszak describes the process of “insert[ing] spike proteins” into viruses to see if they can “bind to human cells” as being carried out by his “colleagues in China”: “Then when you get a sequence of a virus, and it looks like a relative of a known nasty pathogen, just like we did with SARS. We found other coronaviruses in bats, a whole host of them, some of them looked very similar to SARS. So we sequenced the spike protein: the protein that attaches to cells. Then we… Well I didn’t do this work, but my colleagues in China did the work. You create pseudo particles, you insert the spike proteins from those viruses, see if they bind to human cells. At each step of this you move closer and closer to this virus could really become pathogenic in people. “You end up with a small number of viruses that really do look like killers,” he adds.
Here is a C-SPAN video of the forum. Daszak speaks of an aggressive multi-billion dollar plan to categorize his estimated roughly 320,000 unknown viruses. I would add that this is the same type of program the US government and other governments have likely already done in biological warfare research, and that this government research could also be leaked to pharmaceutical companies for their financial benefit, not for the public’s health.
August 8-11, 2016. Peter Daszak attends The Bellagio Initiative on behalf of EcoHealth Alliance. The conference is held at Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Conference Center. The Global Virome Project began here. Ecohealth says it is a founding member of the Global Virome Project. It is an international private research effort to identify all the world’s viruses. Text from the Global Virome Project below.
Between 8 and 11 August 2016, representatives from across the globe – high level policy and decision makers, thought leaders, subject matter experts, researchers, and representatives from international organizations (including those involved with human, animal, and environmental health), academia, donors, foundations, and the private sector – gathered at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Conference Center to develop a vision on the importance and feasibility of the GVP in building a world safe from the threat of emerging viral diseases. Below is the report on this effort. 1. The Global Virome Project (GVP) Bellagio forum attendees (see list below) support the development of a global alliance to carry forward the GVP, an international effort to identify and characterize, within a decade, 99% of all zoonotic viruses with epidemic/pandemic potential in order to better predict, prevent, and respond to future viral pandemic threats and to protect us all from their worst consequences. 2. We, the attendees, recognize that we live in an interconnected world where a single lethal microbe could emerge suddenly and rapidly spread to every household and every community without regard to national borders, or to social and economic standing.
December 9,2019. Peter Daszak gives an interview to Vincent Racaniello. Nicholas Wade commented on Daszak’s interview and provided some transcript below.
“On December 9, 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic became generally known, Daszak gave an interview in which he talked in glowing terms of how researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been reprogramming the spike protein and generating chimeric coronaviruses capable of infecting humanized mice. ““And we have now found, you know, after 6 or 7 years of doing this, over 100 new SARS-related coronaviruses, very close to SARS,” Daszak says around minute 28 of the interview. “Some of them get into human cells in the lab, some of them can cause SARS disease in humanized mice models and are untreatable with therapeutic monoclonals and you can’t vaccinate against them with a vaccine. So, these are a clear and present danger…. “Interviewer: You say these are diverse coronaviruses and you can’t vaccinate against them, and no anti-virals — so what do we do? “Daszak: Well I think…coronaviruses — you can manipulate them in the lab pretty easily. Spike protein drives a lot of what happen with coronavirus, in zoonotic risk. So you can get the sequence, you can build the protein, and we work a lot with Ralph Baric at UNC to do this. Insert into the backbone of another virus and do some work in the lab. So you can get more predictive when you find a sequence. You’ve got this diversity. Now the logical progression for vaccines is, if you are going to develop a vaccine for SARS, people are going to use pandemic SARS, but let’s insert some of these other things and get a better vaccine.” The insertions he referred to perhaps included an element called the furin cleavage site, discussed below, which greatly increases viral infectivity for human cells. In disjointed style, Daszak is referring to the fact that once you have generated a novel coronavirus that can attack human cells, you can take the spike protein and make it the basis for a vaccine. One can only imagine Daszak’s reaction when he heard of the outbreak of the epidemic in Wuhan a few days later. He would have known better than anyone the Wuhan Institute’s goal of making bat coronaviruses infectious to humans, as well as the weaknesses in the institute’s defense against their own researchers becoming infected. SOURCE: Nicholas Wade
February 3-4, 2020. The White House asked government scientists if the coronavirus originated naturally or not. Emails from the team that drafted the response show that they suppressed their own discussions that “this does not preclude an unintentional release from a laboratory.” Below is text from US Right to Know:
The emails of coronavirus expert Professor Ralph Baric — obtained through a public records request by U.S. Right to Know — show conversations between National Academy of Sciences (NAS) representatives, and experts in biosecurity and infectious diseases from U.S. universities and the EcoHealth Alliance. On Feb. 3, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) to “convene meeting of experts… to assess what data, information and samples are needed to address the unknowns, in order to understand the evolutionary origins of 2019-nCoV, and more effectively respond to both the outbreak and any resulting misinformation.” Baric and other infectious disease experts were involved in drafting the response. The emails show the experts’ internal discussions and an early draft dated Feb. 4. The early draft described “initial views of the experts” that “the available genomic data are consistent with natural evolution and that there is currently no evidence that the virus was engineered to spread more quickly among humans.” This draft sentence posed a question, in parentheses: “[ask experts to add specifics re binding sites?]” It also included a footnote in parentheses: “[possibly add brief explanation that this does not preclude an unintentional release from a laboratory studying the evolution of related coronaviruses].” In one email, dated Feb. 4, infectious disease expert Trevor Bedford commented: “I wouldn’t mention binding sites here. If you start weighing evidence there’s a lot to consider for both scenarios.” By “both scenarios,” Bedford appears to refer to lab-origin and natural-origin scenarios.
February 19, 2020. Peter Daszak and scientists with connections to Daszak publish a “statement” in the peer-reviewed general medical journal Lancet where they assert that questions surrounding a laboratory leak of the latest cororanvirus are “misinformation” and “conspiracy theory.” Text is from the Lancet article.
The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins. We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin. Scientists from multiple countries have published and analysed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2),1 and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 as have so many other emerging pathogens.11, 12 This is further supported by a letter from the presidents of the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine13 and by the scientific communities they represent. Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours, and prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against this virus. We support the call from the Director-General of WHO to promote scientific evidence and unity over misinformation and conjecture.14 We want you, the science and health professionals of China, to know that we stand with you in your fight against this virus.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!
April 16, 2020. Peter Daszak gives an interview to Democracy Now. He describes theories about laboratory leaks at Wuhan Institute of Virology as “pure baloney,” and interestingly, brings up the subject of HIV. Daszak: “Look, first, the idea that this virus escaped from a lab is just pure baloney. It’s simply not true. I’ve been working with that lab for 15 years. And the samples collected were collected by me and others in collaboration with our Chinese colleagues. They’re some of the best scientists in the world. There was no viral isolate in the lab. There was no cultured virus that’s anything related to SARS coronavirus 2. So it’s just not possible. And like you say, it’s really a politicization of the origins of a pandemic, and it’s really unfortunate. The stories, as President Trump said he’s been hearing, have been around since day one of the outbreak, and they’re around in every outbreak. Every single outbreak of a novel virus, somebody somewhere says, ‘Well, this has been manufactured in a lab.’ In fact, a few weeks ago, when this started circulating, I googled ”HIV is man-made.” Do it yourself and see. There are people out there who still believe this is a bioengineered virus that spread around the world. It’s just really unfortunate. And I don’t really know why these conspiracy theories get such traction. I think the people just have trouble understanding what’s going on on the planet.”
April 17-24, 2020. On April 17, President Trump said he had given instructions that any US government funding going to the Wuhan Institute of Virology be terminated. The NIH accordingly pulled funding of EcoHealth Alliance on April 24. NPR
November 18, 2020. Sainath Suryanarayanan of US Right to Know publishes a summary of emails showing that Peter Daszak “orchestrated” the “statement” of scientists in The Lancet article of February 19, 2020. SOURCE
“Emails obtained by U.S. Right to Know show that a statement in The Lancet authored by 27 prominent public health scientists condemning “conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin” was organized by employees of EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit group that has received millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer funding to genetically manipulate coronaviruses with scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Emails obtained by U.S. Right to Know show that a statement in The Lancet authored by 27 prominent public health scientists condemning “conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin” was organized by employees of EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit group that has received millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer funding to genetically manipulate coronaviruses with scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
January 14, 2021. Peter Daszak and other scientists arrive in Wuhan, China, to investigate possible origins of the coronavirus from the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan. I can’t find a good article on why Peter Daszak was selected by the WHO. The WHO simply said “The final composition of the international team should be agreed by both China and WHO” and “The international team will provide a wide range of expertise, from China and several other countries, ensuring a breadth of scientific expertise.” The possibility that “experts” like Daszak would have a vested interest in concealing their liabilities in the Pandemic were seemingly not considered by the WHO. Or were they? SOURCE: AP. SOURCE: WHO-convened Global Study of the Origins of SARS-CoV-2
February 4, 2021. Taiwan News publishes an article on Peter Daszak: “WHO inspector has conflict of interest in Wuhan COVID probe.” Taiwan News has the best reporting I’ve found on the Wuhan lab by far. Taiwan News documented news reports from China over time that are now being scrubbed. Click on the link and their tags to find out more.
TO BE CONTINUED