A few days ago I learned from Paul Craig Roberts' newsletter about Steven Quay's recent book-length study that "concludes that the Covid virus was engineered in a lab." Having done some work on the origin of HIV in the 1990s, as described in my book Looking for the Enemy (Ch. 4, also available online), I was surprised to find after a quick review of the literature that no one has mentioned the previous controversy, either the supposedly discredited theories of Robert Strecker, Jakob Segal and Alan Cantwell or the 1969 congressional testimony of Dr. Donald MacArthur that, interestingly, is also not mentioned in the Wikipedia article about these "discredited" theories:
Within the next 5 to 10 years, it would probably be possible to make a new infective microorganism which could differ in certain important aspects from any known disease-causing organisms. Most important of these is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.
A research program to explore the feasibility of this could be completed in approximately 5 years at a total cost of $10 million.
Here are the conclusions of the literature that I have seen on the coronavirus, in order of date of publication.
Feb. 22, 2020, Steven Mosher in the New York Post:
The evidence points to SARS-CoV-2 research being carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The virus may have been carried out of the lab by an infected worker or crossed over into humans when they unknowingly dined on a lab animal. Whatever the vector, Beijing authorities are now clearly scrambling to correct the serious problems with the way their labs handle deadly pathogens.
March 17, 2020, Kristian Andersen et al. in Nature Medicine:
Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.
March 18, 2020, Jean-Luc Basle in OpEdNews:
The implication of Professor Boyle's statements is that COVID-19 is a biowarfare virus developed in the United States. Former CIA analyst Philip Giraldi concurs ("Who made Coronavirus?"), so do the Chinese ("Beijing believes COVID-19 is a biological weapon"), the Japanese ("China's Coronavirus: a shocking update"), and the Indians (Is coronavirus a US biowarfare weapon?). Of course, these assertions have to be confirmed. Will they ever be?
March 24, 2020, Robert Copple in OpEdNews:
Bio weapons expert Francis Boyle states that the Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, a Bio Safety Level 4 Lab, bought the deadly virus technology from Univ. of North Carolina's Bio Safety Level 3 Lab, which got cells from Ft. Detrick, where the U.S. does its biological warfare testing. While the scientists in Wuhan were experimenting with the virus, it apparently got leaked out accidentally into the neighboring community.
April 3, 2020 Romeo Quijano in AlterMidya:
Whether the virus emerged due to accidental release from ostensibly well-meaning but dangerous researches 7 on highly pathogenic organisms or due to a secret biowarfare act is not clear. From the available information so far, it is more likely that there was probably an accidental release of the virus from a laboratory engaged in "biodefense" (biowarfare) research. It is also not clear where exactly this laboratory might be.
April 10, 2020, Josh Mitteldorf in OpEdNews:
The totality of evidence for the hypothesis is not conclusive.
April 26, 2020, Rudi Giuliani as reported in NewsMax:
"Back in 2014, the Obama administration prohibited the U.S. from giving money to any laboratory, including in the U.S., that was fooling around with these viruses. Prohibited!" Giuliani, President Donald Trump's lawyer, said during an appearance on "The Cats Roundtable" with host John Catsimatidis.
"Despite that, Dr. Fauci gave $3.7 million to the Wuhan laboratory - even after the State Department issued reports about how unsafe that laboratory was, and how suspicious they were in the way they were developing a virus that could be transmitted to humans. We never pulled that money. Something here is going on. I don't want to make any accusations. But there was more knowledge about what was going on in China with our scientific people than they disclosed to us when this first came out ... If this laboratory turns out to be the place where the virus came from then ... we paid for the damn virus that's killing us."
May 4, 2020, Josh Mitteldorf in OpEdNews:
...there is one message that we can be sure of. Our own NIAID has been funding research to turn harmless viruses into harmful ones, and turn harmful viruses lethal. This is called "gain of function" lab modification, and it has been illegal by international law since 1972, and by an act of Congress since 1989. Nevertheless, the "research" into bioweapons has been pursued by civilian agencies as well as our Defense Department.
In 2010, Obama put a stop to this illegal research, and Fauci cleverly moved the research to China, with a $3.7 million grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. There is a credible narrative that this is the place from which COVID escaped, or even that it was deliberately released.
May 12, 2020, Roger Copple in OpEdNews:
In conclusion, it is hard to know whom to believe about highly technical medical matters in which many highly educated specialists have conflicting opinions.
July 17, 2020, Polly Hayes in Science Alert:
One of the conspiracy theories that has plagued attempts to keep people informed during the pandemic is the idea that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory. But the vast majority of scientists who have studied the virus agree that it evolved naturally and crossed into humans from an animal species, most likely a bat.
Sept. 14, 2020, Li Meng-Yang et al. in Zenodo:
The genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 has likely undergone genetic engineering, through which the virus has gained the ability to target humans with enhanced virulence and infectivity.
If it was a laboratory product, the most critical element in its creation, the backbone/template virus(ZC45/ZXC21), is owned by military research laboratories.
Sept. 18, 2020, Alex Ward in Vox, on the Zenodo article linked above:
A controversial new study getting attention in US conservative media claims the coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab - but the group behind the report is intimately linked to a prominent Trump ally and known China hawk: Steve Bannon.
And all I spoke to said the study is deeply flawed.
Jan. 2, 2021, Matthew Pottinger as reported in the New York Post:
US national security adviser Matthew Pottinger is doubling down on the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a Chinese government-run lab in Wuhan.
"There is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus," Pottinger reportedly said, according to the Daily Mail.
Jan. 29, 2021, Steven Quay on his website:
The outcome of this report is the conclusion that the probability of a laboratory origin for CoV-2 is 99.8% with a corresponding probability of a zoonotic origin of 0.2%.
I know no more about microbiology now than I did in 1989-1993 (i.e., virtually nothing), when I tried to find out which of the following could be determined about Jakob Segal's theory that the AIDS virus was manufactured at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, and accidentally released in 1979. But logically I thought there were three possibilities: 1) Segal was wrong; 2) he was right; 3) it could not be determined either way.
My conclusion was 3), but not on "scientific" grounds. On the contrary, it seemed obvious to me that a scientific answer could be provided by experiment -- provided there was someone willing and able to do the experiments. Can the virus be created in a lab with currently available technology? If so, can it be created using the technology available in 1979?
Exactly the same questions can be asked about COVID-19, although here the time frame is so narrow that the historical question is unimportant. If the virus can be made now, the only remaining questions are whether this was done and who did it. The first question is answerable, I think, from a scientific standpoint, but as in the case of AIDS, such experiments are unlikely to be conducted, for purely political reasons. So the other questions are not likely to be answered, since no government is going to admit they created either HIV or COVID-19.
The danger lies in ignoring this uncertainty and jumping to the conclusion that some pre-designated enemy is responsible. We have seen this happen many times, most recently in the case of the supposed Russian poisoning of the Skripals and Alexei Navalny, for which there is no conclusive (or convincing) evidence despite the knee-jerk Russophobic reactions of Western governments and the mass media.
The same danger exists regarding corona, where speculation can easily revive the old specter of the "yellow peril," appealing to the most reckless and least informed elements in the population who would be happy to find (or invent) a casus belli for war with China (or Russia).
It would be more honest and helpful to make the case that an artificial (lab) origin of the corona (or AIDS) virus is in fact possible, which should be provable (or disprovable) by experiment, and (if so) that there are labs in many countries (including the U.S. and China) that are capable of creating such viruses.
Clarity on this point, even without assigning blame to any one government, would alert the public to the danger posed by biowarfare research. It is bad enough that "negative events in the nuclear, climate change, and disinformation arenas" have moved us to 100 seconds to Doomsday. Adding the dangers of biowarfare research to the shortlist of global existential threats would bring us even closer.
If this could be made clear to everyone, including those protesting (irrationally, in my opinion) against corona-prevention measures and a putative "corona hoax," maybe significant and united popular resistance to all of these global existential threats could arise.