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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/3/20

What Goes Around Comes Around: Old Tao Saying

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by John Kendall Hawkins

Wouldn't it be meet and just, if the hoaxer-in-chief, Donald J. Trump, lifting a five-year moratorium on Gain-of-Function research was suddenly smitten with a serious dose of science-driven irony -- and disease? I got your hoax, says Corona, I got your hoax right here.

In 2014, the US, under the Obama Administration, put a moratorium on Gain-of-Function lab research because they feared it could lead to the kind of pandemic we now face. In February 2017, less than a year before reports surfaced that there were "problems" developing in the Wuhan lab that is widely regarded as the source of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trump Administration ended the moratorium, and began again.

Back in 2019, opponents of such research expressed serious concern about such risks to public health that such Gain-of-Function research presented. Before the moratorium, two scientists, Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin in Madison and the University of Tokyo, and Ron Fouchier at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, had been conducting dangerous experiments on "enhanced potential pandemic pathogens" involving H1N1, a 2009 viral pandemic we faced before the current coronavirus outbreak.

By enhancing such viruses, through Gain-of-Function research, Fouchier and Kawaoka thought to gain a head start in developing a vaccine for any future pandemic involving these experimental developments. However, the risks with such experiments are extraordinary. In a February 2019 Science magazine piece, writer Jocelyn Kaiser sums up the worry involved in teasing out viral monsters:

...by enabling the bird virus to more easily spread among mammals, the experiments also raised fears that the pathogen could jump to humans. And critics of the work worried that such a souped-up virus could spark a pandemic if it escaped from a lab or was intentionally released by a bioterrorist.

Well, we seemed to have come to the conclusion that no terrorism was involved; that's the good news.

So that leaves clumsiness, of the kind that American scientists felt they could not absolutely avoid in such research, leading to the 2014 moratorium. Where did the Wujan lab get its funding for such research? Recently, the MSM briefly (i.e., for one news cycle) suggested that Anthony Fauci, a Trump aide, had been responsible for the Wuhan lab receiving $7.4 m in funding from unaware US taxpayers to study bat coronaviruses, such as the one that led to Covid-19. The issue is still unresolved. Despite Fauci's denials, there is plausibility to the charges, given that as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, he funded the previous H1N1 research that led to the moratorium on Gain-of-Function research.

We don't know exactly what was happening in the Wuhan lab, but, whatever it was, it was enough to alarm US embassy officials in 2018, who felt obliged to make a few trips to the lab and report back to Washington. WaPo reports:

What the U.S. officials learned during their visits concerned them so much that they dispatched two diplomatic cables categorized as Sensitive But Unclassified back to Washington. The cables warned about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help. The first cable, which I obtained, also warns that the lab's work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.

Such stupidity is enough to drive you bat-sh*t crazy.

Anyway, and as a side note, one recalls what Ed Snowden said last year in his memoir, Permanent Record:

The worst kept secret in modern diplomacy is that the primary function of an embassy nowadays is to serve as a platform for espionage.

This would bolster the We Paid For It access the US government seems to have enjoyed and its need to control the Wuhan lab work. It might account for how an American government entourage was repeatedly allowed access to a private Chinese research facility -- what with the bristling tensions between our great nations and all. Or it might not. But it does suggest that the kinds of lab activity that could lead to viral 'chaos' were happening at Wuhan, and that Trump knew about it a year before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Australia. His poetry, commentary, and reviews have appeared in publications in Oceania, Europe and the USA, such as Cordite, Morning Star, Hanging (more...)
 

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