Gain of Function (GoF) is a laboratory process applied to viruses to increase their ability to transmit. One method is Genetic Engineering when the scientists build a new virus from RNA and proteins. The second is to change the environment around existing viruses, multiple times, to encourage mutations. This technique is called Serial Passage. It effectively speeds up nature. Genetic Engineering leaves a signature that is clearly ‘man-made’ but Serial Passage does not.
GoF is meant to enable studies into how pandemics develop. However, the usefulness of the studies is dubious. They do not help in the development of vaccines, for example, and haven’t helped improve pandemic defences. There are dangers, too. The, often lethal, viruses need to be very carefully contained in laboratories, maintained to an extremely high standard. Even so, accidents do happen.
In 2011, research into H5N1 Avian Flu Virus provoked some alarm. Add to that increased reports of leakage at secure laboratories and the US banned GoF research into MERS, SARS and Avian Flu between 2014 and 2017. However, Gain of Function studies into how bat coronaviruses could mutate to infect humans continued to be funded by the American authorities. One laboratory to receive grants, the last as recently as 2019, is The Wuhan Institute of Virology (HIV), where there is easy access to a wide variety of bats.
Is it possible, then, that there was a coronavirus developed in China with increased human-to-human transmission and increased mortality? Could it have been accidentally introduced into the local community and, then, the world?
The American scientists who granted the funds to WIV, declare that Covid-19 is not man-made. One of those scientists is Dr Fauci, who has been a supporter of GoF research since AIDS in 1984. As a whole, the scientific community support this view. However, no-one has properly addressed the possibility of Covid-19 arising from Serial Passage experiments, which would not look man-made.
The world is in the midst of a terrible crisis and I’m staring into the barrel of an existential breakdown. Could it be that Medical Science has caused this pandemic? Did the Americans pay the Chinese recklessly? Is the blessed Fauci not to be trusted? Has Donald Trump been right all along?
My brain hurts.
Elvis Costello – Accidents Will Happen