A former Washington Post writer looks at the current Post’s reporting
The following is Bruce Brown‘s commentary response from the Coronavirus Vaccine & Herd Immunity Digest to an article by John Hudson and Nate Jones, “State Department releases cable that launched claims that coronavirus escaped from Chinese lab,” that appeared in the July 17, 2020 Washington Post.
Brown writes: Does the Washington Post think Nobel Laureate Luc Antoine Montagnier is not a member of the “scientific community”?! And is the Post unaware that the WIV has acknowledged performing “gain-of-function” genetic engineering on the coronavirus specimens it had collected?!
THERE ARE a couple significant omissions in this story (“State Department releases cable that launched claims that coronavirus escaped from Chinese lab,” that appeared in the July 17, 2020 Washington Post) which seriously slant it.
The Post article sounds authoritative when it broadly dismisses Trumpster theories that the coronavirus might have originally escaped from a Wuhan bio-warfare lab, by stating:
“…skepticism of the accident theory has increased in the scientific community because the genetic sequences of isolates from the bat coronaviruses known to be under research at the lab do not match those of covid-19.”
But just how closely has the Post been following the “scientific community”? Is it possible that the Washington Post is unfamiliar with comments by distinguished French virologist Luc Antoine Montagnier? Montagnier, who was awarded a Nobel prize in Physiology in 2008 for his work identifying HIV, has said his research indicates that COVID-19 has been genetically engineered, and is manmade.
This comment from a highly respected scientist in the field not only lends credence to President Trump’s claim, it explains WHY the COVID-19 form of the virus doesn’t perfectly match Wuhan Lab sample RaTG13 — namely that COVID-19 has been genetically engineered from a naturally occurring coronavirus.
Furthermore, as the Times of London has recently reported, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has acknowledged that it was performing “gain-of-function” genetic alterations on viruses to increase their virility, and make them more infectious to human beings. So we know that the Chinese were in fact performing genetic engineering on coronavirus specimens in their possession!
According to the Times of London:
This “gain-of-function” work is described in papers released by the WIV between 2015 and 2017, scientists say. Shi’s team combined snippets of different coronaviruses to see if they could be made more transmissible in what they called “virus infectivity experiments”.
Does the Washington Post think Nobel Laureate Luc Antoine Montagnier is not a member of the “scientific community”?! And is the Post unaware that the WIV has acknowledged performing “gain-of-function” genetic engineering on the coronavirus specimens it had collected?!
Or maybe the Post is just willfully ignorant of these facts because they don’t fit its political agenda?
Needless to say, not everyone agrees with the Post’s slant on this story.
Four days after this Post story ran, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial inspired by the same event — the State Department releasing the cable that President Trump cited supporting his belief that the coronavirus is a weaponized contagion that escaped from a Chinese biological warfare lab in Wuhan.
Jamie Metzl wrote in the Journal:
If the virus jumped to humans through a series of human-animal encounters in the wild or in wet markets, as Beijing has claimed, we would likely have seen evidence of people being infected elsewhere in China before the Wuhan outbreak. We have not.
The alternative explanation, a lab escape, is far more plausible. We know the Wuhan Institute of Virology was using controversial “gain of function” techniques to make viruses more virulent for research purposes. A confidential 2018 State Department cable released this month highlighting the lab’s alarming safety record should heighten our concern.
Suggesting that an outbreak of a deadly bat coronavirus coincidentally occurred near the only level 4 virology institute in all of China—which happened to be studying the closest known relative of that exact virus—strains credulity.