A year and a half before the first cases of COVID-19, Chinese and American researchers submitted plans to release penetrating nanoparticles into the skin and aerosols containing “new spike-chimeric proteins” of coronaviruses in caves in Yunnan Province.
They also intended to create genetically modified chimera viruses to make them more infectious to humans, and put forward proposals for a $ 14 million grant from the Agency for Advanced Defense Research Projects (DARPA). .
According to documents, the authenticity of which was confirmed by a former Trump administration official, they sought to introduce so-called human-specific “cleavage sites” into bat coronaviruses to strengthen their ability to enter cells. human.
This evolutionary feature of the virus at the site of separation of the spike protein, responsible for its infectivity, has puzzled scientists who have examined the genetic sequences of the virus.
“Because we found in this proposal a discussion of plans to introduce specific human cleavage sites, an examination of the plausibility of a possible artificial insertion by the scientific community is required,” reads a statement from Drastic. .
The researchers also proposed the idea of mixing dangerous natural strains of coronavirus with more infectious variants but which would not produce severe forms of the disease.
The signatory is British zoologist Peter Daszak of the American NGO EcoHealth Alliance – which researches the links between human and animal diseases and environmental health – which has worked closely with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in research on bat coronaviruses.
This team also included Shi Zhengli, nicknamed “the woman with the bat”, but also American researchers from the University of North Carolina and the United States Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center.
Darpa declined the grant, saying: “It is clear that the project coordinated by Peter Daszak risks endangering local communities” – and warning that the team did not take sufficient account of the dangers associated with genetic improvement of a virus (addition experiments) or release of a vaccine by air.
Angus Dalgleish, a professor of oncology at St Georges University in London who has struggled to publish papers showing that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has been conducting research on “adding functions” for years, believes it is possible that they could carry out their project even without funding.
“Research clearly looks at a gain in function, changes in the cleavage site and the polishing of new viruses to increase the infectivity of human cells in more than one cell line,” he said.
Daszak was also behind a letter published in The Lancet last year that virtually ended the scientific debate over the origins of Covid-19, the Telegraph notes.
Viscount Ridley, co-author of a book on the origins of Covid-19 to be released in November, which has repeatedly called for further investigation into the causes of the pandemic in the House of Lords, said: “We have been working for more than a year. I repeatedly asked Peter Daszak questions but I had no answer.
Peter Daszak and the EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) have proposed injecting deadly chimeric coronaviruses collected by the Wuhan Institute of Virology into humanized and ‘bats” mice and much more. “
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