Australian journalist Sharri Markson has written a book that seeks to find the source of the corona virus that has afflicted the world for more than two years. The subject has been so politicized from the very start such that any attempt to define its source will trouble many readers. Never has a medical and scientific problem been so afflicted with bias, subterfuge, obfuscation, and naked prevarication.
The infection emerged in Wuhan in the vicinity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The WIV was known for some time prior to the outbreak of COVI-19 to have lax safety standards. So what was blamed for the origin of the disease? The nearby wet market. It’s a place that, as near as can be determined, never sold any of the animals said to have harbored the virus. A virus that putatively jumped from bats or pangolins to humans and whose native habitat was more than 1,000 miles from Wuhan.
The WIV has been studying corona viruses for years. So when a virus like or identical to those studied by the institute infects humans an unbiased observer should have had an initial hypothesis that the virus came from the lab known to harbor closely related viruses. Whether it leaked out accidently or on purpose is unknowable on the basis of the available evidence – see below for more. But that’s not what happened. The “experts” immediately looked away from the lab and embraced the wet market as the source of the new virus, SARS-CoV-2. The media gullible to its core accepted this explanation and spread it throughout the galaxy.
Why did such an outlandish explanation for this disease meet with approval and why was any alternative viewed as disinformation and a conspiracy theory? [An aside, “conspiracy theory” and “an abundance of caution” are sure signs that malarkey is about to be dispensed.] The answer to the question just posed is twofold. First, Donald Trump was (and still is) so hated by the press and medical establishment that anything he said was immediately opposed. He could have declared gravitational acceleration of an object in a vacuum near the surface of the Earth as 32.17405 ft/s2 and the NY Times would have quoted a gaggle of physicists who said he was off by at least one order of magnitude. Second, was that the experts, who were either most often interviewed or in charge of the government’s response to the pandemic, were tainted by conflicts of interest which they hid or denied.
Gain of Function GOF research (altering a virus to make it more lethal or contagious) was banned by the US government in 2014 during the administration of Barrack Obama. It was allowed again by the US in 2018 during Trump’s administration, though he likely knew nothing about the resurgence of this research at the time. The ban was waived by the NIAID’s director Anthony Fauci. The NIH was a long time supporter of research at the WIV as was the USAID, the NSF, and the UT Galveston. The NIH money was funneled to Wuhan via the EccoHealth Alliance headed by Peter Daszak.
Fauci adamantly denies funding GOF at the WIV, but this denial is disingenuous. When you fund a lab for any study you indirectly fund everything else going on in the lab. More money received by a lab allows it to pursue all sorts of studies that may be unrelated to the reason for the grant. Anyone who ever received support from the NIH knows this fact. Fauci obviously does as well. If he was sending money to WIV and if they were doing GOF research, then he was supporting it. One can easily understand why he didn’t want any scenario to surface which placed the origin of the pandemic at a lab which he was supporting. Fauci was not a disinterested commentator on the virus’s possible relationship to the Wuhan lab.
Daszak was equally a potentially compromised source of information about the virus. Both he and Fauci did not want to be seen as somehow complicit in the genesis of the disease. Daszak even engineered a letter that was published in the Lancet in February 2020 that condemned the lab-leak theory. He did not reveal to the journal’s editors that he had a conflict of interest. Other medical journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature also did everything they could to downplay the lab-leak theory. Much of the medical press has been contaminated by bias for some time. They should have led the search for the source of the novel virus rather that being in the camouflage business. As recently as a few weeks ago outgoing NIH Director Francis Collins called the lab-leak hypothesis a distraction.
Markson details in great depth the work of the ‘bat woman” at WIV – Dr Shi Zhengli. This investigator has spent her entire career investigating bat viruses and others similar to SARS-CoV-2 . She had the expertise required to manipulate the viruses that were kept at her lab. What she actually did is impossible to know as the Chinese government erased all the data about the lab’s work from its web site. The government also stifled any discussion of a lab-leak to the point where people disappeared. The army took control of the lab and any information as to what happened has been rendered as transparent as anthracite.
Markson has been criticized for not going to China to directly examine what happened onsite. Of course, the Chinese government would never let her in. They allowed a short visit by “experts” sent by the WHO. These “experts” were not given access to the essential data concerning the virus, were onsite for only a few days, and included people with potential conflicts of interest.
Markson has talked to a lot of bio-scientists who are very knowledgeable about corona viruses. Many, but not all, strongly suspect that SARS-CoV-2 is a manipulated virus that somehow escaped from the WIV. Markson’s book provides as much evidence about the current pandemic as can be assembled given the Chinese government’s dictatorial shutdown of information about the origins of the disease. A shutdown that makes Goebbels look amateurish. She freely admits that no one outside of China can know for sure what happened in Wuhan. But she believes that the available evidence strongly favors the lab-leak hypothesis. The data she has collected in this volume should make any impartial observer reach the same conclusion. If you want the best available evidence about the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, What Really Happened in Wuhan is the right place to find it. The book has much more information than I’ve mentioned in this review. Its well written save for an occasional breathless passage. Also, she describes TB as a viral disease near the start of the book. Not a good beginning for a tome about medicine. Quibbles aside, Markson’s effort is on target and highly recommended.
If your looking for a villain the Chinese government tops the list. if you seek a dupe the governments of the West will do. Both their analysis and plans of action have been spectacularly bad.