by Debra Heine
Fox News host Steve Hilton on Sunday shared the latest shocking findings from his months-long investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, alleging that the virus links back to U.S. commissioned research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that was overseen by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The host of the “The Next Revolution” told his viewers that there is reason to believe that SARS Covid-2—which is now widely believed to have leaked from the Wuhan Lab—is the “product of genetic experiments commissioned and funded by our own government.”
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has been an influential advocate of a very controversial type of research called “Gain of Function” virus research.
The research “aims to take a virus and then manipulate its genetic code to make it stronger and more contagious. The virus would gain new functions, hence the name,” Hilton explained. “The thinking goes, if we could engineer the most deadly viruses ourselves in lab conditions, we could better prepare for our pandemic response.”
Hilton pointed out that the research has been highly controversial throughout the scientific community since it began about ten years ago because it carries the very real risk that the genetically engineered virus could “get loose.”
“So in July of 2014, a group of scientists from around the world came together to voice their concerns,” Hilton said.
The concerned scientists formed the Cambridge Working Group, which sought “to coordinate efforts to enhance public understanding of the biosafety risks of such research, appropriate scrutiny and evaluation of its purported scientific and public health benefits, and appropriate regulation of such experiments that emphasize the use of safer approaches to met the same public health and scientific goals.”
Over 450 concerned scientists signed a Cambridge Working Group “Consensus Statement on the Creation of Potential Pandemic Pathogens,” which included the following warning:
Laboratory creation of highly transmissible, novel strains of dangerous viruses, especially but not limited to influenza, poses substantially increased risks. An accidental infection in such a setting could trigger outbreaks that would be difficult or impossible to control. Historically, new strains of influenza, once they establish transmission in the human population, have infected a quarter or more of the world’s population within two years.
For any experiment, the expected net benefits should outweigh the risks. Experiments involving the creation of potential pandemic pathogens should be curtailed until there has been a quantitative, objective and credible assessment of the risks, potential benefits, and opportunities for risk mitigation, as well as comparison against safer experimental approaches. A modern version of the Asilomar process, which engaged scientists in proposing rules to manage research on recombinant DNA, could be a starting point to identify the best approaches to achieve the global public health goals of defeating pandemic disease and assuring the highest level of safety. Whenever possible, safer approaches should be pursued in preference to any approach that risks an accidental pandemic.
Following a number of “bio-safety incidents” at federal research facilities, the Obama administration placed a moratorium on Gain of Function research, Hilton noted, but the moratorium was lifted in 2017.
Just before the 2014 ban, however, the Fauci-led NIAID funded the Gain of Function research at the Wuhan Lab, Hilton alleged, adding that NIAID continued to fund it for six more years, three of those during the ban.
The funding, according to Hilton, was laundered through a global health and pandemic prevention nonprofit called EcoHealth Alliance, headed by Dr. Peter Daszak, a British zoologist and expert on disease ecology.
Daszak subcontracted the research to Dr Shi Zhengli, head of the infectious disease unit at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Daszak, it should be noted, was behind an early effort to label any reporting on the possibility that COVID-19 could have accidentally escaped from the Wuhan lab as “conspiracy theories.”
The scientist orchestrated a statement that was published in The Lancet medical journal in February of 2020, condemning “conspiracy theories” that suggest the virus doesn’t have a natural origin.
Nearly a year later, Daszak admitted through a spokesman that he shot down these inquiries to protect Chinese scientists from online criticism.
“The Lancet letter was written during a time in which Chinese scientists were receiving death threats and the letter was intended as a showing of support for them as they were caught between important work trying to stop an outbreak and the crush of online harassment,” Daszak’s spokesman told The Wall Street Journal in January.
Hilton reported that a November 2017 progress report signed by Daszak and Zhengli, among others, and titled, “Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus,” is tied to the grant, and seems to describe Gain of Function research.
“They made new viruses—man-made—in the lab. They infected human cells with them in the lab. And they then showed that their man-made viruses could replicate as a functional virus,” Hilton explained.
Hilton pointed out that SARS Covid-2 is 96 percent identical to the bat coronavirus the researchers were working on in the Wuhan Lab.
The only difference between that virus and the pandemic virus is how contagious it is. The pandemic virus, as we know, can be passed human-to-human. The original virus could not. And that four percent genetic difference between them is in exactly the places where Gain of Function techniques would be used to make the virus more contagious.
So while we can blame the Chinese regime for allowing the virus to leak, and especially for the cover-up afterwards, the terrifying truth may be that our own government commissioned the experiments that led to the creation of the pandemic virus in the first place.
Hilton said he has contacted the NIAID repeatedly to ask about the 2014 grant, and they have always replied that the grant in question was not for Gain of Function research, and thus not subject to the Obama administration ban.
Hilton went on to say that he reached out to members of the Cambridge Research Group for comment, and has received dozens of replies back.
Some told him that they didn’t believe NIAID’s research at the Wuhan lab started out as Gain of Function research, but several scientists counseled him to reach out to D. Richard Ebright of Rutgers University for more insight because “he’s the global expert on all of this.”
The host said Ebright told him that the original grant did not include the Gain of Function research, but “the project’s renewal in 2019 unequivocally did include Gain of Function research of concern … and should have been flagged for review.”
Hilton invited Fauci to appear on his show to debunk anything he may have gotten wrong.
“Next week we’re going to ask you to respond directly to the new information we’ve reported tonight—that in 2019, you funded risky Gain of Function research involving bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Hilton said, stressing that “our own government” had warned that such research had serious bio-safety issues.
“The more we look into this, the more it looks like we’re right—that you commissioned genetic experiments that led to the creation of SARS Covid-2, the pandemic virus, in a lab,” Hilton concluded.
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Debra Heine reports for American Greatness.