The Roots of the COVID-19 Pandemic

BESA Center:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: There has been a notable shift in thinking on the genomic origin and direct source of the virus that sparked the COVID-19 pandemic. While the possibility of a natural contagion has not been ruled out, the alternative of an unnatural if primarily accidental contagion has gathered momentum, and with good reason.

The question of the genomic origin and direct source of the virus that set off the COVID-19 pandemic is being addressed in parallel by both science and intelligence agencies, with each using its own tools to compile hypotheses and draw conclusions. The genomic origin of the index virus (the strain that infected Patient Zero) has been determined to be a Chinese bat virus that underwent extensive pre-adaptation to humans, including continual transmissibility, prior to infecting Patient Zero. The open question is how, where, and when such exceptional genomic pre-adaptation took place.

On the surface, it appears that in this instance the probability of human intervention (of whatever kind) is higher than naturally occurring, spontaneous evolutionary adaptation, though it is difficult to comparatively quantify those two probabilities.

Another critical issue concerns significant mismatches and errors that occurred at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and collateral Chinese institutions both in Wuhan and elsewhere in China during the decade preceding the onset of the pandemic, as well as thereafter. A question arising from that inquiry is whether those mismatches and errors were cases of negligence or deliberate obfuscation. The latter unfortunately appears to be predominant.

The list of anomalies is long. It includes:

  • scientific papers with incoherent data/findings
  • unexplained gaps, inconsistencies, and contradictions
  • meaningless and twisted chronologies
  • illegitimate non-transparency
  • elimination and distortion of records and databases
  • obscuring and possible destruction of existing viruses (including the index virus) and genomic material
  • pressure put on disobedient scientists, physicians, and officials
  • disappearance of key persons
  • expedient interchangeability between military/defense and civilian institutions (and other entities).

All this misconduct was allegedly meant to serve one principal purpose: to hamper the tracing of the roots of the index virus. These deliberate obfuscations collectively form a powerful argument in support of the unnatural contagion concept.

n further support of this argument, deliberate and systematic obfuscations about the real epidemic impact of the virus during the first months of the outbreak were recently unveiled in detail across 117 pages of leaked documents from the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Wuhan is the capital of Hubei Province). These documents are largely marked classified and for internal use only.

No reference is made in the documents to the roots of the virus. Curiously, however, they do mention “facilities at a bacterial and toxic species preservation center.” “Bacterial” could refer to “microbial” (including viruses) and “toxic” to “virulent.”

This debate is very complicated and contains the potential for explosive revelations on many levels, but intelligence communities around the world have stayed largely silent on the matter. This is both intriguing and unsurprising. Several Western countries, as well as Russia, India, Japan, and Australia, had formed intelligence estimates as early as January 2020 but kept their conclusions quiet.

The very persistence of intelligence agencies’ silence implies that they judge the initial contagion to have been unnatural. Had they concluded that the pandemic resulted from a natural contagion, they would probably have made that conclusion public.

The US administration did indicate, several months ago, that unnatural contagion was likely, but no such statement has been formally released by US intelligence. At the levels of NATO and the “Five Eyes,” thorough intelligence estimates have likely been produced internally but they too have not been made public.

On the scientific level, as long as time passes without identification of a non-laboratory animal—with roughly the entirety of its viral genome—as the primary host of SARS-CoV-2, the argument that the initial contagion was unnatural gains indirect credibility. (It is fairly clear that the mink, while an important non-laboratory animal host, was not the direct source of the index virus.)

Independently, many scientists from various countries around the world, including Russia, maintain that the initial contagion was unnatural.

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