Labs, Lies, and COVID-19

“Everyone had to agree to the narrative,” enforced by Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health officials that the COVID-19 virus came from a “wet market” in Wuhan and not the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). And Fauci “clearly misled Congress,” about funding dangerous gain-of-function research at the WIV.

So says Dr. Robert Redfield, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, in a September 15 interview with Paul Thacker’s Disinformation Chronicle newsletter. “The potential for conspiracy is really on the other side,” Redfield told Thacker.  “The conspiracy is [former NIH boss Francis] Collins, Fauci, and the established scientific community that has acted in an antithetical way to science.” 

And quite possibly antithetical to criminal law. 

After going on record that “the most likely etiology of this pathology in Wuhan was from a laboratory,” Redfield was ostracized and received death threats. “I expected it from politicians,” Redfield said, “I didn’t expect it from science.” In the science department, Redfield can demonstrate considerable expertise.

A former U.S. Army physician, Redfield founded the military’s Department of Retroviral Research. He also co-founded the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology and served as the chief of infectious diseases at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. While in the military, and at UM, Redfield worked with China’s CDC and, as he told Thacker, “viruses get out of labs. That’s just the nature of the beast.”

Redfield is also on record saying, “These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab.” As the physician, professor, and virologist explained, “Remember, China has a history of infecting the world,” a likely reference to the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. 

As it happens, the Wuhan wet market origin theory was the official position of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In early 2020, it was also the position of the American CDC, advanced by Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). 

In a series of telephone briefings for reporters, Messonnier identified the “Wuhan market” as the source of the deadly “new virus,” for which there was no immunity. “I think we should compliment the Chinese on the early recognition of the respiratory outbreak center in the Wuhan market,” Messonnier told reporters, “and how rapidly they were able to identify it as a novel coronavirus.” 

Messonnier, whose bio shows no advanced degrees in biochemistry or molecular biology, offered no scientific data to back her claims. Messonnier gave way to Fauci, a decision, Redfield told Paul Thacker, that originated with the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  It was not the Trump White House blocking the CDC from “publicly addressing the pandemic. It was HHS.” 

In the early stages, Redfield attempted to get a CDC team into China and investigate whether the pandemic started from a lab accident. At that point, Fauci cut Redfield out of meetings, and the CDC director got death threats. If the FBI ever investigated those threats, nothing has emerged. 

Fauci opposes the lab origin theory and maintains that the virus arose naturally in the wild. That is pure speculation, not science, which depends on observation, testing, and replication. Fauci even claims to represent science, but observers have good reason to wonder. 

Anthony Fauci earned a medical degree in 1966 but if he ever practiced medicine it was only for a short time. In 1968, to avoid duty treating American soldiers, Fauci took a cushy “Yellow Beret” job with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Fauci’s bio showed no advanced degrees in biochemistry or molecular biology, but in 1984, the NIH made him head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Kary Mullis, who earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry at UC Berkeley and won a Nobel Prize for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), believed Fauci did not understand electronic microscopy, did not understand medicine, and therefore, “should not be in a position like he’s in.” But he was, and is. 

Fauci and NIH boss Collins both lied about funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. While being funded by U.S. dollars, the WIV also received a cargo of deadly pathogens from Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory courtesy of Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, a Chinese national who once headed the special pathogens program at the Canadian lab. 

In 2017-18 alone, Qiu made at least five trips to the WIV.  The pathogens Qiu brought there included Ebola Makona (three varieties), Mayinga, Kikwit, Ivory Coast, Bundibugyo, Sudan Boniface, Sudan Gulu, MA-Ebov, GP-Ebov, GP-Sudan, Hendra, Nipah Malaysia, and Nipah Bangladesh.

One of Qiu’s biggest defenders is former NML colleague Gary Kobinger, who now heads the Galveston National Laboratory, a creation of Fauci’s NIAID. The GNL worked with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and previous GNL director James LeDuc helped WIV scientists avoid scrutiny over China’s role in the pandemic. LeDuc signed three agreements to destroy files, materials, and equipment, even after the deals had expired. So, as Marlon Brando said in “On the Waterfront,” there’s “a lot more” to the lab origin story than Redfield’s recent comments.

Nancy Messonnier began her career with the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) tasked to track down infectious diseases before they arrive on American soil. The vaunted “disease detectives” of the EIS failed to prevent COVID-19 from landing stateside, a point Messonnier failed to mention in her briefings for reporters.

Biden’s CDC boss, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, described Messonnier as a “true hero.” But in May 2021, the EIS veteran suddenly resigned from the CDC. Messonnier moved on to the Skoll Foundation, where she serves as executive director for pandemic prevention and health systems. Last year Frances Collins retired from the NIH and Fauci, 81, claims he will leave the government in December. 

Back in January 2017, Fauci said there was “no doubt” that Donald Trump would be confronted with a surprise infectious disease during his presidency. Prophecy is not science but reporters showed little if any curiosity about what Fauci knew and when he knew it. 

NIAID boasts a budget of more than $6 billion and Fauci controls spending on public health and medical research. That concentration of power gives him the power to suppress views he doesn’t like, such as the theory of a lab origin for COVID-19. Fauci’s wife Christine Grady is head of bioethics for the NIH, a clear conflict of interest. 

According to Redfield, Fauci forced CDC officials to accept China’s theory that COVID-19 originated in a wet market, not the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In early 2020, Fauci opposed President Trump’s ban on travel from China and, like Messonnier, Fauci was careful to compliment China. Fauci also “clearly misled Congress” on the funding of gain-of-function research at the WIV, Redfield told Disinformation Chronicle. As embattled Americans now understand, gain-of-function makes viruses more lethal and transmissible. 

Fauci has been in government more than 50 years but has never faced a serious congressional investigation. Neither have Messonnier, Collins, James LeDuc, and the Epidemic Intelligence Service, which failed protect America from COVID-19. 

While those probes await, one thing remains clear. To adapt Milan Kundera, the struggle against white coat supremacy is the struggle of memory against forgetting.

About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

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