“There is no question that there will be a challenge to the coming administration in the
arena of infectious diseases, both chronic infectious diseases in the sense of already
ongoing disease – and we certainly have a large burden of that – but also there will be a
surprise outbreak.” – Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Pandemic Preparedness in the Next
Administration, January 10, 2017
Prerequisite: Understanding Dual-Use, Gain-of-Function Research
“Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) is life sciences research that, based on current
understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or
technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential
consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment,
materiel, or national security.
The United States Government’s oversight of DURC is aimed at
preserving the benefits of life sciences research while minimizing the risk of misuse of the knowledge,
information, products, or technologies provided by such research.” – National Institutes of Health
“Gain-of-function (GoF) is the euphemism for biological research aimed at increasing the virulence
and lethality of pathogens and viruses. GoF research is government funded; its focus is on enhancing
the pathogens’ ability to infect different species and to increase their deadly impact as airborne
pathogens and viruses. Ostensibly, GoF research is conducted for biodefense purposes. These
experiments, however, are extremely dangerous. Those deadly science-enhanced pathogens can, and do
escape into the community where they infect and kill people. What’s more, this line of research can be
used for biological warfare.” – Alliance For Human Research Protection Many potential pandemic-causing pathogens have been modified through GoF, dual-use research to
give them additional properties that make them more contagious, deadly, drug-resistant, and patentable.
Examples include: SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, and more recently SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
GoF research has been a controversial for at least a decade, most notably due to research conducted on
highly pathogenic H5N1, which was genetically modified to give the disease airborne transmissibility
in mammals by NIH NIAID-funded lab work performed by Ron Fouchier and Yoshihiro Kawaoka.
Force-evolving viruses through direct mutation or reassortment to provide enhanced pathogenicity,
transmissibility and host range is justified as a necessary risk to better understand the potential threat of
those diseases and for the advanced production of therapeutics such as vaccines and antiviral drugs.
Key points to consider regarding dual-use, gain-of-function research:
• Viruses modified through GoF research are engineered to have attributes that are acknowledged
as being highly unlikely to ever occur in nature and only exist because of GoF research.
• GoF research is said to be conducted in preparation against certain potential pandemic
pathogens, which again, are widely acknowledged as being unlikely to occur except by way of
the fact that those pathogens now exist in laboratories due to GoF research.
• That pathogen is then subject to being released on the public through the misconduct of a
research facility or the malicious actions of someone who obtains the resulting research.
• In the US, GoF research is largely tax-payer funded through the NIH, which claims to only fund
projects that are not classified. However, the publication of that GoF research is then made
available for anyone in the public, including agencies who may use the information for
classified projects (such the DoD) or any parties with the means to pursue malicious interests
• Even discounting all potential for malicious use of GoF research, there is significant historical
precedent for accidental lab releases of pandemic pathogens, not least including SARS-CoV-1.
• Testing lab technicians for potential infection is challenging if not impossible because they are
often vaccinated against strains of the pathogens they’re researching, which ensures that their
blood contains antibodies of the root virus structure. Likewise, anyone who has ever been
exposed to any natural or synthetic strain of the coronavirus in the past (including the common
cold) will have antibodies that invalidate results from the go-to “PCR” for SARS-2 COVID-19.
• One of the primary benefits proposed for governmental-funding of GoF research is the
for profit production and stockpiling of novel therapeutics such as vaccines and antiviral drugs.
• There are conflicts of interests throughout the public oversight and advisory for GoF research as
well as the sources of research funding, recipients of that funding, the eventual corporate
production of therapeutics, and the inevitable patent portfolios derived from GoF research.
• Pandemic pathogens are altered to be drug resistant and because those pathogens do not and
very likely would not occur in nature, people lack a natural immunity to those man-made
diseases and consequently require the for-profit therapeutics that have been produced.
• Corporate parties seek to control and patent man-made viruses along with the drugs that are
used to treat them as their property in the interest of maximum profitability, and the way
research and development is structured eliminates most or all governmental liability.
• Vaccines are produced and stockpiled as a therapeutic option against one-time, mutated viral
strains, but because the virus will mutate again (naturally or unnaturally), those vaccines will
become useless against any newly-mutated strain. This generates profit from both the stockpiled
waste as well as future unused vaccines that must be wasted when the virus mutates again.
• In the name of studying things that have not happened and likely will not happen in nature, and
that can only be proven through artificially mutating pathogens, GoF research increases the
likelihood of a pandemic occurring – if only through a laboratory accident – and ultimately
jeopardizes millions or billions of lives (or possibly even the extinction of the human race).
The dual-use aspect of GoF research cannot be emphasized enough as there is no fundamental
difference between what is called basic “legitimate” or “peaceful” research, and biological weapons
research – they are considered the same thing by government agencies and the Biological Weapons Act.
Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 (BWATA)
The Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 (BWATA) drafted by University of Illinois
international law professor Francis Boyle was enacted into law on May 22, 1990 and defines several
terms related to biological warfare: vector, toxin, biological agent and delivery system.
“Biological agent” is defined by the BWATA as: “any micro-organism, virus, infectious substance, or
biological product that may be engineered as a result of biotechnology, or any naturally occurring or
bioengineered component of any such microorganism, virus, infectious substance, or biological
product, capable of causing death, disease, or other biological malfunction in a human, an animal, a
plant, or another living organism; deterioration of food, water, equipment, supplies, or material of any
kind or deleterious alteration of the environment.”
While the previous US interpretation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC – an international
treaty that explicitly bans the use of biological agents) was in line with the BWATA definition, now the
US maintains that Article I of the BWC does not apply to non-lethal biological agents.
In other words, the most deadly of viruses can be trafficked, studied, reconstructed and genetically
altered to be more contagious and deadly if the research is simply labeled as “peaceful” or “defensive,”
making the provisions of the BWATA almost impossible to enforce – especially when the NIH funds a
majority of that “peaceful” or “defensive” research (again, under the term “basic research”).
According to the Federation of American Scientists, current US work on non-lethal agents greatly
exceeds limitations set forth in the BWC.
“The only impact of this work is the creation, in a lab, of a new, non-natural risk.” –
Richard Ebright, molecular biologist and biodefence expert at Rutgers, via Nature
“The fact of the matter is that if the H5N1 research that we’re discussing today that NIH
sponsored had been sponsored by the department that I work for – the Department of
Defense – for exactly the same scientific purposes, it’s likely that the United States would
have been falsely accused of violating its treaty obligations and the State Department would
be busy defending ourselves against charges of US continuing to maintain a illegal
offensive biological weapons program…
People who are intent on doing bad things with
biology are drawing on the same science that all of the people in this room are drawing on.
There isn’t a separate set of science that’s biological warfare.” – Dr. S eth Carus,
speaking on a panel at the International Consultative Workshop on Gain-of-Function
Research on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 Viruses, December 17-18, 2012
SARS-2 COVID-19 Funded and Created With Aid From NIH and Fauci
“There is no question that there will be a challenge to the coming administration in the arena of
infectious diseases, both chronic infectious diseases in the sense of already ongoing disease – and we
certainly have a large burden of that – but also there will be a surprise outbreak.” – Dr. Anthony S.
Fauci, Pandemic Preparedness in the Next Administration, January 10, 2017
Dr. Anthony Fauci and the NIH have been long-standing proponents of gain-of-function research,
perhaps most notably during a year-long moratorium on GoF research back in 2012 – a moratorium
that resulted from GoF researchers modifying the H5N1 virus for aerosol transmissibility in mammals.
Dr. Fauci and industry representatives gathered at an international workshop to discuss the risks and
benefits of GoF research, and to establish guidelines for continuing that research. That moratorium
began in January 2012 and concluded in January 2013 despite initially being called for 60 days.
Controversy over GoF continued in the following years, including a halt of US government funding on
GoF research in October 2014 due to concerns of biosafety and biosecurity risks – concerns that arose
not least due to laboratory accidents that occurred at the Centers for Disease Control in July 2014.
However, prior to that ban on federal funding for GoF studies in the US, the NIAID (National Institute
of Allergy and Infectious Disease – of which Dr. Fauci is the director) along with the NIH granted $3.7
million in federal funding for a five-year project that concluded in 2019 to study bat coronaviruses.
In particular, that initiative financed Shi Zhengli, a virologist from a Wuhan lab, and other researchers
to surveil and catalog bat coronaviruses.
Shi Zhengli was part of Dr. Ralph S. Baric’s team at North
Carolina University which released a paper in 2015 demonstrating potential for emergence of bat
coronaviruses in humans – a study that was published shortly after their project was defunded by the
US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). (More recently, Shi Zhengli co-authored a paper
published in 2019 calling for further study into GoF-related coronavirus research.)
Facing a moratorium in the US, Dr. Fauci outsourced GoF research in 2015 to China’s Wuhan lab and
licensed the lab so it would keep receiving US aid for researchers in China to continue GoF project(s).
Again, this R&D was at least partially funded with grants from the US despite a ban on GoF funding.
In December 2017, the NIH lifted its three-year ban, resuming federal funding for GoF research and
opening the door to begin the second phase of the NIAID project involving GoF coronavirus research.