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2015 ‘Lab-Made Coronavirus’ Using Horseshoe Bats Sounds Eerily Familiar

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2015 ‘Lab-Made Coronavirus’ Using Horseshoe Bats Sounds Eerily Familiar

In 2015, a study published in TheScientist told the story of a research team creating a virus. The creation of this chimeric SARS-type virus sounds an awful lot like today’s coronavirus (COVID-19). And that’s leading many to believe a conspiracy may well be at play.

You decide.

The article, titled, Lab-Made Coronavirus Triggers Debate, was published on November 16, 2015. It detailed the research project of Ralph Baric, infectious-disease researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The concept of the research involved “engineering a virus with surface protein SHC014 Coronavirus.

The SHC014 protein is found in horseshoe bats. Horseshoe bats are the same bats believed to be the original culprits of today’s coronavirus mayhem. In mice, the SHC014 coronavirus causes human-like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), according to the research which is published in Nature Magazine.

The results, according to the-scientist.com, demonstrate that SHC014 surface protein has an ability to bind to human cells. To translate, this displays coronavirus’s ability to jump from animal to human. If a China lab had a mishap with a horseshoe bat biting lab workers during coronavirus testing and that originated the pandemic of today, it’s now obvious that there was great risk in dealing with horseshoe bats in the first place. Although, some might contest the notion of “accident,” but that’s up to the reader.

“If the [new] virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory,” Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, told Nature.

These types of risky research projects are known as “gain-of-function, and back in 2013, the United States ended all federal funding for such projects.

“NIH [National Institutes of Health] has funded such studies because they help define the fundamental nature of human-pathogen interactions, enable the assessment of the pandemic potential of emerging infectious agents, and inform public health and preparedness efforts,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement at the time. “These studies, however, also entail biosafety and biosecurity risks, which need to be understood better.”

To be clear, Baric’s SHC014 research predates the US ban, allowing it to continue into a peer-review process. Baric, in fact, says the work is important and never classified under the “gain-of-function” classification.

The only impact of this work is the creation, in a lab, of a new, non-natural risk,” Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist and biodefence expert at Rutgers University, told Nature.

“[The results] move this virus from a candidate emerging pathogen to a clear and present danger,” Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance, told Nature, “which samples viruses from animals and people in emerging-diseases hotspots across the globe.”

The fact is, we can’t possibly verify that one strain is like another strain. The common person is reliant on the news they digest. But for many, the 2015 research project feels too narrowly similar to today’s coronavirus pandemic. In either case, we continue to ponder whether or not the release of coronavirus was accidental or intentional biowarfare.

What is obvious is that the United States and other global governments understood the inherent risk of such research.

Author: Jim Satney

PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.

Please visit the CDC website for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information.

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