The Smoking Gun in Wuhan: The German-Chinese Lab and the HIV Inserts – Robert Kogon 4/24/24


Theories of a lab origin of SARS-CoV-2 have largely focused on the presence in the genome of the famous furin cleavage site. Less attention has been paid to other anomalies and, in particular, the presence of the so-called HIV inserts first flagged by the Indian research team Pradhan et al. in late January 2020 and quickly dismissed as untenable conspiracy-mongering.

Thus, when an Anglosphere group of scientists around Kristian Andersen came to Anthony Fauci at almost exactly the same time with their concerns that the virus had been engineered, their focus was on the furin cleavage site and they took great pains to distance themselves from Pradhan et al. and the HIV inserts.

But is that because they did not view them as anomalous, or rather because they were worried that the implications of the anomaly were too shocking to be pursued? The content of their FOIA’d emails and Slack messages makes clear that it is the latter. They too saw the anomaly, but they did not want to talk about it, since, as Edward Holmes put it, in both a February 4th 2020 email to Jeremy Farrar and a Slack group message on the same day, “this will make us look like loons.”

(More fully, Holmes wrote to his colleagues, referring to the first sketch of what would become their infamous ‘Proximal Origins’ paper, “Good idea not to mention all the other anomalies as this will make us look like loons.”)

As the Slack messages likewise make abundantly and sometimes embarrassingly clear, questions of expediency and even career considerations were never far from the minds of Andersen and his colleagues.

But someone who was too old to care about such matters was the late French virologist Luc Montagnier: none other than the man who is credited with having discovered HIV or the AIDS virus. Montagnier took the findings of Pradhan et al. very seriously, reproduced them independently with the help of the bio-mathematician Jean-Claude Perez and concluded that SAR-CoV-2 must have been created in a lab. He would indeed be widely treated as a “loon” for his troubles – and this despite the fact that the supposed “loon” had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine barely 10 years earlier for his discovery of HIV.

In an April 16th, 2020 interview with the French health news site Pourquoi Docteur? (Why Doctor?), Montagnier dismissed the idea that SARS-CoV-2 had emerged from a wet market as “a nice story” and insisted that, in light of the HIV inserts, the more likely scenario was that it had been engineered in an effort to create an HIV vaccine using a coronavirus as vector.

(Although the accompanying article is still online, the audio of Luc Montagnier’s interview with Pourquoi Docteur? is no longer available on the website or the podcast platform. Fortunately, a recording of it has been preserved on Facebook here.)

It is well known, after all, that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) had been conducting experiments with bat-borne coronaviruses. This is precisely why Kristian Andersen was convinced that a lab escape of the virus was far more probable than a natural origin. “I think the main thing still in my mind,” he wrote in a Slack message, “is that the lab escape version of this is so friggin’ likely to have happened because they were already doing this type of work and the molecular data is fully consistent with that scenario.”…

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