A newly-unearthed video from 2016 shows EcoHealth alliance head Peter Daszak discussing work in which his “colleagues in China” studied coronaviruses that “really do look like killers.”
“We sequenced the spike protein, the protein that attaches to cells, then we – well I didn’t do this work, my colleagues in China did the work – you create pseudo-particles, you insert the spike proteins from those viruses, see if they bind to human cells,” Daszak said in the video first unearthed by The National Pulse.
Daszak was speaking as part of a panel at the New York Academy of Medicine on emerging infectious diseases and the next pandemic.
Daszak was responding to a question from an audience member about parsing down from 300 million known mammalian viruses to study only the pathogenic ones.
“Some of the viruses will be killers, some of them won’t. How do we work that out from a viral sequence?” Daszak explained. “When you get a sequence of a virus, and it looks like a relative of a known nasty pathogen, just like we did with SARS – we found other coronaviruses in bats, a whole host of them – some of them looked very similar to SARS.”
“Each step of this, you move closer and closer to this virus could really become pathogenic in people. So you narrow down the field, you reduce the cost, and you end up with a small number of viruses that really do look like killers.”
Daszak appeared to be describing a type of gain-of-function research, which takes pathogens and genetically modifies them to make them more dangerous in order to learn more to combat future pandemics. Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance took millions of dollars in grants from the National Institutes of Health over the span of several years and funneled it to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was engaged in gain-of-function research on bat-based coronaviruses. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: Did Your Tax Dollars Pay For COVID-19?)
White House senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has insisted that the NIH was not funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, but some scientists have disputed that claim.
Daszak has previously discussed his work modifying bat-based coronaviruses alongside University of North Carolina researcher Dr. Ralph Baric.
Daszak has repeatedly taken steps to diminish the credibility of the lab-leak theory, and he was the only American member of the World Health Organization’s compromised investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.