CHAPEL HILL – Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) had yet another fiery exchange with Dr. Anthony Fauci on Capitol Hill Tuesday, but it was the subject and topic of their exchange that should prove interesting to North Carolinians especially.
Paul, himself a surgeon, questioned Fauci on the bureaucrat’s documented support of ‘Gain of Function’ research, which focuses on manipulating dangerous viruses like SARS to give them more functional ability to infect humans. What could go wrong?
Such research was being performed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, with collaboration from the work of UNC’s very own Dr. Ralph Baric. The Tar Heel scientist reportedly successfully inserted a bat virus spike protein that he got from the Wuhan Institute into the SARS virus.
This controversial research is under increasing scrutiny as more evidence points to the SARS-CoV2 virus, COVID-19, actually escaped from a Wuhan lab conducting gain of function experiments.
“If [Gain of Function research is being done] it is being conducted in North Carolina,” says Fauci.
Ralph Baric, PhD, is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of North Carolina.
According to the university, “he has spent the past three decades as a world leader in the study of coronaviruses and is responsible for UNC-Chapel Hill’s world leadership in coronavirus research. For these past three decades, Dr. Baric has warned that the emerging coronaviruses represent a significant and ongoing global health threat, particularly because they can jump, without warning, from animals into the human population, and they tend to spread rapidly.”
Wow, what a prescient warning.
Except in order to explore the dangers of coronaviruses jumping from animals to humans, Dr. Baric and other scientists have been using gain of function research to GIVE THEM THAT ABILITY, and/or enable them to transmit from human to human.
In 2015, Baric and fellow researchers published a discovery of a SARS-like virus jumping from bats to humans documented for the first time.
“[…] Baric and his team demonstrated that the newly-identified SARS-like virus, labeled SHC014-CoV and found in the Chinese horseshoe bats, can jump between bats and humans by showing that the virus can latch onto and use the same human and bat receptor for entry. The virus also replicates as well as SARS-CoV in primary human lung cells, the preferred target for infection. […]”
Except, it wasn’t a discovery as much as it was an invention. Baric inserted this bat virus spike protein that he got from the Wuhan Institute into the SARS virus, creating a chimeric virus that could infect humans. Specifically, the researchers outlined how they engineered a virus with the surface protein of the SHC014 coronavirus, found in horseshoe bats in China, combined with the backbone of a virus that causes human-like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in mice.
The hybrid virus could infect human airway cells and caused disease in mice, according to their results. Just four years later and we have a global pandemic with its epicenter in Wuhan, China, and the culprit is one SARS-CoV2, which now spreads easily from human to human.
Coincidence? That’s the big question. Many scientists believe it is no coincidence at all, and Senator Rand Paul wants to know why bureaucrats like Dr. Fauci are supporting such research and enabling such risky relationships with untrustworthy actors like China.
North Carolinians may want to know just how much a researcher at our flagship university may have had to do with the most disruptive public health panic in anyone’s living memory.