Harvard2TheBigHouse – D.R.A.S.T.I.C. RESEARCH 2020: ORIGINS

WHOEVER MADE THIS MEME SEND ME THE EARLIEST TWEET YOU HAVE WITH IT AND I GOTS YOUR CREDIT!!

Harvard2TheBigHouse posted an extended chronology of the CCP/Fauci Pandemic: https://www.sutori.com/story/d-r-a-s-t-i-c-research-2020-origins–xCvdWonoJTx4TYVtAC4EhQ1b

D.R.A.S.T.I.C. RESEARCH 2020: ORIGINS

– where the Scientific Establishment meets its r/Superstonk –

How a rag-tag team of internet researchers and sleuths came together on Twitter as a scientific anarchist collective to fight back against mainstream bamboozlement around the origins of COVID-19, and help spread the word about the dangers posed by unchecked gain-of-function research. Read the Washington Post‘s endorsement of our work here.

(Three peer-reviewed papers later, including the first to argue for the plausibility of a laboratory origin, maybe we’ve been on to something?)

1. He wasn’t referring to Mickey…

Red Team (n): “A red team is a group that plays the role of an enemy or competitor, and provides security feedback from that perspective.”Share

"The First Patient." NY Times.

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WHOEVER MADE THIS MEME SEND ME THE EARLIEST TWEET YOU HAVE WITH IT AND I GOTS YOUR CREDIT!!

12/30/2019: Several weeks before any of us really knew what was coming or the murmurs of horror began to leak from Wuhan, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) begin the process of heavily editing a viral pathogen database with past research on bat-borne SARS-like coronaviruses and other virus samples collected during the WIV’s myriad trips to Mojiang and elsewhere. It held a password-protected sequence for the WIV’s unpublished viruses, and included information on seasonal epidemics of viruses able to cross the species barrier.

Noticed later in 2020 by DRASTIC’s mysterious associate internetperson, its description was heavily edited on December 30, 2019 – the day its administrator Shi Zhengli was busy at a conference until being told to drop everything and deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Shi Zhengli said that she found a match to SARS-CoV-2 in her sample database on that day, however it has been taken offline and traces of its existence have been deleted.

The WIV have refused requests to disclose anything further about it. And nearly a year later, Dr. Shi would finally claim that the lab was ready for an inspection – although WHO investigators were not allowed to set foot anywhere near the WIV compound until February 2021.Share

NBC News

January 1st, 2020: The Year of the Wuhan Strain of Coronavirus.

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1/19/2020: Reported by the New England Journal of Medicine as the date the first case of COVID-19 presented in America.Share

1/27/2020: BillyBostickson finds Harvard2TheBigHouse tweeting about the possibilities of a laboratory origin on Twitter, and calls his attention to the now-censored story by RealAdrianBond which presents the possibility that what’s being witnessed is the biggest cover-up the world has ever seen, the story is also archived here.Share

2. Taking the first rule too far.

"Fight Club."

1/29: Only using publicly available information, Zero Hedge posts an article speculating that CCP coronavirus super-wrangler Peng Zhou may have something to do with the burgeoning pandemic that just happens to have started right next to the only BSL-4 lab in all of China.

A few days later this article will get them banned from Twitter, and the first wrench is thrown in an honest and open discussion of the novel coronavirus’s origins. Months later Zero Hedge will be allowed back on, however the damage has already long been done, and the public perception that this is surely a natural virus which by definition would be much less of a big deal than one engineered to have affinity to humans begins to snowball into the worst public health crisis the world has seen in at least a century, and perhaps ever.

One of the only journalists trying to provide critical coverage of the emerging narrative was marginalized, and so stenographers with giant Twitter followings who cosplay as journalists would spend months mindlessly regurgitating whatever they were told by the scientists and researchers most intimately tied to the exact kind of research that could’ve created COVID-19 – the ones with the most to gain keeping this kind of research going, and the most to lose if the moratorium against it is reimposed… Or if their possible role in its creation, and now cover-up, becomes part of the public narrative.  

And in the months that would follow, as politicians and other narcissists who masquerade as sources of wisdom like Joe Rogan make masks a matter of masculinity and politics, and lockdowns meant to save lives are turned into attempted autocracy – incalculable lives are preventably lost due to a handful of people who only surround themselves with sycophants and fluffers, who seize the chance to try and direct the public discourse while having almost no idea at all what they’re actually doing while their unmasked constituents waddle calm as Buddhist cows through Big Box stores.

Zero Hedge is kicked off Twitter for doing publicly-sourced journalism, and anyone at all with a blue checkmark is allowed to wantonly spread dangerous public health misinformation for months and months before even the vaguest attempt to do anything occurs at all.Share

“No matter what sort of organization or administration you’re in, these moral confabulations and this doublethink can always emerge. By any measure NASA engineers are incredibly intelligent, all the same that didn’t protect them from those errors any more than Wall Street’s wanton greed causes their morally questionable behaviors. To them, their behavior simply isn’t morally questionable at all. Group members can convince each other that just about anything is okay, it’s simply a part of our humanity, the same biological wiring that leads to cooperation and altruism.” Share

Patient in Wuhan, AFP via Getty Images

1/31: Haravard2TheBigHouse posts the first draft of their Logistical and Technical Explorations into the Wuhan Strain of Coronavirus on his personal blog after corresponding with his father, Dr. Karl Sirotkin – the PhD in Microbiology and designer of dbSNP with nearly 20 years of molecular wet-work who’d previously taught molecular virology at the University of Tennessee and worked within the Theoretical Biology Division of the Los Alamos National Laboratory – about it via text and email for several weeks as their observations from the start of the pandemic became cohesive points. They examine several main factors:  

  1. The extremely high rate of all occupational accidents in China, ten-times America’s and twenty-times Europe’s.  
  2. Known bioengineering abilities that allow viruses to be constructed from scratch inside labs like the one right next to where the pandemic began.
  3. Serial passage being a form of forced zoonosis that couldn’t be discounted.
  4. The Lancet Letter appearing, and seeming to them like a transparent disinformation campaign coordinated created by scientists who were looking to preserve their gain-of-function research funding by creating the illusion of consensus.
  5. COVID-19’s very early reported ability to bind to human cells some 10 to 20 times more tightly than SARS.
  6. The fact that engineering a virus to make it more transmissible by definition makes it more likely that it’ll leak out of a lab.
  7. A long history of viral lab leaks around the globe
  8. Personnel with the exact academic, technical, and laboratory backgrounds to carry out the precise sort of spike-protein manipulation experience that could explain everything unique about the novel coronavirus’s genome working at the WIV.
  9. The CCP reacting pretty much exactly like the communists did during the Chernobyl disaster.

And determined – without using any points that require any significant scientific background – that COVID-19 is almost certainly an accidental gain-of-function escapee from a lab, likely as part of a vaccine program and possibly part of a Red Team designed to test drugs and therapeutics against. Their article is picked up by the Wayback Machine on February 1st – you can follow its evolution and verify what it got first at that link.

Although not nearly as photogenic as the much less experienced scientists now being endlessly quoted and fawned over regarding the possibility of COVID’s laboratory origin, after joining the team in Los Alamos shortly after its inception, at the time of his retirement Dr. Sirotkin had more years working for GenBank than any other staff member – with his 28 years of service on the world’s premiere DNA sequencing database making him one of the most experienced scientists on the planet when it comes to managing and analyzing genomic sequences.Share

2/1: Zero Hedge is kicked off Twitter, drawing global headlines and making it a centerpiece for reporting about the possible lab origins of the coronavirus.

In the weeks to come, Zero Hedge would feature the Sirotkins’ work multiple times, drawing millions of views to DRASTIC’s early work and providing a template for all the reporting that would come after, almost none of it would credit the work and analysis that had already been done.Share

2/13: Zero Hedge covers the Sirotkins’ original report during its coverage of the incipient pandemic, in an article that draws over 500,000 views.Share

"The Matrix"

2/14: Early in the morning Dan is tipped off about the enigmatic Xiao pre-print, which he quickly reports about on his website and takes to tweeting about on Twitter assuming that the mainstream media would be right behind him, since by then a science editor from a major newspaper had already emailed him about the original report.

And after a little confusion, even though at that point Dan had less than 1,000 followers on Twitter and was maybe worse than a nobody in some ways – Zero Hedge credited him with the find, despite already having a massive following and having no reason to uphold journalistic integrity beyond the action itself.Share

Business Insider.

2/14: Zero Hedge breaks the news of the enigmatic pre-print, crediting Dan’s Twitter account, Harvard2TheBigHouse, with bringing it to light. Apparently the reporters all suddenly mentioning it in their 2021 articles managed to independently find it on their own somehow, as opposed to coming across it the first place it was discussed and failing to attribute where they found it: On a website explicitly banned from Twitter for discussing a laboratory origin for COVID-19, where you think maybe reporters looked to as they started to research their story?  Share

3. “And if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to…”

2/16: After contacting Dan a few days prior on Twitter to ask permission to use their article, Professor of Neurobiology at UPitt, JC Couey begins his JC on a Bike coverage of the incipient pandemic, and the collaborative nature of DRASTIC is born, as independent sleuths have now begun helping each other try and put all the pieces together.

Also the day the American Conservative covers the Sirotkins’ original report.Share

2/18: Our now Head Primate In-Charge BillyBostickson begins his first Twitter thread attempting to hold the viral “authorities” to account for their lubricious malfeasance, followed up by a scathing attack on Chinese bat researchers from Wuhan, who were caught abusing bats without proper PPE. Thanks to Dr. Richard Ebright’s tip regarding Tian Junhua and his exploits at WCDC, Billy begins to investigate the activities of “insect man”.

Impressed by the work of the Sirotkins and inspired by the athletic videos of Professor Cuey, our wayward monkey begins his way down a rabbit-hole of deceit, lies, pangolin scales, grant money, low-rent Scooby Doo villains, and a miserably broken Fourth Estate.

Thrilled to have an anonymous internet monkey endorsing and following their work, and fighting back as well, the acronym D.R.A.S.T.I.C. (Decentralized Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating Covid-19) is born just too late for Valentines Day, from the tormented soul of our beloved experimental lab monkey, after a night on the Twitter tiles.

Strangers from across the globe have by now officially come together to fight back against the wave of disinformation and insanity spewed by once-trusted journalistic and scientific sources – DRASTIC is born!Share

Bloomberg.

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2/24: Our ornery monkey takes down Trevor Bedford, as Billy makes his first thread challenging the status quo – entirely accurately, it should be noted, as Billy’s research had uncovered definitive proof that the loudest virologists were actively misleading the media and public about the nature of the research that’s been occurring. Over the weeks and months to come, perhaps the most preposterous claim was that all sampling was done in the Mojiang Mines and other caves was performed using the proper PPE, which is demonstrably false.

And so begins the long saga of DRASTIC members confronting renowned virologists with cold hard facts which don’t fit their narratives, and then being summarily ignored. Because these virologists know better and are here to help and educate us – they’d never take part in a disinformation campaign that’s resulted in hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths, RIGHT?!Share

2/27: Several more weeks into the pandemic, JC on a Bike issues a Special Report to catch everyone up on all the fast-moving developments as the idea that a laboratory origin could somehow be a conspiracy theory begins to grow, despite the fact that a intermediate host has still yet to be anything close to confirmed.ShareWHO Declares COVID-19 a Pandemic – PubMedThe World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, has declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic (1). At a news briefing , WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that over the past 2 weeks, the number of cases outside China increased 13-fold and th …PUBMED.NCBI.NLM.NIH.GOVShare

3/15: Unassociated with DRASTIC, Nerd Has Power posts their takedown of RaTG13 online, which becomes a central part of DRASTIC’s discussions .Share

3/16: Rossana Segreto notices that RaTG13 in fact has 100% identity with strain 4991 in a comment on a virology blog, setting the stage for exploring the mines where it was found and the mysterious supposedly fungal pneumonia that killer six miners there in 2012.  Share

3/19: The Sirotkins father-and-son team respond to the much ballyhooed but deeply flawed Proximal Origins of SARS-CoV-2 paper with a title that fit Dan’s understanding of the relationship between China and Nature’s publisher based on his time in prison:

China Owns Nature Magazine’s Ass – Debunking “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2” claiming COVID-19 definitely wasn’t from a lab.Share

3/20: Zero Hedge features the Sirotkins’ takedown of the Proximal Origins paper a day after it’s posted.Share

Swing from thread-to-thread as BillyBostickson bashes the monkey’s paws of irresponsible research practices, journalistic half-truths, and wanton gain-of-function research back into the deepest, darkest, dankest corners of the internet where they belong!!

The threads below highlight the collaborative and multidisciplinary nature of DRASTIC’s work, showing our consultation and work with other groups and independent researchers. These threads also allow you to trace the workflow of how tweets become threads that become pre-prints and other reports.

– Compilation of threads and tweets challenging the natural origin hypothesis.

– Listing of threads outlining the CCP’s perfidy and other attempts at dissimulation.

– Over 200 threads covering a wide range of malfeasance and debauchery dating back to January 2020.  Share

5. “We modified our science team to remove ethical restraints.”

"The Expanse"

3/23: After failing to get an initial draft of the academic version of their report past any American scientific magazine, the Sirotkins try and popularize their ideas about gain-of-function research and serial passage by using the popular television show The Expanse to draw parallels to the damage that can occur when scientists, especially those who preen and profiteer between the edge of scientific research and arms dealing, are given free reign to play God.Share

4/12: Zero Hedge reprints the Sirotkins’ article relating to The Expanse.Share

www.RKI.de

4/14: Josh Rogin reports in the Washington Post that two cables from as far back as 2018 expressed concern among American officials and scientists that the WIV’s BSL-4 lab had systemic management issues and that its technicians lacked anything close to the necessary training, and so due to all this it was already at risk of leaking pathogens.

Speculation increases within DRASTIC that irresponsibly maintained autoclaves, animal incinerators that were improperly maintained, or faulty decontamination showers all may have provided avenues for COVID-19’s escape, mutually unexclusively. Really anything meant to prevent a virus from spreading out of a lab may have failed, or all of them, if the proper procedures and maintenance isn’t’ being followed, which China’s astronomical rate of occupational accidents makes the furthest thing from a conspiracy theory.  Share

Bloomberg.

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4/16: A crowd-sourced investigation into the origins of this novel coronavirus begins on GitHub as Project Evidence starts their own exploration, independent to DRASTIC’s work.Share

6. From Russia with Scrutiny.

4/19: Yuri Deigin, contemplating heavily and working independently at this point and not yet hooked up with what would become the DRASTIC Team, releases his own analysis of COVID-19’s origins in Russian, a few days later it would go viral on Medium in translation: Lab-Made? SARS-CoV-2 Genealogy Through the Lens of Gain-of-Function Research, a dispassionate examination much of the unusual molecular and phylogenetic data that was currently in the literature including a granular look at the pangolin question, RaTG13’s sketchy supposed pedigree, as well as the long history of gain-of-function bespoke coronavirus engineering.  

Strangely, Columbia’s Angela Rasmussen, who’s played a central role in the disinformation campaign to convey a lab origin as a conspiracy theory, would later read it and follow the pattern set by just about every scientist in the news discussing a laboratory origin: Make no substantive empirical critique or comment at all, and instead attempt character assassination, in Ms. Rasmussen’s case paralleling Yuri’s report about a virus and the dangerous history of gain-of-function engineering to the Turner Diaries, a racist screed that glorifies an American race-war. Which is all the more disturbing given that this slander is taking place in early January 2021, as America does seem to be teetering perilous near mass internal violence. So the invocation of a book like that becomes especially troublesome, seemingly revealing a deep-seated underlying disdain for the Other within Ms. Rasmussen.

A few weeks later, Yuri would be featured on the DarkHorse podcast, and yet strangely the national press pretty much pretended like none of this happened. Yuri’s work was sparked by two Facebook posts he made back in March, if you’re logged in and know how to use your browser’s translate function you can access them here and here.Share

Quiz

Why do many journalists and scientists believe that Dr. Zhengli Shi, the WIV’s “Batwoman,” did NOT have anything to do with the emergence of SARS-CoV-2?

  • She was a co-author of the seminal 2015 paper on creating chimeric coronaviruses.
  • One of her colleagues who she co-authored papers about coronavirus engineering with, including the one mentioned above, discovered the first coronavirus from a bat to use ACE2.
  • The humanized and transgenic mice known to be at the WIV are consistent with the kind of work that could’ve lead to the novel coronavirus.
  • Had been doing experiments to test how and why coronaviruses jump into humans for years.
  • She promised she checked her records, and called people who didn’t believe her liars

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NHL

4/21: JC on a Bike notes some rather intriguing discrepancies within the technical details of a seminal paper about engineering coronaviruses:

The 2015 Baric Lab paper in Nature Medicine titled “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence” is often at the center of any counterargument against the origin story pushed in the main stream media, the wet market origin of SARS-CoV2. The original manuscript submitted in 2015 had a total of 32 references, of which six are no longer featured, and instead two new references have been added to the current online version of the manuscript.

This trailblazes the way for beginning inquires into questionable technical data that would later be used in papers on pangolins, RaTG13, and other concerning inconsistencies within papers arguing for a natural origin and the databases they rely on.Share

krytykapolityczna.pl

4/22: The Sirotkins initially submit their paper to BioEssays two days late, it would go on to become the first peer reviewed look at a possible laboratory origin for COVID-19. It outlines the history of serially passed viruses escaping from laboratories that goes back to the 1970s as outlined by their previous postings online, and presents a wide framework of possibilities, some or all of which may have played a role in COVID-19’s origins, focusing on serial passage through cell culture, and its nominal cousin, serial passage through whole hosts.

One of their most provocative claims is that the virus’s ability to jump directly into mink farms may be due to past serial passage through ferrets, mirroring the controversial work done circa 2010 which lead to a moratorium against gain-of-function research specifically targeted at flus and coronaviruses. As of early 2021, the verdict is still out as to whether or not mink farms effectively amplify the novel coronavirus’s spread or the threat it poses in any way, however if that does turn out to be the case – no one will be able to say there wasn’t plenty of warning.Share

4/25: Rossana Segreto posts the first draft of her pre-print that would eventually become the peer reviewed piece by her and Yuri Deigin, as Science’s most really, really ridiculously good-looking duo: Is considering a genetic-manipulation origin for SARS-CoV-2 a conspiracy theory that must be censored? Share

7. You won’t even know who they are.

5/4: The Nemesis of the WIV scrubbers joins the team! DRASTIC’s UacJess has done an absolutely brilliant job but gets little credit for all of her meticulous hardwork as our informational bondswoman, bringing an extraordinary amount of database chicanery to light as those involved with shady research have desperately sought to cover up their tracks. All of their viciously scrubbed web-pages and PDFs can be found in the thread above which starts in May and continues to now, for example you can jump to some very interesting September files here.Share

www.Fandom.com

5/11: More suspicious data-scrubbing manages to catch the scrutiny of Yuri Deigin, who notices that the notoriously elusive Shi Zhengli seems to have absconded with 61.5 Mb of data from a crucial viral database – when you try and download the file, it’s emptier than that last V.I.LE. Hard Drive that got wiped right before your belated ACME raid. Yuri calls for the release of what may well be a crucial piece of the viral puzzle by anyone who may have previously downloaded it, and several news outlets pick up on the story, however the WIV has never formally responded.

And in the weeks and months to come, the name of that elided file would become even more important: Database of pathogens of bat and mouse origins.Share

5/18: TheSeeker passes DRASTIC The Analysis of 6 Patients with Severe Pneumonia Caused by Unknown Viruses (2013) in its original Chinese, kicking the door open for a need to investigate the mines where so many apparent precursors and relatives were discovered – which also killed six miners.Share

5/28: TheSeeker finds another gem, this time unearthing a PhD thesis with the exact location of some of the mines in question.Share

6/10: DRASTIC’s go-to technical guru Ersa Flavinkins posts his first of many threads exploring the technical limitations and mistakes made in the ongoing science research and media reporting.Share

Quiz

Where has RaTG13 actually been observed?

  • In nature, infecting lots of bats, and cultured in the lab too.
  • It is only letters on a screen that have not demonstrated the ability to exist at all.

Share

GM Watch.

6/17: Joining the call for transparency and accountability, GM Watch and Dr. Richard Ebright call out Peter Daszak for his repeated dissembling and omissions of the many millions of dollars worth of conflicts of interest he has when it comes to the WIV:

“Commenting on an attempt to compile a fuller picture of the funding EcoHealth Alliance has received from US government agencies, Ebright noted that it totalled $99.8 million ‘for federal contract awards, contract subawards, grant awards, and grant subawards to EcoHealth.’ Most of this money, he said, came from US defense, homeland security and intelligence agencies.In fact, according to their most recently available financial report, over 90% of EcoHealth Alliance’s funding ultimately derives in this way from US taxpayers. Incidentally, Daszak’s salary and other compensation amounted in that same year to just over $400,000.”Share

8. Stalac-tite, or stalac-might these be the caves?

7/9: Husband-and-wife team Monali and Rahul Bahulikar add a second familal duo to DRASTIC and submit: Lethal Pneumonia Cases in Mojiang Miners (2012) and the Mineshaft Could Provide Important Clues to the Origin of SARS-CoV-2where it would be accepted for peer reviewed publication, and begins the quest for journalists all over the world to get access into these mysterious and potentially lethal caves.

Strangely, very few journals acknowledge the existence of this peer reviewed paper as the rush to the caves has intensified in 2021.Share

7/10: Working independently, Annette Gartland reports on both sides of the story and covers much of the work done by DRASTIC up to this point.Share

Britzco.com

8/12BioEssays publishes the Sirotkin’s article, submitted back in April, bringing the idea that COVID-19 was engineered into a lab into the peer reviewed world, and drawing parallels to the ongoing crises in mink farms all over the world with the serial passage work done with ferrets and avian flus which drew so much attention not even 10 years ago due to their inherent danger.

And as COVID-19 does exactly what you’d expect a virus that had been serially passaged through ferrets to do, and begins endemic infections in mink farms across the planet that can spread directly back into humans – the scientists most intimately involved with past serial passage work remain silent about any possible parallel to the work they did passaging avian influenzas through ferrets not even ten years ago.Share

8/18: Scientific American calls the idea that COVID-19 could’ve been engineered in a lab “a conspiracy theory”Share

9. Not just a one-hit wonder

Getty Images.

9/2: Yuri Deigin and Rossana Segreto finally celebrate the publication of their paper: “The genetic structure of SARS‐CoV‐2 does not rule out a laboratory origin,” whose submission had originally started back in April. It presents several new perspectives on the origins of this novel coronavirus, directly ties in existing biotechnological approaches to how they may have been used, and builds on the Sirotkins’ paper while presenting much more granular detail and theory while also very directly going after after some of the larger absurdities in the field:

“Nevertheless, while it is true that O‐linked glycans are much more likely to arise under immune selection, they could be added in the lab through site‐directed mutagenesis[56] or arise in the course of in vivo experiments, for example, in BLT-L mice with human lung implants and autologous human immune system[57] or in mice expressing the hACE2 receptor.[31] To overcome problems of bat CoV isolation, experiments based on direct inoculation of bat CoV in suckling rats have been carried out.[58] Humanized mice, ferrets, primates and/or other animals  with similar ACE2 conformation could have all been used for serial passage experiments, as described in detail by Sirotkin and Sirotkin.[1]”Share

Quiz

How much genetic identity does the closest coronavirus that also hosts an FCS share with SARS-CoV-2?

  • 90%
  • 80%
  • 70%
  • 60%

Share

NY Times.

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9/3: Working independently from DRASTIC, another team independently publishes a peer reviewed letter to the editor questioning COVID-19’s “natural” origins: Questions concerning the proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 which highlights the novel coronavirus’s violation of the “Canyon Hypothesis,” you can read NoWackyScience‘s thread about it just below!!Share

10. Snowballing even Kevin Smith would be proud of.

9/5: With word of DRASTIC’s peer reviewed credentials and uncanny internet detective abilities accumulating like at least 37 runaway snowballs all in-a-row making their way towards the wide-open unwitting reputations of PR hacks and grant-thirsty scientists alike, NoWackyScience posts a Tweetorial covering the concepts covered in Questions concerning the proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 which goes viral, he will later join the DRASTIC team. His Tweetorial covers how elements of COVID-19’s genome appear rather unique when compared with other coronaviruses, and may bear the hallmarks of serial passage.Share

osu.edu

9/6: DRASTIC technical analyst Dr. Flavinkins posts a detailed takedown of the pangolin hypothesis, one of many. Besides all of the technical issues, as solitary creatures that only meet to mate, the idea that pangolins could’ve harbored a pandemic virus never should have gotten the traction it did from the start. Pandemic viruses come from gregarious creatures: chickens, ducks, mice, mink, ferrets, bats – for a dangerous virus to evolve, it needs a constant supply of new hosts to infect and try new mutations out inside of.

And so its bizarre that there was so much insistence that pangolins – which are not bred in captivity and are solitary creatures which handle even mating only slightly more socially than Jerry Falwell Jr. – were ever considered such a viable host since they never congregated in the dense numbers needed for a pandemic virus to be able to transfer between multiple hosts as it evolves and mutates.

All highly pathogenic avian influenzas ever found in humans, for instance, all come from either crowded poultry farms or labs, where they’ve been subject to the same sort of serial passage which likely played a role in COVID-19’s emergence.

Maybe someone should ask one of the many esteemed scientists and PR hacks who have been pushing pangolins as an even vaguely viable intermediate host: How that was supposed to happen when their entire way of life is the complete opposite of every other species ever known to host a pandemic virus? What properties of SARS-CoV-2 allowed it to somehow develop this absolutely remarkable affinity for human receptors inside of a species which is not bred and gathered together in large numbers in commercial settings, and is naturally solitary – only meeting to mate?Share

9/9: In the first significant act of wanton plagiarism and academic narcissism, a writer with Boston Magazine publishes an article that pretends like the Sirotkins’ peer reviewed August paper does not exist at all, nonetheless all of their and Zero Hedge’s earlier writings which date back to January 2020, or any of the rest of DRASTIC’s diligent digging. It’s strange, almost as if the publication of a peer reviewed paper back in August arguing that gain-of-function research could have something to do with COVID’s origins all of a sudden made someone nervous enough to concoct the alternate universe this article takes place in.

The article acts like exploring a laboratory origin is somehow a novel act of bravery, when the Sirotkins’ article has already passed peer review and been published a month before, but despite that – this bizarre attempt at self-promotion and PR is pushed out as somehow an accounting of the truth.

The article continually credits a scientist totally uninvolved with DRASTIC’s work, who refuses to acknowledge the primacy and validity of Dr. Sirotkin’s work – when he is the one who designed the databases used to analyze and compare genomic sequences across populations and decipher the meaning of specific mutations decades ago. Perhaps she thinks the fancy letters after her name means she can pretend that Dr. Sirotkin’s legacy holds no weight or meaning, but that’s a bit hard to imagine when you consider his 28 years of experience with GenBank at the time of his retirement probably beats hers by just a little tiny bit.

For whatever reason, Ms. Chan appears to believe her judgement superior to that of the entire editorial board of BioEssays, which approved the publication she has repeated implied in public is not scientifically sound and should never have been published. But considering that the “dual-use” often put before “gain-of-function” technology refers to the swords side of the classic metaphor, perhaps DARPA providing $32 million reasons to her institution to establish The Foundry, a massive pipeline of DNA research which could easily be appropriated for the weapons side of dual-use, has something to do with Ms. Chan suddenly emerging inside of an article that would still be plagiarizing even if it was presented as entirely fictional?Share

9/14: Once again our elusive pathogen sleuth internetperson comes through with a blockbuster report which outlines how a review of SARS-like virus samples – many with very high similarity to the novel coronavirus – at the WIV may have in fact been the event that sparked the entire pandemic.

Meanwhile, Dr. Li-Meng Yan – placed in an almost impossible geopolitical bind – publishes her first pre-print alleging that COVID-19 is an intentionally released bio-weapon, and the media reacts like seagulls going after the last cracker.Share

“11. Dr. Ralph Baric? Great guy, never heard of him.”

Getty Images.

9/16: The long process of debunking the idea that RnYN02 has anything resembling a furin cleavage site or even inserts at all is begun by Dr. Flavinkins.

Also on this day, the most notorious coronavirologist on the planet, Dr. Ralph Baric, tells the Italian press that of course this virus could have been engineered in a lab, and the only way we’ll get answers is if the WIV opens up its records. This goes entirely unmentioned in the American press, most of whom go on calling the idea COVID-19 could’ve been made in a lab a conspiracy theory.Share

Quiz

Since zoonosis occurs:

  1. Rarely when a completely wild animal population shares its habitat with humans.
  2. Much more commonly and creating the most virulent strains we know outside of the lab, it also occurs on commercial farms with dense populations of animals constantly interacting with their caretaking humans.
  3. When it’s forced during serial passage protocols in laboratories, most notoriously when avian flus were serially passed through ferrets circa 2012, leaving telltale furin cleavage sites (FCS), and creating viruses so potentially dangerous that a moratorium was imposed on this kind of gain-of-function research, since at the time the scientific community wasn’t’ shy about admitting that of course viruses leak out of labs, and that the more transmissible you make a strain, the more likely it becomes that it manages to slip out.

Considering the above, when a coronavirus emerged right next to a compound of laboratories which included China’s only BSL-4 virological laboratory where the exact sort of spike-protein research which could have led to COVID-19’s distinct genome had been ongoing, and once it was identified to be the very first betacoronavirus with the telltale FCS of possible serial passage found on a lineage of coronavirus where one had never been seen before, and then when it then jumped into the closest farmed relative of the ferret which it can interbreed with – the mink – and began Europe’s very first interspecies pandemic: Why didn’t all of the virologists involved with the ferret serial passage research of 2012 immediately sound the alarm?

What is their rationale for remaining quiet, or in many cases actively dissembling against a “lab origin,” which inherently includes serial passage?      

  • Look at that pangolin over there – see how effin’ sexy it is!!
  • WAIT LOOK!! This guy who seems ENTIRELY legit and not at all like he’s selling used cars out the back of his foreclosed chop-shop just created an international distraction with no peer reviewed papers whatsoever! And every single media organization on the planet is covering it while completely ignoring the actual peer reviewed research!!
  • What did you call it? WUHAN Strain?! Omgmybffjill, could you be ANY more RACIST!!
  • If you think origami is impressive, you should see us fit an entire strawman into this one letter to the Lancet.
  • Because if they speak up about it, the moratorium that was lifted in 2017 which explicitly banned this sort of gain-of-function research on coronaviruses might be reinstated, and the literal billions and billions more of funding they’re asking for might not appear, and in fact all their gain-of-function funding may dry up all together, and whoa – at this point I bet a lot people might be kinda angry that they – almost transparently now that you look at it – really tried to actively prevent any sort of discussion of serial passage whatsoever, and paint believing in a laboratory origin as a sign of mental illness: A CONSPIRACY THEORY!!
  • Databases?! No yeah sure, just give us a couple weeks – we’ll get right on that and get back to you, promise!!

Share

9/18: National Geographic calls the idea COVID-19 could’ve been engineered in a lab a conspiracy theory. Maybe someone should show them how Google Translate works.Share

9/26: It’s no occidental accident that Rodolphe de Maistre and Gilles Demaneuf introduce themselves to DRASTIC with their Outlines of a probabilistic evaluation of possible SARS-CoV-2 origins, which argues that even with some pretty loose assumptions it looks to be about a coin-flip as to whether or not COVID-19 escaped for a lab or emerged via natural zoonosis.

Certainly not a conspiracy theory when you apply even the simplest amount of logical analysis to what’s admittedly a very complex problem.  Share

stock.adobe.com

10/3: Speculation within DRASTIC that COVID-19 and RaTG13 may have been related to a live-attenuated vaccine program builds as RossanaDr. Flavinkins, and CZilcho speculate in a Tweetorial that much of COVID-19’s molecular signature – especially its resistance to mutations, relationship with interferon, and specific nucleotide ratios – all seem like they could relate to this sort of experimental vaccine program, which is also consistent with serial passage since it’s a nearly ubiquitous element of them.Share

11/7: Preparations kick into high gear for the WHO’s inspection of the WIV.

Share

12. They’d do anything FOIA.

11/9: The USTRK’s dynamic form-filling and BS-sniffing duo, Gary Ruskin and Sainath Suryanarayanan, publish evidence from email exchanges documenting that key elements involved with the natural origin story of COVID-19, especially the pangolin connection, are in doubt after emails are released which shows a lot of rather sideways explanations around key technical details that are expected to be squared away in the sort of peer reviewed publications being discussed.

In the coming weeks, they would also publish information from FOIAs detailing more information about the intentional coordination of strawman arguments in the Lancet Letter, which it now appears was organized by Peter Daszak as part of a coordinated disinformation campaign – leaving out or glossing over obvious possibilities like serial passage, and pushing for compliance when it was far too early to honestly issue an academic conclusion, which is what the Sirotkins had been arguing since the moment the letter was published.

However in the end only more questions are raised, as the USRTK later notes that although it was being tacked onto a peer reviewed article, the addendum was not subject to peer review, without any explanation or clarification, leaving many of the original questions still dangling, but also revealing the existence of eight previously undisclosed betacoronaviruses which for reasons unstated had never been mentioned before.

The truth begins to shine a light through several glorious holes opened up by the USRTK’s dogged-style of sleuthing, as suspicion grows that there may be some Big Trouble in Viral China.  Share

11/12: In an opus of open-source architectural sleuthing, DRASTIC’s Rodolphe de Maistre orchestrates a massive Tweetorial that traces everything from floor plans and internal plumbing, to satellite pictures and other surveillance.

Offering up the intel in good faith to the world community, so that journalists, researchers, and detectives alike can compare their own findings – the only question left now: How many journalists will shameless rip off another DRASTIC member without proper attribution?

If folks wonder how we got into this mess, look no farther than a Fourth Estate that thinks ripping off researchers and writers and then misinterpreting their findings anyways is what journalism is supposed to look like.  Share

11/15: Not yet part of the group but reporting independently on their and other findings, Moreno Colaiacovo publishes a summary of where we are to date in the pursuit of this novel coronavirus’s true origins.Share

11/16: DRASTIC’s continental footprint widens as Gilles Demaneuf does a deep-dive into the group’s work looking at leaks of SARS from labs from many parts of the planet, and weaving in his own take to tell us all about:

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: a review of SARS Lab Escapes.

Inside you’ll find a review of previous and little known SARS leaks such as the 2003 Taipei SARS leak at a military P4 that was built and equipped by France, and the very serious 2004 Beijing SARS leaks at the then top P3 SARS lab in China, where there was likely an attempted cover-up of the first 2 cases.Share

Bloomberg.

Share

13. Our lucky day.

11/24: Working totally independently from DRASTIC, esteemed professor David Relman writes a letter to the editor exhorting the scientific community to perform a full and open investigation and to keep all options on the table. Also on this day, an independent French team submits their peer reviewed paper arguing for a laboratory origins.Share

The Washington Post.

12/1: Building on DRASTIC’s analysis, Yuri and Rossana post a pre-print that fully dissembles the idea that other extant SARS-like coronaviruses such as RmYN02 have anything resembling inserts, and certainly not anything close to COVID-19’s rather peculiar furin cleavage site (FCS).Share

12/18: Working independently from DRASTIC, Professor Colin David Butler publishes an editorial covering DRASTIC’s work and joining our call for a full and open investigation.Share

14. “Parlez-vous lab origin?”

12:22: An early Christmas present for the DRASTIC Team, French paper-of-record Le Monde publishes a wide-ranging expose on the investigation into COVD-19’s possible laboratory origins.Share

Quiz

Why do scientists think RmYN02 has natural insertions that may have formed a FCS?

  • They’re trying to force a narrative using shady technical practices.
  • Because they used a faulty alignment to try and create the illusion of inserts.

ShareThe Plague YearThe mistakes and the struggles behind America’s coronavirus tragedy.WWW.NEWYORKER.COMShare

12/29: Root Claim posts an elegant Bayesian analysis of COVID-19’s origins, walking you through the multiple probabilistic variables which lead them to conclude with 81% certainly that the novel coronavirus is the result of a gain-of-function lab accident.Share

12/30: NPR implies that the idea that COVID-19 could’ve been created a laboratory is a conspiracy theory, apparently their editorial board is either too lazy to do any research, or believes they have better judgement than the actual scientific editorial boards that have approved all the peer reviewed papers about a laboratory origin.Share

15. Strength in Unity.

1/2: DRASTIC begins its petition to the WHO, with a list of reasonable and open-minded questions that should be answered by any investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

The 50 questions have been taken from a database of over 260 questions, individually credited to DRASTIC team members who created and refined them after being scolded by Billy Bostickson over several months.

These often highly technical questions are all related to anomalies in the origin of SARS-COV-2, and were forwarded to scientists at the WHO and Journalists over the past months.

It is indeed surprising that very few of these questions have been answered to date.

The full set of questions for Scientists and the WHO on the origin of SARS-COV-2 is publicly available here in 3 parts:

Part 1: (Questions 1 – 85)  

Part 2: (Questions 86 – 176)    

Part 3: (Questions 184 – 260)      

A petition and open letter have now been sent to the ten members of the WHO investigation team who will visit Wuhan in January 2021, calling on them to answer 50 of the most important questions prepared by this group:

Support our work by signing and sharing this petition on social media!!

DRASTIC TIMES CALL FOR DRASTIC QUESTIONS!!Share

"The Monument to the Laboratory Mouse." Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia. (Science's Sacrifices.)

1/2: One of the many anonymouse informational benefactor who’ve assisted DRASTIC’s efforts along the way passes along one possible step-by-step research process involving the humanized mice that might have been involved in COVID-19’s genesis as first proposed in the literature by Sirotkin & Sirotkin. Rumors abound, and no one is sure – but some say the suspiciously murine Dr. Anony Mouse may be a member of an even more secretive research group, waiting for just the right time to squeak out.Share

1/4/2021: NY Mag publishes an article featuring much of DRASTIC’s work along with the work of many others. Oddly, although the author spent around two hours on the phone with the Sirotkins after thanking them for writing what he described as their incredibly clear and accessible paper which he knew off the bat was the first peer reviewed one describing a laboratory origin, he yet never once mentions it, nor their names anywhere in his article.

Supposedly NY Mag spent many weeks fact-checking this article, so the fact that they didn’t mention the seminal peer reviewed paper examining a lab origin… must mean they’re starting up their own peer reviewed science magazine? Because otherwise, why would the NY Mag put their own scientific judgment above that of the editorial board of BioEssays?

Unless their employees don’t actually understand the very simplest basics about the scientific process in which case need to stop pretending like they do, or they do understand – and knowingly and openly plagiarized our work and analysis, and afterwards doubled-down on having done their research.Share

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-3&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3R3ZWV0X2VtYmVkX2NsaWNrYWJpbGl0eV8xMjEwMiI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJjb250cm9sIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=true&id=1346259326529372162&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sutori.com%2F&sessionId=58f6155e0f4322f6f8434b0abf0a9278832d24aa&siteScreenName=Sutori&theme=light&widgetsVersion=82e1070%3A1619632193066&width=550px Share

Quiz

Which of these characteristics of species known to host highly pathogenic viruses also applies to pangolins?

  • Bred successfully in captivity.
  • Lives in large social groups
  • Kept caged in groups with other members of its kind
  • Has a pulse.
  • Domesticated by humans.

Share

1/9: Maybe someone can explain to JonathanBucks and the Daily Mail that pretending like you discovered the headline material of an article… is in fact theft.

Their article about the deletion of critical data from the Wuhan Lab was ripped directly from the tweet by DRASTIC’s all-star late acquisition McWLuke as seen above, and at this link, which he sent on January sixth. It’s not the first time a reporter has pretended like they’ve discovered all this on their own.

McWLuke demands satisfaction from the thieves. 

The NY Mag article’s author presents research and analysis published in a peer reviewed journal in August and authored by the Sirotkins, and yet makes no mention of them or their paper – with the NY Mag even tweeting analysis from the Sirotkins’ conclusion as their own.  Share

16. Bananas where they’re due.

1/11: Looks like journalists are finding our timeline and realizing that the internet never forgets, as our HPIC BillyBostickson finally gets just a bit of the credit he’s been due in the Taiwan news for spending the last year reaching down wherever he needs to so that he can grab a big handful and smack clueless reporters in the face with a giant load of facts, no matter how stinky they might seem – asserting his dominance when it comes to things accountability:

“[DRASTIC’S HPIC] posted a Twitter thread demanding answers about a state-funded project at the WIV in 2019 that involved infecting transgenic mice with bat coronaviruses. The scientist who headed this project is assistant researcher Hu Ben (胡犇), according to the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

The director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at WIV, Shi Zhengli (石正麗), also known as “Bat Woman,” since 2007 has been researching how spike proteins in natural and chimeric SARS-like coronaviruses bind to the ACE2 receptors in the cells of humans, bats, and other animals. That year, she created a number of chimeras by inserting different segments of the SARS-CoV-S spike protein into that of a bat virus (SL-CoV-S) which was used as a backbone.”

Will DRASTIC’s use of publicly-available open-source material help mainstream journalism begin the resurgence of accountability and collaborative effort? Instead of finding a PR hack who dismiss the scientific community and insists the peer-reviewed world can be discounted due to their own unique gifts, and as an added bonus looks nice in photos and feeds you good copy?  

Only time will tell:

“No information about this research has been released to the public since the start of the pandemic, including data on the eight chimeric viruses the WIV had been infecting the mice with. In fact, all of the institute’s databases have been offline since the start of the pandemic for alleged ‘cybersecurity issues,’ including 100 unpublished sequences of bat betacoronaviruses, which need to be sequenced by international scientists, according to Bostickson.”Share

Warner Bros.

1/12: After waiting and hoping for nearly a year, Dylan Housman and the Daily Caller come out with the first targeted mainstream look at gain-of-function research, calling for increased scrutiny into the practice and for a free and full investigation into the WIV – helping DRASTIC bring the fight against this dangerous but absurdly well-funded research practice into public light.Share

ABC News.

1/15: Lucky for Iran, the bomb the State Department decided to drop in the waning days of the Trump Administration was instead targeted at the WIV, as it lays waste to several areas of concern all targeted by DRASTIC researchers.

The CCP’s deadly obsession with secrecy and control comes at the expense of public health in China and around the world. The previously undisclosed information in this fact sheet, combined with open-source reporting, highlights… elements about COVID-19’s origin that deserve greater scrutiny:

And with rare panache, the State Department lets the CCP know the fun’s just getting started:

“Today’s revelations just scratch the surface of what is still hidden about COVID-19’s origin in China. Any credible investigation into the origin of COVID-19 demands complete, transparent access to the research labs in Wuhan, including their facilities, samples, personnel, and records.”Share

Marvel Disney Stan Lee

Few things are as nerve-racking as your first day at a brand-new schools in a brand-new state that’s on the other side of the country.

And so I was beyond relieved when the teacher of my second grade class Mrs. Mongelluzzo – easy to spell with the Mickey Mouse Club cadence – told everyone at the end of a rough first day that to help break the ice, everyone should try and bring a joke back to class the next day as their only homework. Knowing my dad seemed to at least think he was pretty hilarious, I waddled home so fast that I almost started rolling at one point, eager to call my dad at work to get the joke to help me fit in with a class of eight and nine year-olds the next day.

I’m not sure I’ve ever raised my hand faster in my life that next day, when Mrs. Mongelluzzo asked if anyone had remembered their homework and come back with a joke. Brand news class, all eyes on me, time to show I can fit in:

“Alright, so… how do you tell a male chromosome, from a female chromosome?

(At this point I assumed the confused looks meant my classmates were deeply pondering this profound genomic koan.)

“Well… of course – YOU JUST PULL DOWN ITS GENES!!”

And so I learned my first hard lesson in the school of having a Microbiology PhD father trying to help you navigate through novel social situations.

But the good news was that although my dad’s job might not have made fitting in among my peers any easier, he more than made up for it during my first Take-Your-Kid-to-Work Day a few weeks later. Riding the Red Line decades later while living in a halfway house as an ex-con and felon for the rest of my life, I had a hard time imagining myself staring out the window, oblivious to so much of the world that prison would later reveal to me.

But for eight-year-old me, the metro was the first part of the most incredible adventure of my life to that point. After the metro it was just one science-fiction escalator ride towards an impossibly distant windy pinpoint, stopping to ask the friendliest pair of glasses I could find for directions to the right building, and one elevator later – I stepped into a massive slew of cubicles, absolutely terrible haircuts, and pocket-protectors as far as the eye could see – but most importantly for me, a crowd that would appreciate my sense of humor.

After the laughs and smiles it was colorful protein models that spun and danced on screens and the same microscopic structures that I remembered from my dad’s t-shirts blow-up to preposterous proportions and popping up on office walls and projector screens, I felt like I’d walked into a movie set – watching discoveries and knowledge get summoned into existence in real-time, and being able to poke around and find a community that loved the fact I had something of a precious science vocabulary and wasn’t afraid to ask what might be a stupid question… since it just might be a really good one too.

——————

So all of these happy formative memories swirled back to the surface when shortly after our paper was published, a handful of random folks emailed us. My assumption initially and for months afterwards was that at least one of them had been an old colleague of my father’s, since I mean after you have your PhD for about 40 years you tend to build up a fairly long list of contacts.

However once a few months had passed and I thought about it, I wasn’t aware of my dad ever significantly interacting with a former Secretary of the Navy and Obama advisor directly attached to defense work, a federal global technology S&T researcher interested in engaging with China and who it’s hard to imagine hasn’t been extensively involved with defense programs, an MIT artificial intelligence and cyber-security wonk with extensive ties to the defense industry, and a scientist part of another team which denigrated my father’s career and said he never should’ve written a paper like ours also with extensive ties to DARPA and the defense industry.

And so as his email to them below recounts, their contact with has become even stranger considering what’s happened since, and what hasn’t happened. Instead of our ideas being embraced by the wider scientific community like I would’ve expected from my childhood, they’ve been marginalized and our voices largely ignored.

My father wouldn’t even let me take the super-cool U.S. Government pens to use in school since it could technically considered stealing, he’s never sniffed anything resembling defense work or the hundreds of millions of dollars of funding to do it, or sought membership in some sort of international group or organization that’s supposed to somehow give one credibility since you can say you’re a part of it and it allows you to claim expertise you simply do not have. And maybe my dad’s existence as just a simple scientist a good thing.

Because if this pandemic has demonstrated anything, it’s that our international institutions have not only failed us as they’ve enabled the profiteering of public citizens that’s turned what was once a historic wealth gap in human history into one that’s only ever been demonstrated before in science-fiction movies, all the while we die off in the worst ongoing mass casualty event in generations. And these international organizations and their false sense of authority enable charlatans like Peter Daszak to corrupt and defile the scientific process by hiding behind imaginary xenophobia, when all he’s really been doing is running interference for the people providing the funding for his work.

Because if one thing is certain, it’s that he has no interest in anything other than preserving the many hundreds of millions of dollars of funding he collects a six-figure salary to coordinate – as opposed to being worried about saving human life or getting to the bottom of this pandemic. And yet he doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and the “dual-use” side of the gain-of-function methodologies like serial passage refer to their possible uses in the defense industry, and now by those wishing to continue playing God and attempting to directly alter the human genome in at attempt to cheat nature’s basic strictures.

Maybe it’s more than a coincidence that the last point made by the biggest cinematic franchise in history is that playing games with reality and attempting to manipulate the popular media’s perception of it can put an enormous number of lives at risk, and that there’s a lot of money to be made and power to be seized when seemingly benign international groups present themselves with authority they do not have, and with responsibilities they refuse to uphold.

Maybe those movies were on to something.

However, sure, maybe my dad and I are mistaken and there is something wrong with our paper which accounts for so many seeking to exclude it from the discussion at this point and keep our voices out of the media.

We’re waiting.

——————

From: Karl Sirotkin PhD<drkarlsirotkin@gmail.com>Date: Fri, Jan 22, 2021 at 10:51 AM

Mr. Danzig, Dr. Kwik-Gronvall, Mr. Triolo, Dr. Leighton, and Mr. Mallery:

When you all initially contacted my son and I about our paper, Might SARS‐CoV‐2 Have Arisen via Serial Passage through an Animal Host or Cell Culture?my initial thoughts went to fond memories I have from much earlier in my career when I was publishing more.

On both occasions, scientists reached out to me after a paper I’d written was published, excited about my work, and asked me to present it at conferences.

However, since your group initially contacted us to point out that we hadn’t properly supported one of our assertions, to which we replied with the citation which we had mistakenly left out, we have heard nothing at all from any of you since. Unlike my previous experiences, your group doesn’t seem at all interested in helping what you called “a real contribution” to the discussion around the origins of COVID-19 gain any traction anywhere, either among fellow professionals or the popular press.

Your contact seems different and outside my normal experience as a professional.  If Mr. Danzig was simply curious about the 1977 influenza incident, I would have simply expected him to ask, so the rest of the distribution seems a bit mysterious, and frankly we are curious about the motivation especially considering the silence since and where things now stand.

The larger distribution seems odd to me, since the four of you come from such diverse backgrounds. And it was made ever stranger after Dr. Kwik-Gronvall’s team at John Hopkins asserted that I was not qualified to write our paper, as part of a team with extensive ties to DARPA and the defense industry. A characteristic that, to an outsider, would also seem to bind your group together as well?

Unless I am mistaken and the four of you have some other longstanding interest in gain-of-function work outside of DARPA and other defense work that brought you together to email us about the use of serial passage in our paper?

Finally, are you aware of Alina Chan, who is attached to the Broad Institute and MIT as many of you are, actively telling reporters to ignore the peer review process, and presenting herself as some kind of expert after this article which reads like badly-researched fan-fiction from a lovesick writer was published? This article was published nearly a month after our peer reviewed paper was. And long after Zero Hedge made international headlines getting kicked off Twitter for asserting the possibility of a laboratory origin. Events this Boston Magazine article ignores entirely as it attempts to create a parallel universe. Since you were so concerned about an incorrect citation in a peer reviewed paper published from strangers, certainly you’re concerned about someone with ties to the same institutions as many of you denigrated the scientific process, and allowing herself and her research to be misrepresented in the press.

So my question is: Why did the four of you contact me and my son? If it was to make sure the science is presented and communicated correctly, why has there been only silence since? And Dr. Kwik-Gronvall, why did your team assert I was unqualified to write this paper after you were already so familiar with it? I appreciate the fact JHU retracted that statement, but I assume that was only after my son emailed asking very politely for a correction.

With the entire globe in the grips of this pandemic, accurate and honest scientific reporting and research has never ever been more important. It is already looking as if continually updated vaccines might be required to control COVID-19 as it mutates, and with confidence in vaccines already low – aren’t the four of you concerned with the potential damage that can be done when the scientific peer review process is not respected?  Such lack of respect causes lowered belief in the entire scientific enterprise.

Alina presented herself as superior to out peer reviewed paper by telling journalists that it would be ok to ignore it, but of which we have yet to see specific criticisms other that Richard’s excellent question. When four scientists as accomplished and connected as you take all that time to reach out about our paper, but then remain silent afterwards which this implied criticism by one with which you seem to have an association?

So maybe you can help us understand your motivations and the larger context of your interest? Since I’m baffled that this even seems to be a question when reviewing a field, in any context, scientific or journalistic: Is it professional and appropriate to ignore or encourage others to ignore a peer reviewed article? The clear answer is, “No,” unless specific criticisms are part of that assertion.  And we are happy to discuss this, if there is any question about this being appropriate behavior for a scientist, since Alina is rather young and perhaps hasn’t been properly trained.

And since all of this is so bizarre, and since several articles have already appeared in the popular press which ignore the peer reviewed science, and so many others with backgrounds in finance and politics seem to be coming out of the woodwork writing articles and pretending to have the ability to address the science when all they hold no relevant degrees and have only ever written popular pieces, acting like their research and work should be considered with the same seriousness as ours – this email will be posted to a public forum for open discussion.

Dr. Karl Sirotkin

Find out what happens next!!Share

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17. Meet the New Year, same as the Old Year.

Coverage of DRASTIC’s story in 2021 continues here!

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