A United Nations report on COVID-19 admitted that gain-of-function research â€“ which involves the manipulation of viruses to become deadlier to humans â€“ can “increase the possibility of accidentally generating an outbreak or even a pandemic.”
The 70-page report from the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) follows scrutiny of gain-of-function research after revelations that the controversial research method was being used by scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is believed to be the epicenter of COVID-19. Using taxpayer funds from Anthony Fauci’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) agency, researchers from the Wuhan-based laboratory and the New York non-profit EcoHealth Alliance manipulated bat coronaviruses strikingly similar to COVID-19 to become more lethal to humans.
The report â€“ “COVID-19, a Warning: Addressing Environmental Threats and the Risk of Future Pandemics in Asia and the Pacific” â€“ providesÂ 10 recommendations to mitigate pandemic risks, including to “better regulate or ban dangerous â€œgain of functionâ€ pathogen studies” as its ninth suggestion.
“Deliberately searching for wildlife viruses could paradoxically increase the possibility of accidentally generating an outbreak or even a pandemic, via accidental escape,” begins the report.
“Gain of function experiments, intended to investigate disease-transmission characteristics, could inadvertently generate problems (Wain-Hobson 2013). Furthermore, trust is undermined when scientists overstate the benefits of disease prevention,” it continues.
“Gain of function studies involve the manipulation of pathogens in attempts to explore characteristics, including transmission between species, that might not exist in nature. Although such studies are generally undertaken in laboratories with high security (Biosafety Level-4), the accidental escape of highly virulent pathogens has occurred many times from â€œsecureâ€ settings and could reoccur,” explains the recommendation.
In a section exploring how a string of Nipah virus outbreaks in 1998 occurred in Malaysia and Singapore, the UNEP report reiterates its call to potentially ban gain-of-function research:
“To date, no vaccine for Nipah has been developed although progress has been reported. Thus, it is recommended that â€œgain of function of concernâ€ research studies, and other experiments to explore the potential of Nipah for wider transmission be strictly regulatedâ€”or even banned altogether.”
Social media “fact-checkers” and corporate media outlines routinely dismissed criticism of gain-of-function research as “conspiracy theories” meant to attack Fauci and the Chinese Communist Party. Now, however, the UNEP appears to be confirming these fears.