The Truth about Infectious Disease Research and RFK Jr.’s Stance against Gain-of-Function
By Dario Calvisi, Special to The Kennedy Beacon
The COVID-19 crisis is one of the most seismic events of our time, in human and financial costs. Yet, as Adam Garrie noted in The Kennedy Beacon, “no public official has been held accountable, let alone liable for the devastating effects of the government’s actions relating to the phenomenon of COVID-19.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s new book, The Wuhan Cover-Up: And the Terrifying Bioweapons Arms Race, could finally change that by unveiling the real genesis of the pandemic crisis and the appalling nature of contemporary biological warfare. As Garrie argued compellingly, the book is required reading for anyone seeking the truth about state-funded bioweapons. [The book was published by Skyhorse Publishing, whose president is Tony Lyons, co-chair of the American Values 2024 super PAC, which funds The Kennedy Beacon.]
As reported on The Hill Rising, Kennedy has repeatedly indicted the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for their research programs on infectious diseases. He has particularly called out the extremely risky “gain-of-function” research that seeks to increase the transmissibility or pathogenicity of potential pandemic pathogens, including the virus that caused the recent pandemic.
Kennedy has openly declared his intention to suspend the NIH’s infectious-disease-related programs altogether, and have the agency prioritize research on chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, which CDC data indicate are more urgent and serious health priorities in the US.
Unsurprisingly, mainstream media and academia have responded to Kennedy’s proposals with marginalization, contempt, or outright censorship. Nevertheless, investigative reporters and leading biologists have validated Kennedy’s stance on both the most likely origin of COVID-19 and the dangers of gain-of-function research, starting with exposure of the highly duplicitous role of Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID, part of the NIH), during the COVID crisis.
The NIH Cover-Up
In his 2021 book The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health, Kennedy was the first to expose Fauci’s background, including his extensive and disturbing ties to Big Pharma. [The Real Anthony Fauci was also published by Skyhorse.]
In June 2021, following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, thousands of pages of Fauci emails were released. They show that in the early days of the pandemic, Fauci participated in a series of email exchanges and phone calls with NIH director Francis Collins and leading virologists, who shared their concern that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease known as COVID-19, could have been “engineered.” The emails also show that “Fauci received a flurry of correspondence about the theory that the coronavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan.”
The NIH emails were originally released in heavily redacted form. Only in January 2023, “after more than a year of litigation,” were reporters for The Intercept and The Nation able to obtain the unredacted documents. They show that as early as January 31, 2020, Fauci had been alerted to the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 had an artificial rather than natural origin.
Following an email from Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome Trust, “an influential health research foundation based in the UK,” Fauci spoke with Kristian G. Andersen of Scripps Research, a prominent virologist. The details of the conversation are not known, but it profoundly disturbed and alarmed Fauci, who related his misgivings in an email to Farrar on February 1, 2020. This email was entirely redacted in the original release. It is now clear why.
Fauci told Andersen that if his concerns were validated, “they should report it to the appropriate authorities. I would imagine that in the USA this would be the FBI and in the UK it would be MI5.” What concerns could be so serious that the FBI and MI5 should be alerted?
It was Andersen himself who spelled that out in a subsequent email to Fauci: “The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome (<0.1%) so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered.”
That early exchange sparked intense correspondence among Fauci and others, in which the “possibility that the virus emerged from a lab release was top of mind for some of the scientists.”
The virologists, who included Robert Garry, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Tulane Medicine School, were “particularly puzzled by the presence in the virus’s genome of a furin cleavage site . . . a feature that has not been found in other SARS-related coronaviruses” and that “plays an important role in helping the virus infect human airway cells.” This is very difficult to reconcile with a non-lab-related origin.
In March 2020, Garry and Andersen were among the authors of the highly publicized paper “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2,” which categorically denied that the virus had originated in a lab. Contradicting their own stated doubts, the authors claimed they did “not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.”
The Wuhan Connection
The deception and cover-up also involved the relationship between the NIAID and the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in Wuhan, China, where the COVID outbreak originated. Through the New York-based nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, NIH provided millions of dollars in grants to WIV, to fund research on coronaviruses, as reported in The Intercept.
The Intercept obtained documents showing that “in its efforts to head off and prepare for a pandemic, EcoHealth Alliance oversaw an experiment in which researchers intentionally made coronaviruses more pathogenic and transmissible.”
In a November 2022 deposition, Fauci was specifically asked if he believed that the work he had funded in China “might have led to the creation of the coronavirus.”
“I wasn’t concerned that it might have,” he replied, “but I didn’t like the fact that I was completely in the dark about the totality of the work that [was] being done.”
Fauci may have been less than candid about what he actually knew, and when.
The former assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the US Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Robert Kadlec, revealed in a recent confessional interview the “confidential” conversations he had with Fauci about intentionally “diverting attention away from the lab leak theory,” Sharri Markson reported in Sky News Australia.
Kadlec argued that Fauci’s motive for the Wuhan lab cover-up was deep concern for “his reputation if it eventuated that his agency had funded the gain-of-function research that sparked the outbreak.”
In his new book, Kennedy has completely blown the lid off the Wuhan cover-up and the political schemes that concealed the real nature of gain-of-function research, paving the way for more insiders to come forward and advance the search for truth.
The Truth About Gain-of-Function Research
Kennedy’s indictment of reckless research on infectious diseases is gaining ground in the public debate and has been vindicated by top bioweapons experts, beginning with Professor Francis Boyle.
Boyle, an international law scholar and leading bioweapons expert, has advocated for decades against biological warfare and drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act (BWATA), signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1989. He was among the first experts to defend the theory that “what was later called COVID-19 was an offensive biological warfare weapon with gain of function properties.”
In an interview with BizNews, Boyle sternly criticized President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation, issued in September 2022, for promoting “dual-use research of concern, and research involving potentially pandemic and other high-consequence pathogens,” a “blatantly unlawful violation of [the] Bioweapons Act.” He noted ominously that the Executive Order, “together with the guidelines contained in the World Health Organisation Pandemic Treaty, basically promises that more man-made pandemics are coming.”
Efforts to mitigate and contain the risks of gain-of-function research are now arising at both the federal and state levels. As reported on November 15 in Stat, the US House of Representatives voted to support a bill that “would bar any federal agencies from funding so-called gain-of-function research.”
Biosafety Now, a public-interest organization cofounded by molecular biologist Richard Ebright and biophysicist Justin Kinney, has also strongly advocated for the repudiation of such research. Biosafety Now recently supported the Wisconsin State Legislature’s bill SB-401, which “prohibits institutions of higher education in [the] state from conducting gain of function research on potentially pandemic pathogens.”
Such initiatives, expanding to other US states and largely following repeated biosafety incidents, strongly corroborate the relevance and timeliness of Kennedy’s fight.
The Wisconsin bill was introduced after several laboratory incidents at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), which hosts a virology lab engaged in gain-of-function research, run by Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka.
The Kawaoka lab, Biosafety Now notes, is “well-known in the research community to be conducting some of the highest-risk gain-of-function research in the entire world.” The lab “genetically engineers avian influenza virus and Ebola virus (both of which have a fatality rate of 60–70%) with the expressed purpose of making these viruses more transmissible between humans and thus more likely to cause devastating disease outbreaks.”
Like Kennedy, Professor Ebright argues that such research “does not contribute to – and is not needed for” the prevention of, preparation for, or response to public health threats.
Kennedy is therefore doubly justified in his call to redirect the huge resources funding infectious disease research toward the study of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, which alarmingly affect large swaths of the US population.
US Biological Warfare: A Long Shadow
Kennedy’s concerns about the weaponization of biological research, far from being the stuff of conspiracy theory, as frequently implied in the legacy media, are well grounded in the historical record.
The US government first established a biological warfare program in 1942 and maintained an incredibly lethal capability to implement it through the first decades of the Cold War. As Matt Field writes in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the military facility in Fort Detrick, Maryland, became the epicenter of US experimentation in biological and chemical warfare.
In 1975, the Church Committee hearings investigating the CIA’s illegal activities revealed that “the CIA had long been involved in stockpiling biological agents for use in assassination attempts on foreign leaders, most notably Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and had worked closely with Ft. Detrick in this program between 1952 and 1970.”
However, as Kennedy details in his new book, the US biowarfare program has always had a nefarious domestic component that endangers US citizens themselves. The Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas, as described in Field’s article, was a striking example. It handled “dried anthrax bacteria, tularemia bacteria, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, and other pathogens in its biowarfare stockpiles” for decades in the mid-20th century. “Near the weapons facilities, boy scouts held ‘camporees,’ and hunters and fishermen wandered Pine Bluff’s 9,000 acres of woods – a stone’s throw from the Western world’s deadliest collection of germs.”
Because of the extreme controversy it generated, President Nixon terminated the biological warfare program in 1969, and the US signed the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, officially renouncing biological warfare. However, that was certainly not the end of US involvement in biological warfare.
Testimony before the Church Committee revealed that the CIA, without authorization and in clear violation of Nixon’s ban, had retained biological agents and toxins that were capable of sickening or killing millions of people.
More importantly, as Kennedy explains in The Wuhan Cover-Up, the biosecurity apparatus circumvented the new restrictions, by claiming first that bioweapons had a “dual use,” including an ostensible public health purpose, and then, “when the term ‘dual use’ became unpalatable, the same process was simply renamed ‘gain-of-function.’”
In July 2001, the George W. Bush administration refused to sign the protocol to reinforce the monitoring and compliance mechanism of the Biological Weapons Convention, citing concerns about “the ability to continue work on biological warfare studies deemed defensive.”
Continuous use of biological warfare on the US side, in possible or actual violation of the Biological Weapons Convention, has been documented. In the 2002 exposé Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War, investigative journalists Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, and William Broad disclosed a series of “secret U.S. biological warfare experiments and programs conducted under the Clinton and Bush administrations, including a Pentagon plan to engineer genetically a potentially more deadly version of anthrax.”
Kennedy is the only presidential candidate who would make sure that biological research focuses only on safe and necessary programs, addressing actual public health requirements in the US. He is also the only candidate willing to expose COVID-19’s true origins, which is indispensable if we are to draw the necessary lessons from the pandemic catastrophe and prevent it from ever happening again.