The book ‘Cina COVID 19. La Chimera che ha cambiato il Mondo’ (Edizioni Cantagalli, Siena, 2020, 272 pages, 20 euros) by scientist Joseph Tritto was released today. China conducted bioengineering experiments with French and US financial and scientific help. The work was meant to develop vaccines, gradually morphing into military research. The Wuhan lab is now run by China’s People's Liberation Army under General Chen Wei, an expert in biochemical weapons and bioterrorism. Vaccines are a commercial venture. Getting China to sign the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention is one objective.
Rome (AsiaNews) – COVID-19, which is killing and infecting people all over the world, is not a naturally occurring virus; instead, it was created in Wuhan, in a level-4 biosafety laboratory. Not only Chinese, but also French and US scientists contributed to the production of this "chimera," an organism created in a lab.
Until a few months ago, such an idea would have been labelled a conspiracy theory, contemptuously dismissed by people who believed in China’s innocence, treated as absurd by several scholars who defended the "innocence" of science.
Now such thesis is presented with extensive documentation, dates, facts, names by an internationally renowned scientist, Prof Joesph Tritto, president of the Paris-based World Academy of Biomedical Sciences and Technologies (WABT), a non-governmental institution founded in 1997 under the auspices of UNESCO.
Prof Tritto, 68, is the author of Cina COVID 19. La Chimera che ha cambiato il Mondo (China COVID 19. The chimera that changed the world), a book that was released today by Edizioni Cantagalli.
In its 272 pages, which can be read like a thriller, Prof Tritto explains the origins of the virus with precision and scientific resolve, starting from the Chinese attempt to study vaccines against SARS, inserting genomes from HIV into organisms (which makes them more aggressive), adding elements of coronavirus discovered in horseshoe bats, using a method called reverse genetics system 2.
Prof Shi Zheng Li, head of the Wuhan laboratory, was the leading figure in these genetic engineering experiments, but the lab received help from the French government and the Pasteur institute, from which the Chinese learnt how to use HIV genomes.
Some US scientists also helped, including Prof Ralph S. Baric, of the University of North Carolina, with funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). US scientists were interested in studying coronaviruses, which was prohibited in their country until 2017 due to their dangerousness.
Prof Tritto has a respectable curriculum. He is a doctor in urology, andrology, infertility microsurgery, and a professor in microtechnology and nanotechnology in the United Kingdom and India. He is a visiting professor and director of nano-medicine at Amity University in New Delhi (India).
For this very reason he could closely vet the research done in Wuhan. In his view, the latter began as a way to fight disease, but gradually turned into bioengineering studies to build lethal biological weapons.
It is no coincidence that in the past five years, the Wuhan lab received the largest portion of China’s funding for virologic research, turning it into an advanced research centre under the direct control of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese government.
According to Prof Tritto, Prof Shi Zheng-Li “probably had no interest in doing work for the military or other purposes, unless she was forced to do so. Nobody doubts her good faith.”
However, the fact remains that after the laboratory came into the spotlight because of the pandemic, People’s Liberation Army Major General Chen Wei (picture 1), an expert in biochemical weapons and bioterrorism, was appointed head of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, working with a team that includes Zhong Nanshan, a famous pulmonologist with long experience in infectious lung diseases.
In effect, the Wuhan Institute of Virology was placed under the control of China’s military. Since then, nothing is known about Professor Shi Zheng-Li who seems to have disappeared.
In Tritto’s book, scientists come out badly. Driven by the desire for knowledge, they become eager for power, ambition, careerism and money.
Part of the book is devoted to vaccine research, in which institutes and labs compete against one another, not for the sake of medicine and to save the millions of coronavirus patients, but only to be the first to sell vaccines around the world.
China is well placed in this area. According to Prof Tritto, Beijing has only released partial data, and not made available the original genetic structure of the coronavirus (mother virus). Why? Because only with the original structure of the virus is it possible to produce a truly universal vaccine, effective everywhere on earth. Over time, viruses mutate and a vaccine produced by a mutated virus is effective only during a certain period time and in certain areas.
In other words, narrow commercial interests are the driving force, not love for science. Yet, lest we forget – and Prof Tritto does not – there are many heroes in this pandemic. In addition to the doctors and nurses who gave their lives to treat patients when they arrived in great numbers in emergency wards, we must cite the first doctors who reported the epidemic in Wuhan, who were forced into silence by police, threatened with dismissal.
One of these people is Dr Ai Fen (picture 2), who reported a "strange influence" as early as November and was muzzled by hospital authorities. Another one is Dr Li Wenliang (picture 3), an ophthalmologist who was forced to keep quiet and then died of COVID-19, infected by one of his patients. Nothing is currently known of Dr Ai Fen, who is missing.
Prof Tritto’s book also goes after the World Health Organisation, which has become - according to many - a "puppet" in China’s hands, complicitous in its silence on the epidemic.
However, the book is not only turned to the past. Prof Tritto wants to see worldwide rules adopted for chimera research, level-4 biosafety labs, and cooperation between military and civil labs. China and other countries should also be forced to sign the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC).