Dr. Tritto’s 272 pages of names, dates, places, and facts leaves such apologists with no place to hide. The story begins following the SARS epidemic of 2003, as the Chinese attempt to develop vaccines to combat the deadly disease. Dr. Shi Zhengli, about whom I have previously written, was in charge of the program at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Dr. Shi first solicited help from the French government, which built the P4 lab, and from the country’s Pasteur institute, which showed her how to manipulate HIV genomes. The gene insertion method used is called “reverse genetics system 2.” Using this method, she inserted an HIV segment into a coronavirus discovered in horseshoe bats to make it more infectious and lethal.
The U.S. was involved as well, particularly Prof Ralph S. Baric, of the University of North Carolina, who was on the receiving end of major grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. This is, of course, Dr. Anthony Fauci’s shop. Fauci was a big proponent of “gain of function” research, and when this was prohibited at Baric’s lab because it was considered to be too dangerous, the research was shifted to China.
Prof. Tritto believes that, while Dr. Shi’s research began as an effort to develop a vaccine against SARS, it gradually morphed into an effort to use “reverse genetics” to build lethal biological weapons. This was the reason that the Wuhan lab became China’s leading center for virology research in recent years, attracting major funding and support from the central government.