The chairman of the Lancet's COVID-19 Commission has come forward to say that he is "pretty convinced" that the pandemic's origin is from "U.S. lab biotechnology." He also warns that even more dangerous research is happening right now – which could be why governments don't seem to be interested in investigating the origins of COVID-19.
Jeffrey Sachs is the director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, the president of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, winner of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, a best-selling author, and a Chairman of the Lancet's COVID-19 Commission.
In November 2020, Sachs assembled a task force for the prestigious medical journal to determine the origins of COVID-19. He hand-selected Dr. Peter Daszak – the president of EcoHealth Alliance – to be the chairman of the task force. However, Daszak recused himself from the investigation in June 2021, following accusations of a conflict of interest.
Daszak had deep ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars of National Institutes of Health funding to the Chinese lab. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Daszak has vehemently argued that COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease that jumped from animals to humans. Furthermore, he vociferously argued that suggesting that COVID-19 originated from a lab leak is a baseless conspiracy theory.
By September 2021, the task force organized by the Lancet's COVID-19 Commission was disbanded because of EcoHealth's conflict-of-interest issues.
Sachs said at the time, "I just didn't want a task force that was so clearly involved with one of the main issues of this whole search for the origins, which was EcoHealth Alliance."
Last week, Sachs told Current Affairs that he appointed Daszak to the task force dedicated to discovering the origins of COVID-19 because he said to himself, "Well, here’s a guy who is so connected, he would know."
Sachs added, "And then I realized he was not telling me the truth. And it took me some months, but the more I saw it, the more I resented it."
Sachs revealed that he disbanded the task force because other members were "part of this thing."
He noted that the NIH had been hiding documents from the public – which were later revealed by a Freedom of Information Act request. Emails exposed by a FOIA request revealed that officials with the NIH and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases were concerned that EcoHealth could be conducting gain-of-function experiments at the Wuhan lab.
Sachs noted that Daszak should have informed him that EcoHealth Alliance was "manipulating the viruses."
Sachs said that he requested a research proposal from Daszak, but the EcoHealth head allegedly balked, "No, my lawyer says I can’t give it to you."
A video went viral last month featuring Sachs proclaiming that "after two years of intensive work," he is "pretty convinced" that COVID-19 originated from "U.S. lab biotechnology, not out of nature."
"So it’s a blunder in my view of biotech, not an accident of a natural spillover," he said. "We don’t know for sure, I should be absolutely clear."
Sachs noted, "But there’s enough evidence that it should be looked into. And it’s not being investigated, not in the United States, not anywhere. And I think for real reasons that they don’t want to look underneath the rug."
In the interview with Current Affairs editor Nathan Robinson, Sachs suggested that scientists were "creating a narrative" of COVID's origins early in the pandemic by collectively claiming that COVID-19 naturally originated from the Wuhan wet market without definitive evidence.
Sachs asked, "Did we find an animal? No. Do we have an explanation of where that furin cleavage site came in? No. We don’t have an explanation of the timing, which doesn’t quite look right."
He accused health officials and the media of pulling a "kind of misdirection" since February 2020.
Sachs believes the laboratory hypothesis is "very plausible."
"The alternative that is the right one to look at is part of a very extensive research program that was underway from 2015 onward, funded by the NIH, by Tony Fauci, in particular NIAID, and it was to examine the spillover potential of SARS-like viruses," Sachs told Robinson.
Sachs suggested that COVID-19 may have come from gain-of-function research, "There was a lot of research underway in the United States and China on taking SARS-like viruses, manipulating them in the laboratory, and creating potentially far more dangerous viruses."
"We know that at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the scientists there had been trained by American scientists to use advanced bioengineering methodologies," Sachs explained. "And in particular, we have scientists in North Carolina, Texas, and so forth who do this kind of research, believe in it, argue for it, and say that they don’t want any regulations on it and so on. And they were in close contact with Wuhan Institute of Virology, and they were part of a joint research group that was stitched together by something called EcoHealth Alliance."
Sachs described EcoHealth Alliance as a "vehicle for funding from the U.S. government, especially from the National Institutes of Health, and especially from Tony Fauci’s unit, the NIAID."
Sachs said Dr. Anthony Fauci and the NIH "haven’t shown us anything" about possible research at the Wuhan lab.
"So you saw a narrative being created," he continued. "And the scientists are not acting like scientists. Because when you’re acting like a scientist, you’re pursuing alternative hypotheses."
Robinson asked Sachs why governments aren't vigorously investigating the origins of a disease that has killed more than 6.4 million people in less than three years.
Sachs responded, "There are at least two reasons why they might be doing what they’re doing. One is, as you say, the implications are huge. Imagine if this came out of a lab. And we have, by some estimates, about 18 million dead worldwide from this. That’s not the official count. But that’s the estimated excess mortality from COVID. Well, the implications of that—the ethical, the moral, the geopolitical—everything is enormous."
The chairman of the Lancet's COVID-19 Commission added, "But there’s a second matter that is really important, too. One thing that is rather clear to me is that there is so much dangerous research underway right now under the umbrella of biodefense or other things that we don’t know about, that is not being properly controlled."
He suggested that governments could be saying, "Don’t poke your nose into that."
On Saturday, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said, "The fact that virtually no one in Washington DC wants to investigate the origins of COVID-19 should tell you all you need to know about the origins of COVID-19."