WUHAN-GATES – 74. The Greatest Story Never Told: German Virology in China and Montana

WUHAN-GATES – 74. The Greatest Story Never Told: German Virology in China and Montana

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By Robert Kogon – originally published on The Daily Sceptic

The ‘story of the decade’, ‘smoking gun’, ‘case closed’. The story of U.S.-funded – or, as the case may be, even not funded – gain of function research on coronaviruses has been widely presented in recent weeks as the solution to the riddle of Covid: not only the nearly definitive proof that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a laboratory, after all, but also the nearly definitive demonstration of whodunnit.

The Americans did it, of course. Or “we did“, as Jim Haslam, the American Substacker who has developed the most elaborate version of this theory, has put it: Anthony Fauci, the funder of the research; Ralph Baric, the ‘designer’ of the virus; and Peter Daszak, the albeit British head of U.S.-based EcoHealth Alliance, who directed the research. They merely needed a little help from one hired-gun Dutch virologist in the person of Vincent Munster, who made Baric’s virus transmissible at Fauci’s Rocky Mountain Lab in Montana before it was shipped to Wuhan. And the rest is history.

Christian Drosten in 2007 at the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg – image Source: Republik

But what about all the German connections to virus research in Wuhan which I have documented here, here, here and here and which involve not just German funding for virus research in Wuhan, but indeed a full-fledged German-Chinese virology lab in Wuhan, which – unlike the Wuhan Institute of Virology – is located right in the area of the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in the city.

UPDATE – Fauci’s Testimony before US Congress: “Pandemic from Lab Leak is not a Conspiracy Theory”.

It is all the more remarkable that these German connections are being ignored given that the supposedly ‘American’ story of the creation and release of COVID-19 points right back to them: namely, to a German or, more exactly, German-Dutch coronavirus research nexus, which has played a key role in the COVID-19 response and at whose centre we find none other than Christian Drosten. Drosten is, of course, the German creator of the notoriously hypersensitive and unreliable COVID-19 PCR test which was the very basis of the declaration of a pandemic.

Let us start with what is invariably described as Anthony Fauci’s Rocky Mountain Lab, where Vincent Muster is supposed to have made Baric’s virus design transmissible. The headline of a Daily Mail article even describes it as a “Fauci-run” lab. Well, although indeed a NIAID research facility and to that extent connected to the former NIAID director Fauci, the actual director of the facility itself is the German virologist Heinz Feldmann.

“So what?” – you might say. There are 80 million Germans. True enough. But there are not 80 million Germans who have conducted virus research with Christian Drosten

Indeed, in addition to Feldmann and Drosten, there are two other notable authors of the above-cited 2011 Ebola virus paper: Vincent Munster, Feldmann’s employee at the Rocky Mountain Lab who needs no further introduction here, and Stefan Pöhlmann, a virologist based at the German Primate Centre in Göttingen. Like Drosten, Pöhlmann took part in the famous February 1st 2020 conference call with Anthony Fauci on a possible lab leak of SARS-CoV-2. As will be seen momentarily, it was precisely what might be called the ‘EU crew’ around Drosten, and including Pöhlmann, which would attempt to beat back the lab-leak hypothesis in the discussions with their Anglosphere counterparts, both on the call and in e-mails which followed.

The German physician and virologist Johanna Deinert was one of the first to point to the many German links to the virus research which may have contributed to a laboratory origin of SARS-CoV-2. Her @DeinertDoc Twitter account was suspended under the old regime and has never been restored under the new. The pseudonymous Seven of Nine, MD X account has taken up many of the same themes.

In an X thread, Seven of Nine, MD writes that Feldmann “owns the SARS1 genome with Frank Plummer via patent, created bat cell lines in 2011. In SARS-CoV-2 we find inserts leading to Plummer (2015/2017) and B. Korber (2011)”. Citing the above paper and referring to a research project at the Rocky Mountain Lab involving fruit bats and a ‘SARS-like’ virus, Seven of Nine, MD adds: “The fruit bat cell cultures were developed in collaboration with none other than Christian Drosten and Stefan Pöhlmann.”

(The Seven of Nine, MD X account is protected. Readers will have to follow the account to be able to find and view the cited posts. The referenced patent can be consulted here.)

It should be recalled from the FOIA’d ‘Fauci e-mails‘ that after the spectre of a laboratory origin of SARS-CoV-2 was first raised with Fauci by Kristian Andersen, Jeremy Farrar of the Wellcome Trust would arrange for the famous February 1st conference call, bringing in a German-Dutch team of coronavirus experts to discuss the matter with their dismayed Anglosphere colleagues. The concerned Anglosphere scientists were Robert Garry, Andrew Rambaut, Edward Holmes and the Danish virologist Andersen, who is, however, based at Scripps Research in California.  All of them suspected that the virus had a lab origin or were even convinced that it did. Even Farrar, who has been dismissive about lab-leak in his public statements, said he was “50-50” between lab-leak and natural origin behind the scenes.

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But it was members precisely of the German-Dutch ‘EU team’ who are reported to have lambasted Andersen and his Anglosphere colleagues on the conference call and who would continue to urge, in subsequent correspondence, that the matter be, in Drosten’s words, “dropped”.

We have already noted Heinz Feldmann’s connections to the two German members of the EU team, Christian Drosten and Stefan Pöhlmann. The other two members of the team were the Dutch virologists Marion Koopmans and Ron Fouchier.

Koopmans is head of the Erasmus University Medical Centre’s department of Viroscience and co-author of Drosten’s controversial PCR-protocol paper. Following a lightning-fast 24-hour ‘peer review’, the paper had been published by the EU-funded journal Eurosurveillance just one week before the conference call. Fouchier is none other than Europe’s and perhaps the world’s most famous or infamous, depending on one’s perspective, gain-of-function researcher. He is Koopman’s deputy at the Department of Viroscience of the Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam. He is also co-author of the 2003 SARS-CoV-1 paper which, in the words of Seven of Nine, MD, “launched Drosten’s career”.

So, what does that have to do with Vincent Munster’s alleged concoction of SAR-CoV-2 at Feldmann’s (not Fauci’s) Rocky Mountain Lab? Well, Munster is Fouchier’s student! Fouchier was the co-director of Munster’s PhD thesis (as can be seen here), along with Ab Osterhaus, who is perhaps the key historical figure in the formation of the German-Dutch virology nexus. Osterhaus was the head of the Viroscience Department at the Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam until 2014, when he was succeeded by Koopmans. The 75-year-old Dutchman presently leads a ‘One Health’ working group at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover.

(In a coy February 9th Slack message, after noting the possibility of an accidental release of the virus, Robert Garry wrote: “Call me conspiratorial… but I think there may be some hallway talk going on at Erasmus.”)

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Neither Koopmans nor Pöhlmann appear to have played an active role in the conference call. As the FOIA’d e-mails and the related Slack messages make clear, “Christian” and “Ron” led the charge. They would keep the pressure on in the subsequent e-mail exchanges, ultimately getting Andersen and his Anglosphere colleagues to recant their original theory and to endorse precisely the opposite theory, i.e., that of a zoonotic origin of SARS-CoV-2, in their now infamous “Proximal Origin” paper. (See, for instance, the anonymous ‘whistleblower’ email to Jon Cohen of Science magazine reproduced here. The two “world-class” coronavirus experts to whom reference is made are undoubtedly Drosten and Fouchier.)

Now, if you were a detective investigating a crime – for instance, the creation of a supposedly deadly virus (whether it was in fact so deadly is, of course, another matter) – whose behaviour would you find suspicious? The behaviour of those who themselves expressed concern about a lab-leak and were keen on investigating the matter – including, nota bene, none other than Anthony Fauci, who even suggested contacting the FBI! – or the behaviour of those who were dismissive and defensive and tried to shut the conversation down?

“Didn’t we congregate to challenge a certain theory and, if we could, drop it?” Christian Drosten asked with notable irritation in a terse February 9th 2020 e-mail to the other members of the group: “Who came up with this story in the beginning? Are we working on debunking our own conspiracy theory?”

Do these sound like the words of an innocent man? Not much, especially if we consider that before this e-mail emerged thanks to an American FOIA request, Drosten had insisted in a sworn statement to a German court that he “had no interest in steering the suspicion about the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a certain direction. In particular, I had and I have no personal interest in ruling out the so-called laboratory thesis”. No interest in steering the suspicion in a certain direction?! How is that consistent with “didn’t we congregate to challenge a certain theory, and if we could, drop it”?

Drosten, as discussed in my ‘Why Fauci, not Drosten?‘, has links to the German-Chinese virology lab in Wuhan and its German Co-Director Ulf Dittmer. As seen in the below photo, a 2015 German-Government-sponsored virology symposium in Berlin brought together not only Drosten and the bat coronavirus specialist Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but also both the German and the Chinese Co-Directors of the German-Chinese lab, Ulf Dittmer and Dongliang Yang, and both the then- and apparently even the current Directors of the WIV to boot! The Director at the time, Chen Xinwen, is the small, buck-toothed man with the blue tie in the photo. The young woman with the long black hair in the lower left-hand corner appears to be current WIV director Wang Yanyi, although Wang is not listed as a participant in the event programme.

a) Wang Yanyi? b) Shi Zhengli c) Christian Drosten d) Ulf Dittmer e) Dongliang Yang f) Chen Xinwen

In January 2020, moreover, Drosten told the Germany daily Die Berliner Zeitung that he had learned about the supposedly novel virus in Wuhan from virologist colleagues in the city before any infections had even been officially reported!

If a virus engineered in Montana is supposed to have somehow gotten to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, even though the WIV was not even a part of the U.S.-funded CREID project which is alleged to have made the connection, why could it not have gotten to the German-Chinese virology laboratory on the other side of the Yangtze? (Moreover, the CREID project – which is in fact more a network than a project – was not even launched until 2020: several months after the official start of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.)

As the below map from Science magazine makes clear, the campuses of the Wuhan Institute of Virology are in fact nowhere near the area of the initial cluster of COVID-19 cases in Wuhan. The German-Chinese lab, by contrast, is right in the cluster. It is located at Union Hospital, designated by number 6 in the map. The Chinese co-sponsor of the lab, Tongji Medical College, is located virtually at the very epicentre of the outbreak: roughly one kilometre to the north of Tongji Hospital, which is designated by number 5 in the map.

Moreover, leaving aside whatever research was being done in Montana or, say, Chapel Hill, what do we know about the research which was being conducted at the German-Chinese virology lab in Wuhan itself? Not much. 

In September 2021, one Reinhard G. used a website dedicated to posing questions to German parliamentarians in order to ask the German member of the European Parliament Christian Ehler whether gain-of-function research was being conducted at the German-Chinese lab. Ehler is chair of the EU Parliament’s Panel on the Future of Science and Technology (STOA). Reinhard G. did not receive an answer. Ehler’s team merely noted that they did not know.

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But why are no German journalists or commentators, many of whom have shown great interest in DEFUSE and CREID, demanding to know? The DEFUSE proposal was not funded. The CREID network is funded by the U.S. Government, but the Wuhan Institute of Virology is not part of it and it only got underway well after the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan. The German-Chinese lab was launched in 2017 and it is funded by the German Government. It grew out of a German-Chinese joint virology project, TRR60, which was publicly-funded for a full decade from 2009 to 2018 and which, as I have shown here, proudly featured the Wuhan Institute of Virology as a partner.

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Why should the world not know as much about the German-Chinese lab and TRR60 as it knows about DEFUSE and CREID? Where are the Freedom of Information requests? Why is the German Government being spared them? If anyone asked, at least it could say no, which would be revealing in its own right.

We know that the German Government funds gain-of-function experiments, because none other than Christian Drosten was coordinator of a multi-part publicly-funded RAPID project which includes them, as can be seen below. Stefan Pöhlmann was, incidentally, Director of one of the RAPID sub-projects.

Of course, if one only has US information, one will end up telling a U.S. story. But if a foreign power really did have a hand in the escape or release of an engineered virus in Wuhan, then prima facie Germany is the far likelier suspect.

By Robert Kogon – originally published on The Daily Sceptic

Robert Kogon is the pen name of a widely-published journalist covering European affairs. Subscribe to his Substack and find him on Bluesky.


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