Shi Zhengli bats covid china lab
© Associated PressShi Zhengli - dubbed the 'Bat Lady' or 'Bat Woman' for her work on bat coronaviruses - investigated the possibility Covid could have emerged from her lab back in 2020, according to colleagues
A newly-uncovered trove of documents detailing plans to create a Covid-like virus in China months before the pandemic make the 'lab leak almost certain', experts say.

The records - obtained now by FOIA requests - lay out a plan to 'engineer spike proteins' to infect human cells that would then be 'inserted into SARS-Covid backbones' at the infamous Wuhan virology lab from December 2018. Just a year later, in late 2019, the Covid-19 virus emerged with a uniquely adept ability to infect humans, going on to cause a global pandemic.

The proposal was made by the now-notorious EcoHealth Alliance, a New York nonprofit that channels US government grants abroad to fund these types of experiments. Ultimately, the application was denied by the US Department of Defense, but critics say the plans laid out in the proposal serve as a 'blueprint' for how to create Covid.

email daszak covid proposal gain of function
The above is an excerpt of an email from the March 2018 DEFUSE proposal showing a comment from PD - Peter Daszak.
The documents also show how EcoHealth tried to deliberately mislead the Pentagon on how risky the experiments were to secure funding.

In a statement Tuesday addressing the documents, EHA called them ' incomplete' and said the 'allegations are false based on misunderstanding of edits and comments on the document, and based on misleading out-of-context quotations and a lack of understanding the process by which federal grants are awarded.'

Sen Rand Paul - who has been a vocal supporter of the lab leak theory - added the documents further support of the 'deception' used by players tied to the Wuhan lab.

Matt Ridley, a biologist and science writer who has written extensively about the potential lab leak in the past, said: 'This latest [document] leak makes the case for a lab leak almost certain.

'A reckless experiment, known at the time to be reckless, probably caused the death of millions of people.

'Scientists and the media conspired to conceal the evidence. Let that sink in.'
peter daszak anthony fauci
© X/@EcoHealthNYCEcoHealth Alliance, run by British zoologist Peter Daszak, funded studies in Wuhan โ€“ the Chinese city where the pandemic began โ€“ on manipulated coronaviruses. The boss of EcoHealth Alliance, Peter Daszak, shown left, is known to be close to Dr Anthony Fauci (right)
The documents were obtained by nonprofit public health research group US Right to Know, which has previously been accused of fueling anti-vaccine sentiments.

The grant proposal was entitled 'Project DEFUSE: Defusing the Threat of Bat-borne Coronaviruses'.

It proposed engineering high-risk coronaviruses of the same species as the original SARS to preempt a human spillover and develop vaccine technology and strategies.

The team sought to synthesize spike proteins with furin cleavage sites that had been designed to bind to human receptors more easily.

The furin has been one of the focal points of debate about Covid-19's origin, with some experts claiming it could only have been acquired through lab experiments.

The grant then proposed attaching the furin to coronavirus strains and infecting mice to see how ill it would make them.
laboratory experiments covid gain of function
© The Daily Mailhe National Institutes of Health (NIH), under Dr Anthony Fauci 's leadership, infected 12 Egyptian fruit bats with a 'SARS-like' virus called WIV1 sent from the Wuhan Institute of Virology at a lab in Montana in 2018
The plan was then to use drugs and vaccines to treat the disease.

Dr Richard Ebright, a chemical biologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, told 'These revelations are important because the experiments in the grant proposal likely - indeed highly likely - led to the creation and release of SARS-CoV-2.'
daszak email gain of function covid
The above is an email from Peter Daszak to researchers included in the 2018 proposal
daszak covid gain of function email research
The above is an email from Peter Daszak to researchers included in the 2018 proposal talking about work to be done by scientists as part of the project
The grant proposal has raised concerns and some say it serves as further support of the Covid lab leak theory - that the virus was borne out of gain-of-function research bankrolled by the US taxpayer through Dr Anthony Fauci's former department, a theory the FBI and other government agencies now subscribe to.

The principal investigator on the project is listed as Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth, a now-notorious health agency that uses US government money to sponsor there's types of experiments abroad.
Other team members listed on the proposal include researchers from Duke-NUS Medical School, University of North Carolina, the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, Palo Alto Research Center and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the lab where Covid is believed to have originated from.

The proposal listed Professor Shi Zhengli - been dubbed the 'bat lady' for her extensive work on bat coronaviruses at the WIV - as the lead on the project in Wuhan.

Professor Ralph Baric
Professor Ralph Baric, University of North Carolina
Additionally, Dr Ralph Baric was listed as a subcontractor on the project. Dr Baric is a known expert in making recombinant coronaviruses.

The documents show the experiments were proposed to take place at the WIV, which has fewer safety precautions for working with pandemic-potential specimens than the US, which was advertised to the DoD as cost-saving.

In initial proposals for DEFUSE, the lab work was to be done in a biosafety-level 2 lab, which researchers said would appeal to DARPA grant-makers as 'highly cost effective' despite the fewer safety precautions taken in lower-level labs

Dr Baric acknowledged in an edited version of the proposal US researchers would 'freak out' if they knew novel coronavirus engineering and testing was being done in a BSL-2 lab.

Similar experiments in the US are conducted in BSL-3 labs.

A later version of the proposal changed BSL-2 to BSL-3.

Biosafety levels range from one to four, with four being the strictest and experimenting on the most dangerous pathogens.

Dr Baric wrote: 'In the US, these recombinant SARS-CoV are studied under BSL3, not BSL2, especially important for those that are able to bind and replicate in primary human cells.'

BSL-2 labs feature ventilated safety cabinets and researchers must wear surgical masks and lab coats. Experts say pathogen with the possibility of being transmitted through the air should be, at a minimum, performed in a BSL-3 lab, which has researchers in more protective respirators.

Dr Ebright told
'The new documents reveal that EcoHealth Alliance planned to use US Department of Defense funds to perform high-risk virus experiments at WIV at a biosafety level that was inadequate for research with a potential pandemic pathogen.'

'The new documents also reveal that EcoHealth Alliance deliberately concealed these plans - both the plan to perform high-risk experiments at WIV and the plan to perform them using inadequate biosafety protections - from the US Department of Defense in order to improve the chances of receiving funding.'
Dr Ebright tweeted: 'At this point, there is sufficient evidence to conclude, beyond reasonable doubt, that SARS-CoV-2 entered humans through a lab accident.'

While people who believed and promoted the lab-leak origin were initially accused of being xenophobic and pushing a conspiracy theory, the FBI and several other governmental agencies ascribe to this theory.

The formal DEFUSE grant proposal states the engineering of the coronavirus spike protein would be carried out by Dr Baric in North Carolina.

However, in an earlier comment on the proposal, Daszak appears to suggest WIV would actually be doing most of the work but should be downplayed in the proposal to make DARPA more 'comfortable' with the details.

Dazsak said in an email:
'If we win this contract, I do not propose that all of this work will necessarily be conducted by Ralph, but I do want to stress the US side of this proposal so that DARPA are comfortable with our team.

'Once we get the funds, we can then allocate who does what exact work, and I believe that a lot of these assays can be done in Wuhan as well.'
In another comment, however, Daszak reiterates his desire to stress the US-focus of the project.

He wrote: 'I am planning to use my resume and Ralph's [Baric]. Linfa/Zhengli, I realize your resumes are also very impressive, but I'm trying to downplay the non-US focus of this proposal so that DARPA doesn't see this as a negative.'

In a statement Tuesday, EHA called the documents ' incomplete' and said the 'allegations are false based on misunderstanding of edits and comments on the document, and based on misleading out-of-context quotations and a lack of understanding the process by which federal grants are awarded.'

Justin Goodman, president of The White Coat Waste Project, a watchdog group fighting to stop sending American tax dollars overseas to fund dangerous virus research, told the documents prove US tax dollars have 'footed the bill for the shady EcoHealth Alliance and their comrades at the reckless Wuhan lab to supercharge coronaviruses in dangerous gain-of-function experiments.'