A Bio-Weapon? Made In China–Or In The Us?

Back Story of Covid-19–Pandemic or Plandemic?

Pranjali Bandhu

COVID-19, the Corona Virus Disease, ostensibly manifesting in December 2019 in China, went on to become a global pandemic infecting billions, killing millions, overwhelmingly the elderly with co-morbidities, the homeless, and not sparing children, making it into a veritable war on the people.

Viruses, bacteria and other microbes can cause mild or devastating diseases, and epidemics and pandemics have been with people through history. They are usually related to times of war, spread through trade and travel routes, certain agricultural practices, and affect the poor in urban and semi-urban areas, who live in unsanitary conditions, the most. In the case of India there is no evidence of large-scale epidemics and pandemics before the colonial period. The economic development that took place under colonialism involved greater ecological disturbance and much migrant labour allowing the spread of diseases outside the area of outbreak, and even to other countries due to increase in trade. In a globalised imperialist world system intensive industrial agriculture with its greater encroachment of wilderness, resource extraction, increased fossil fuel usage and ensuing global warming and climate change, bio-weapons stockpiling etc. the frequency and quick spread of spilled over contagious diseases among humans, animals and plants has increased. For one thing this is an Age of Pandemics.

Covid-19 is the latest among them. Long-term adverse health impacts, so-called Long Covid, are there. There is heightened danger of heart failure and strokes; psychological well-being is also impacted, causing depression, anxiety, confusion, fear. Psychiatric disorders among children have been reported due to their being cooped up without freedom of movement and adequate socialising opportunities with peer groups when schools were closed over a prolonged period. Pre-schoolers have been particularly affected: unable to speak, socialise, and share, lacking focus and motor control. Mortality rates went up due to lack of access to health-care facilities for other ailments during the lockdowns. General debilitation and lack of wellness made people prone to further infections and diseases, affecting their working capacity. Without understanding origins or causes, it will be difficult to implement adequate preventive measures for possible future pandemics and repeated recurrence of already circulating infectious diseases.

Scientists are divided in their opinion regarding the origins of this virus. Some are of the view that it is a zoonotic spill-over from bats over an intermediate host to humans. Others assert that it is a man-made virus that accidentally leaked from a low security level BSL-2 (Bio-safety Level 2) lab inside an institute that was engaged in bio-warfare research. Yet another view holds this to be a Pandemic unleashed by powerful elites with pecuniary gains in mind and with the objective of overcoming a periodic economic crisis intrinsic to a capitalist world economy. There is a fringe view that holds electro smog, toxic living conditions and the introduction of 5G mobile telephony around the world to be responsible. The turning on of 5-G wireless in Wuhan with a grid of 10,000 antennas in the months preceding the outbreak causing unprecedented electromagnetic pollution is pinpointed as the cause.

While electro smog and air pollution have their environmental and health impacts and can increase transmissibility, morbidity and mortality due to constrained immunity, in this writer’s view they cannot be taken as the origin of the disease.

Robert G Wallace, an evolutionary epidemiologist, points to global food production and distribution systems as the underlying cause for the multiple epidemics and pandemics the currently faces. Rich and diverse ecosystems provide a natural barrier against viral outbreaks because a large distance between humans and potentially harmful viruses is maintained. This is a function that sacred groves serve in India. Biodiversity makes it harder for pathogenic viruses to consistently find an appropriate host from which to mutate and spread; they get more easily burnt out and thus contained. Large-scale, mono-cultural plant and animal industrial agriculture, burgeoning urbanisation, resource extraction through mining and logging, all lead to deforestation. By growing livestock and plants having near identical genomes there are no immune firebreaks that would hinder quick transmission. The industry’s emphasis on high throughput provides a continually renewed supply of susceptible plant and animal life that facilitate a particular virus’s growth. In the case of broiler chickens, because the age of slaughter is low (6 weeks), this selects for viruses that can survive more robust immune systems and the entire production system promotes their evolution into more virulent and infectious strains. The network of agricultural exports and imports across vast regions and countries aids their spread causing epidemics and pandemics.

The solution offered by Wallace and others holding a similar viewpoint is to develop revolutionary cooperative forms of ecological agriculture that is not environmentally destructive, that promotes strategic re-wilding allowing animals to breed on-site, makes for food sovereignty, and puts people’s and planetary health, justice, and equity above the super profits of a few.

Africa and China are the regions from where a good number of recent viral pathogens have originated. In Africa, deforestation pushed by intensive agriculture, mining, logging and other resource grabs under the aegis of neo-liberal agro and other businesses paves the way for spill-over infections that then find their way to other parts of the world through myriad trade and travel routes. In China, large-scale agriculture and animal husbandry including wildlife farms have led to major shifts in land-use patterns and ecosystem changes increasing zoonotic spill-over.

The Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan, where wild animals are also sold, is pointed as the originating place of the pandemic, however, without precisely locating the intermediate host animal for SARS-CoV-2, which shares 96% of its genome with the virus found in horseshoe bats. The pangolin is mentioned as the animal in which possibly, but not conclusively, recombination happened, but pangolins were not among the animals being sold at this ‘wet’ market. Moreover, the first human cases had no connection with this market. The lab-leak proponents, therefore, consider it to be an amplifying and not originating centre. This lacuna and other characteristics of the virus give steam to the narrative of it being a lab-manipulated one through bio-technology with the possible aim of being used as a bio-weapon.

Another narrative sees the entire pandemic as a planned ‘conspiracy’ by US-based finance capital led by the three investment corporations of BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street, shareholders in 90% of listed companies worldwide, to bail it out from a debt-ridden meltdown. The following facts are brought forward to buttress the allegation that the pandemic is a toolkit of interlocked vested interests:

A 2010 document of the Rockefeller Foundation titled, “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development” talks of a pandemic and economic collapse, and mentions lockdown, quarantine, curfew, and other top-down authoritarian control measures to combat it.

Philanthro-capitalist Bill Gates, proponent of eugenics and depopulation, and vaccine king, had publicly announced that a global pandemic was on its way and could wipe out 30 million people. In 2018, Gates Foundation’s Institute for Disease Modelling, made a video called ‘A Simulation for A Global Flu Pandemic’ in which they show a flu virus originating in China, from Wuhan, and spreading all over the world.

In September 2019, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, a joint arm of the WHO and the World Bank, released a report titled ‘A World at Risk’. It stressed the need to be prepared for a corona virus outbreak! Its cover has a corona virus and people wearing face masks. The report says: “The United Nations (including WHO) conducts at least two system-wide training and simulation exercises, including one for covering the deliberate release of a lethal respiratory pathogen.”

In October 2019, Event 201–a global pandemic exercise–was organised, coordinated jointly by the John Hopkins Biosecurity Centre, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum.

The first case of a new disease was reported in China early December that year, but it was initially hushed up by the Chinese government. In the last week of January 2020, when the numbers of infected people had risen, the Chinese government put Wuhan and other cities of Hubei Province under lockdown. After the considerable world-wide spread of the viral infection, on 11 March 2020, the WHO director said that this was a pandemic and measures had to be taken accordingly by individual countries.

On the advice that had been laid down in a White Paper issued by BlackRock on 15 August 2019, the US Federal Reserve injected over 9 trillion US$ into the economy between September 2019 and March 2020. Under cover of the pandemic the monies injected by the Fed under BlackRock’s management was used not for investment but to bail out finance capital so that it could continue its speculative activities. Lockdowns were imposed; with them came the suspension of much manufacturing activity and business transactions, which drained the demand for credit from an insolvent financial market. Hyperinflation was dodged by keeping the real economy insulated through periodic lockdowns, which also helped in an authoritarian regimentation of the people, as envisaged in the 2010 Rockefeller document. For instance, in India, the strong anti-CAA and student protests had to withdraw during the pandemic, though it could not deter a determined farmers’ movement.

People know that industrial capitalism has become financial capitalism because a labour-based economy is unprofitable for it. In the search for super profits more and more labour power gets ejected and replaced by automation. Investments are done in the financial sector rather than in the real economy, or in socially constructive sectors like education, health, research and other public services.

According to Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, a pro-corporate NGO, COVID-19 has enhanced and accelerated the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which restructures capitalist imperialism through the new technologies of AI, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, nanotechnology, quantum computing, big data analytics, cloud computing, 5G and so on, which are aimed at enhancing privately owned wealth, and not distributing it equitably. The WEF, IMF, WHO, and the corporate sector in general have used the pandemic to fast forward this kind of ‘Great Reset.’

Sectors that profited enormously during the pandemic were Big Tech (through digitisation of the economy) and Big Pharma (through sales of vaccines and pharmaceutical drugs). Vaccines were developed for emergency use, often with government support, without time-consuming (the usual time is 5 years) adequate evaluation in animal models and clinical testing for safety and efficacy. In the end, despite booster doses, people are getting infected, though it is claimed the vaccination has lowered death rates, intense illness, and hospitalisation. Adverse reactions, autoimmune diseases, myocarditis and pericarditis, blood clots with the possibility of heart attacks, even deaths due to vaccines have been reported.

The RT-PCR test too is not reliable. Test-kits, masks, and PPE makers profited, but the masses of plastic waste produced have ended up polluting the earth and the oceans further. While during this period unemployment, precarity and poverty rose exponentially, billionaires increased their net worth, corporates their profits, and the stock market remains vibrant. The maximum number of people becoming poor was reported from India. And world over deaths from hunger cross those dying from Covid!

This chilling account of how the Virus was weaponised by US-based finance capital, big tech and big pharma as well as corrupt governments to their ends does not fully address the question of its origins.

Viruses, bacteria, and other natural and synthetic toxins can and have been weaponised since ancient times. In both World Wars the antagonists used biological weapons targeting humans, animals or plants. During the Second World War and Cold War periods the US developed biological and chemical warfare capability and utilised it. From 1943-69 such research was done under a Biological Weapons Programme at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Scientists bred germs to be resistant to antibiotics and other drug therapies. Now renamed as a Biological Defense Programme or Strategy it is a combined effort along with private enterprises and other stakeholders. The US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) is housed in Fort Detrick and has bio-medical labs equipped to research and develop pathogenic viruses.

Research on biological agents and toxins for use in warfare is being conducted in other countries too. There are many such labs all over the world and hundreds in the US. This is despite the fact that their development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use has been banned by the UN 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, signed by almost all countries. It must be noted that the US is the only country that opposes the establishment of a verification mechanism for the Biological Weapons Convention, although laboratory accidents have taken place. It is reported that by 1960 hundreds of American scientists and technicians were hospitalised, victims of the diseases they had been trying to weaponise. A USA Today exposé of 2014 says that between 2008 and 2012 there were more than 1,100 laboratory incidents involving dangerous bacteria, viruses and toxins in the US.

Some scientists have tried to substantiate the man-made lab-origin theory by analysing the gene sequence of this virus. Features of this virus that distinguish it from SARS Cov-1 are that it can be spread by asymptomatic people, has a very strong protective outer shell making it more resilient and active for a longer period, and that it is particularly fast in replication and mutation and more pathogenic. Using biotechnology to change the features is carried out in the name of ‘gain of function’ involving genes manipulation that enhances greater transmissibility in humans.

India also has Bio-safety Level 2, 3 and 4 labs to carry out investigation of highly infectious pathogens. By understanding how viruses evolve and by getting ahead of Nature through gene manipulation, it is thought that one can predict and prepare for possible natural spillovers through treatment and vaccines. In the view of Dr Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the US President, who was instrumental in the initial suppression of the possible lab leak theory, Nature in the worst bioterrorist that is always coming up with new threats, which have to be met in a confrontationist way. The Global Virome Project (initiated to discover viral threats) estimates 1.7 million unknown viruses in wild animals, half of which have zoonotic potential.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology, from where this particular virus is believed to have leaked, engages in ‘gain of function’ research. After the 2003 SARS-1 outbreak in China, the government had approached and received help from France to set up a P-4 laboratory in the WIV to combat possible similar infectious disease outbreaks. Earlier, P-3 labs had been set up in China, also with French help. The BSL-4 lab was designed by French experts and partially funded by the French government. It started functioning in 2018; fifty French researchers were expected to take residency and provide technical expertise and training, but this did not happen. The WIV collaborated with the Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory and the Galveston National Laboratory in the US too.

The National Institutes of Health, a biomedical research agency under the US Department of Health and Human Services, funded US and Chinese scientists to work collaboratively on collecting SARS-like viruses. In 2014, a 5-year grant through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD), under the NIH, and headed by Anthony Fauci, was given to EcoHealth Alliance, a US-based non-profit research group to conduct bat corona virus research in partnership with the WIV which involved gain of function. Further funding sources were the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the Department of Defense and PREDICT, which was a component of USAID’s “Emerging Pandemic Threats” programme aimed at Asia, Africa and Latin America, considered hotspot areas for zoonotic diseases that comprise nearly 75% of new, emerging and re-emerging diseases.

Among policy advisors of EcoHealth Alliance is David Franz, former Commander at Fort Detrick’s US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases and its partners include universities such as the University of Texas, Medical Branch, Galveston, whose work is closely related to bio-warfare (so-called bio-defense), and major corporations like Johnson and Johnson and Colgate Palmolive. Some such farmed out G-O-F research including experiments with corona viruses began to be done in risky BSL-2 labs in the WIV. Safety standards at the WIV were noted to be substandard. Internationally renowned virologist, Dr Shi Zengli, who had received her training in France and the US, was part of the team. She and Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance worked together on the horseshoe bat virus and new functional components may have been overlaid onto or inserted into its genome. Papers about this work got published between 2016 and 2019. And it is conjectured that this is what slipped out during an experiment one day. The problem with any biotechnological product is that it develops its own trajectory and cannot be controlled once released.

This was after the Obama government had halted funding for such “gain of function research of concern” in the US itself due to bio-safety concerns. A number of scientists had called for restraint and sanity with regard to such creation of potential pandemic pathogens. G-o-F research cannot prevent, but will only create difficult to address pandemics, they said. It is documented that the SARS virus had escaped from labs 3 times between 2003 and 2011. There have been recorded escapes of pathogens between 1990 and 2011 (from Taiwan, England and the then SU) from highest security level BSL-4 labs, too. However, the pause in funding this risky research was quietly lifted in 2017.

In 2019, the project with the WIV was renewed for another 5 years, but the US pulled out in 2020 after the Covid-2 outbreak. The Chinese government’s initial response was to suppress news about it. Then, after officially reporting it to the WHO, it closed down all virus database records at the WIV from any sort of scrutiny. Its Ministry of Education sent out a directive regarding strict control over any paper that traces the origin of the virus. The lab was handed over to Major General Chen Wei, a researcher at the Military Medical Research Institute of the Academy of Military Sciences. By mid-March the first vaccine had been developed by her. This kind of military-civil collaboration and fusion is not peculiar to China.

The needle of suspicion is being pointed to US labs also, of which two dozen are BSL-4 ones, as a possible source of, if not the virus itself, the biotechnology that made it possible. The US labs are not yet sufficiently investigated. The NIH has resisted disclosing details of its work on SARS-viruses and such research continues to be done. In fact, since labs doing such experiments are there in various countries it could have leaked from any of them. Both Spain and Italy reported the presence of SARS-CoV-2-like viruses in their countries in March and September, 2019, though with the caveat that more data, more studies, and more samples were required to corroborate this finding. This could be proof of its non-lab zoonotic spillover origins also.

All these hypotheses need to be kept on the table; they are by no means mutually exclusive. In an Age where epidemics and pandemics are coming up due to systemic reasons to ‘prepare’ for another one is quite natural on the part of the elites in terms of how best to utilise such situations to their advantage, which is what they have done.

No government, neither the Chinese nor the US, is interested in the actual facts coming out and are actually colluding with each other in this cover-up of origins since they are both implicated in and collaborate in this dangerous research. Since their economies are quite strongly interlinked, there is not just contention due to China’s rising status as a big imperialist power, but certainly also collusion in this relationship. The WHO, too, being funded by big pharmaceutical corporations and governments, is complicit in this cover-up.

The manner in which the Covid-19 story has played itself out it seems to confirm the thesis of capitalism today being catabolic in nature. Catabolic capitalism is a self-cannibalising system whose insatiable hunger for profit can only be fed by devouring the society that sustains it, gorging itself on one self-inflicted disaster after another with militarism, nationalism and authoritari-anism being its key components. The pandemic induced temporary boom for some global companies is now ending up in a bust situation, for e.g., for IT majors and leading to enormous numbers of lay-offs and joblessness and indebtedness. Europe is again entangled in war and there is world-wide recession.

People must respect the laws of Nature, restore the lost ecological balance, and drastically reduce polluting activity. These are the only viable and lasting solutions. In truth only a socialist reset could possibly save humanity. 


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Vol 56, No. 17-20, Oct 22 - Nov 18, 2023