Covid-19 and HIV

The covid-19 pandemic evokes deja vu, and is something that was foreshadowed in lessons never learned from the AIDS epidemic. 

This section will contend as to why mainstream science and media for largely political reasons have downplayed the likelihood of a lab origin of the novel coronavirus.

To say "lab origin" does not necessarily imply "lab engineered", although that is also a possibility.  One of the lessons that has yet to capture enough public attention is simply the lack of wisdom in bringing a wide variety of unknown and potentially dangerous viruses into major population centers, which is precisely what had been going on in Wuhan, China, including bat coronaviruses which are believed to be the progenitors of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

When important truths are difficult to know or even to investigate, it is helpful at least to identify without inhibition or assumption, all the major branches of possibilities, and to know at least that truth has to reside somewhere amid the permutations:

   * accident of nature or human-caused

  * lab manipulation of a virus, or simply virus specimens stored in a lab

  * accidental release or covert biological attack

Any of those possibilities, as simply a hypothesis rather than a "claim" , is legitimate for postulating and investigating, on the face them.  They do not need upfront evidence to support them in order to justify an investigation, because collection of evidence is the major challenge of what the investigation would attempt to yield.  Our defense and intelligence services would be remiss in their duties if they failed to acknowledge that any such things are at least theoretical possibilities, to take them seriously, and to attempt to make a determination where truth exists.  However, there is no reason for the public to treat these subjects as taboos, and simply wait to be told by higher authorities as to what has really happened.   They cannot assume that government institutions will fully inform the public if, for example, discovering that some of the government's own blunders have helped to precipitate an unmitigated crisis.

The "escape from lab" scenario is sometimes branded as "conspiracy theory" in attempt to discredit it, yet there is no "conspiracy" involved.  It is surmising merely an accident in a lab, that is hardly unprecedented, including for labs in Wuhan, China, which have had repeated and documented examples of lab accidents, which the reader can easily find in web-search.

On the other hand, the 'seafood market' theory is sometimes stated in mainstream articles as if virtual fact, when it is probably as flimsy as any "conspiracy theory" and could by rights be as easily dismissed as "not supported by the evidence".  Among the very earliest cases of covid-19, some had never set foot within the seafood market.  In spite of any viral YouTube videos showing a woman eating bat soup, the alleged market in Wuhan was primarily a seafood market, not selling bats or pangolins.   The 'seafood market' theory requires the premise that novel coronavirus had to jump first from bats to some other unknown animal in the market, then then to humans.  Contrary to a notion planted by right-wing American media, most people in Wuhan and in China do not eat bats.  Bats harboring coronaviruses similar to the novel coronavirus are about 1000 miles away, while in contrast the suspected lab in Wuhan is nearby.  More likely, the 'seafood market' theory is deliberate propaganda trying to distract from the greater possibility of lab origin.

Moratorium End on 'Gain of Function' Virus Research

A term that needs to enter the public vocabulary:

     Gain-of-function (GOF) research involves experimentation that aims to increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens.

In other words, this refers to lab manipulation to make viruses more contagious and/or more deadly.  There had been a moratorium on gain-of-function research in the United States, for obvious reasons, but as a coincidence of timing, the moratorium had been rescinded with little fanfare in Dec 2017.  According to the prestigious Lancet journal, the NIH specifically had interest on "gain-of-function' research involving coronaviruses:

     Infectious Diseases

    NEWSDESK| VOLUME 18, ISSUE 2, P148-149, FEBRUARY 01, 2018

     Talha Burki
     Published:February, 2018

   The US moratorium on gain-of-function experiments has been rescinded, but scientists are split over the benefits--and risks--of such studies.
   involving influenza, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus.
   A moratorium had been in place since October, 2014. At the time, the NIH had stated that the moratorium will be effective until a robust
   and broad deliberative process is completed that results in the adoption of a new US Government gain-of- function research policy`.
   This process has now concluded.

Fort Detrick Closure

Fort Detrick is a 1,200 acre military facility in Fredrick, Maryland that historically has had some notoriety as the center of U.S. biological warfare research.  Their charter today is officially for "biodefense", but there has been some lingering skepticism that the line between defensive and offensive research can be sometimes blurred or misrepresented.  In any case, Fort Detrick, like the Wuhan lab, entails research involving warehousing of dangerous pathogens.

Another coincidence of timing is that the Fort Detrick had been shut down in August 2019 for a period of time, due to safety concerns, as reported in the New York Times:

     Deadly Germ Research Is Shut Down at Army Lab Over Safety Concerns
     Problems with disposal of dangerous materials led the government to suspend
    research at the military’s leading biodefense center.

     by Denise Grady
     Aug. 5, 2019

    Safety concerns at a prominent military germ lab have led the government to
    shut down research involving dangerous microbes like the Ebola virus.

     `Research is currently on hold,` the United States Army Medical Research
     Institute of Infectious Diseases, in Fort Detrick, Md., said in a statement
     on Friday. The shutdown is likely to last months, Caree Vander Linden, a
     spokeswoman, said in an interview.

The reported issues involved safety of wastewater management, but some of them were apparently multiple issues, some of which were classified and not known to the public.  In any case, at least one take-away lesson in the context of the covid-19 pandemic is the danger of harboring dangerous viruses in populated areas and for recurring safety lapses.  The term "biosafety" lab is probably a misnomer that would might be better stated as "biodanger" lab.

 7th Summer Military World Games

Yet a third coincidence of timing, as reported in the Fredrick News-Post, "Chinese officials have suggested that the coronavirus was created at Fort Detrick. The first conspiracy claim was that soldiers who trained near Fort Detrick brought the disease with them during the World Military Games in October."

Again, to characterize this as a "conspiracy" claim would be misleading unless the Chinese officials intended to imply that the military athletes who were possibly infected were sent deliberately as a covert action to spread disease to China.  If athletes were merely infected without their knowing, and spreading accidentally, then there is no "conspiracy".

Fort Detrick and the U.S government of course deny the allegations, but since that is nearly inevitable, it leaves the public with an open question mark.

American media like to portray the Chinese allegation as something absurd or as propaganda, but there is more potential credibility to the suggestion than the media would like to admit.  A number of U.S. athletes were ill and been hospitalized in China.  The hotel at which they stayed was directly across, in walking distance of the seafood market that was identified as the source of covid-19.  A number of employees at the hotel came down with the disease.

Oddly enough, as reported by Global Times, "A Wuhan hospital clarified the clinical diagnoses of five foreign athletes at the 7th CISM Military World Games held in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province in October 2019, saying that they contracted malaria and were not infected by the novel coronavirus."

Obviously, this hospital head and Chinese official who believed that the athletes might have brought covid-19 to Wuhan were not on the same page.  The claim of "malaria" is extremely dubious, though, to a point that seems almost knowingly false.  Wuhan is modern city, not a Third World backwater.  The CDC website, which has malaria warnings for most regions where it might be a problem, had no such warning for Wuhan.  In fact, the CDC indicated that Chinese cities with heavy tourism and visited by river cruises are generally not a problem, as is true of Wuhan, on the confluence of the Han and Yangtze Rivers.

Even greater reason for skepticism on the "malaria" claim is that fact that the Americans were not the only ones who became ill.  Athletes from other countries did, as well.   As quoted in Wikipedia, "A large number of athletes from different delegations around the world had fallen ill with unusual symptoms during the games which some attribute to COVID-19."

From :

     "Renowned Italian fencer Matteo Tagliariol told Corriere della Sera newspaper
    that he fell ill almost immediately after his return from Wuhan:

    `When we arrived in Wuhan we almost all got sick,` said Tagliariol. `But the
    worst was the return home. After a week I had a very high fever, I felt that
    I wasn't breathing,` added Tagiariol, 37. `The sickness didn't even go away
    with antibiotics, I recovered after three weeks and remained debilitated for
   a long time. Then my son and my partner got sick. When they started talking
   about the virus, I said to myself: I got it too.`"

 An important note about malaria is that it is not contagious by person-to-person contact.  Each victim would have to be bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito.  For the large number of athletes to be so infected would be exceedingly improbable.  It is possible that the athletes were treated with anti-malaria drugs, as has sometimes been attempted with covid-19, but that is very different than having malaria.

There are two major branches of possibility: 1) the American athletes brought SARS-CoV-2 to Wuhan, infected the other athletes, as well as starting the pandemic in Wuhan that was later recognized, the next month, or 2) the covid-19 epidemic was actually already raging in Wuhan earlier than thought, in October instead of when first diagnosed in November.  Perhaps this was not realized, or was being at the time covered-up, causing all the athletes to be infected by interaction with the Wuhan population.

It is likely that the Wuhan Military Games in any cases acted as a super-spreader event.  In the early days of the U.S. pandemic, the spread seemed so uniform around different parts of the U.S. simultaneously, instead of starting at a few hot spots, and fanning out progressively from there, that it could have given an impression of intentional seeding by covert biological warfare.  However, the games themselves might provide a clue of how the widespread distribution had occurred.  When the games ended, the American athletes returned to at least 219 home bases in 25 states, without ever being screened for possible COVID-19

If SARS-CoV-2 were already present in the American athletes before they went to Wuhan, the relevance of training on the Fort Detrick grounds would most likely have to do with interactions with Fort Detrick personnel, in the form of asymptomatic carriers, and not from any contamination of the grounds, themselves.

 Questions that should be asked in order to try to determine which scenario is correct:  1) did any of the athletes in fact have a covid-19 diagnosis?  2) did any of the American athletes suffer any symptoms at all before going to Wuhan? 3) when did the first cases of covid-19 really appear in Wuhan: before October 2019, or after?

Toward this end, the Chinese government, to show good faith, should allow foreign investigators to conduct confidential interviews with random Wuhan residents.

To show good faith, the Pentagon would have to be pressured to allow confidential interviews by investigators with all of the American athletes, and release of their medical records.


Even if the Wuhan lab turned out to be the real originator of SARS-CoV-2 rather than Fort Detrick, there is still some possibility of the U.S. sharing in some of the responsibility and negligence.  As reported in TIMESOFINDIA.COM / Updated: Apr 29, 2020, 18:30 IST:

Top US health advisor Dr Fauci backed controversial Wuhan lab for risky
coronavirus research: Report

     NEW DELHI: An organization backed by top US health advisor Dr Anthony Fauci
     had funded Chinese scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology for research
     on coronavirus, claimed a report published by the globally respected US
     weekly magazine Newsweek. In 2019, the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
    with the backing of Fauci-led National Institute for Allergy and Infectious
    Diseases (NIAID), committed $3.7 million over six years for research on bat
    coronaviruses in China, according to a report in Newsweek. The research also
    included gain of function work, which involves manipulating viruses in the
    lab to explore their potential for infecting humans.

    The program followed another $3.7 million, 5-year project for collecting and
    studying bat coronaviruses, which ended in 2019, bringing the total to $7.4
    million, it said. The report comes days after the Trump administration
    refused to rule out that the deadly virus leaked out of a laboratory in the
    Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, a scenario strenuously denied by Beijing.


In 01/2020, the Indian Institute of Technology published a study suggested that the SARS-CoV-2 had gene sequence insertions from HIV:

This was entitled "Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag".

The study identified 4 sections from SARS-CoV-2 that matched HIV.  Critics immediately denounced the study and tried to discredit it by saying that many viruses and even tissue from plants matched the same segments.  The authors came under heavy pressure to retract their study. The specific segments are relatively short, which allows for more matches.  However, the criticisms were overlooking the fact that out of viruses that match all four segments, there were only 3 matches, one of which was HIV.

Corroboration for the study later came from no less than the Nobel-prizing winning co-discoverer of HIV, Luc Montagnier, who proclaimed emphatically that SARS-CoV-2 contained segments from HIV.  When asked if this could have been the result of some other natural process, Montagnier was clear, "“No, In order to insert HIV sequences into this (Covid) genome, molecular tools are needed, and that can be only be done in a laboratory.", and in another interview said, "No it’s not natural. It’s a lab work of professional molecular biologists. It’s a very accurate work.. we can say a work of watchmaker.."

Montagnier also said, "The Wuhan city laboratory has specialised in these coronaviruses since the early 2000s,  They have expertise in this area."

 A Snopes fact-check grudgingly acknowledged Montagnier's statements as a correct attribution, but was quick to add a disclaimer, "Keep in mind, the opinion of one person does not outweigh the consensus of the scientific community."  While that might be true, it is also true that scientific community consensus can often bow to heavy political pressure and a might fear creating panic or war-cries in an already-jittery public.  However, if Montagnier's allegation were true and simply ignored, there would also be a danger of creating a public complacency that would defeat the sort of mass indignation that could lead to a curtailing of secretive and irresponsible lab experimentation.

In a style typical of pseudo-skeptics who overstate their case, proclaimed as if unquestionable fact, "No, SARS-CoV-2 does not contain HIV genetic code!", among many similar examples.

A key to the question of whether SARS-Cov-2 has any meaningful relation to HIV is whether the virus' effect on the human body has any functional similarity.  Does SARS-Cov-2 cause any immune suppression?  Does it destroy T-cells?

That answer can be found easily in web-search:

      Novel coronavirus attacks and destroys T cells, just like HIV

For some reason, in web-search it is difficult to find the juxtaposition of some of these key revelations, to make a complete picture.

Similarly, Norwegian virologist Birger Sorensen  published a study in Cambridge University's QRB Discovery, which also claims that Sars-CoV-2 did not evolve naturally, and was artificially manipulated.  "The spike proteins of the virus contain `inserted sections`", said the study.

As reported in :

     Gain Of Function Studies
     Birger Sorenson told the news agency that he believes the virus is related to a number of `gain of function studies` being carried out in China.

     He also added, that United States and China had been collaborating on such research for many years.

    To artificially increase the transmissibility of a virus and for its ease to repeat scientific experiments, the virus are manipulated.
    Often referred to as `chimera.`

     The inserted sequences should never have been published. Had it been today, it would never have happened. It was a big mistake the Chinese made.
     The inserted sequences have a functionality that we describe. We explain why they are essential. But the Chinese pointed to them first.

Montagnier said he believed that the Wuhan lab was trying to make an AIDS vaccine. That seems peculiar as a theory in contrast to "covert biological warfare experimentation", especially if there is evidence of any "gain-of-function" manipulation that might have made a coronavirus more capable of invading human host cells.  Perhaps even Montagnier would be shy of a proposition that would be even more politically explosive.  Further explanation of the reasons behind the "vaccine" theory would be appropriate.

Another question is whether Chinese virologists have any record of experimentation that specifically involve both coronaviruses and HIV in any way.

Below is an example, from an article that was entitled exactly that,  "Researchers in the Wuhan Institute of Virology have worked on or conducted
studies combining SARS-CoV and an HIV pseudovirus in bats and humans."

      Published: 22 June 2010
     Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) proteins of different bat species
     confer variable susceptibility to SARS-CoV entry
     Yuxuan Hou, Cheng Peng, Meng Yu, Yan Li, Zhenggang Han, Fang Li, Lin-Fa Wang & Zhengli Shi
     Archives of Virology volume 155, pages1563-1569(2010)

     The discovery of SARS-like coronavirus in bats suggests that bats could be
     the natural reservoir of SARS-CoV. However, previous studies indicated the
     angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) protein, a known SARS-CoV receptor,
     from a horseshoe bat was unable to act as a functional receptor for SARS-CoV.
     Here, we extended our previous study to ACE2 molecules from seven additional
     bat species and tested their interactions with human SARS-CoV spike protein
     using both HIV-based pseudotype and live SARS-CoV infection assays.
     results show that ACE2s of Myotis daubentoni and Rhinolophus sinicus support
     viral entry mediated by the SARS-CoV S protein, albeit with different
     efficiency in comparison to that of the human ACE2. Further, the alteration
     of several key residues either decreased or enhanced bat ACE2 receptor
     efficiency, as predicted from a structural modeling study of the different
     at ACE2 molecules.

Note that date of the study is 2010, nine years before the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, so apparently research of this sort had been going on for quite some time.

Note also the references to ACE2, which is easily found in web-search in relation to covid-19: "The ACE2 receptor is responsible for binding the SAR-CoV2 viral spike and causing COVID-19 infection."

To refer to SARS-CoV-2 as "airborne AIDS" would be oversimplified and misleading.  There are significant differences: SARS-CoV-2 can enter and kill T-cells, but does not perform viral replication in them, as does HIV.  Although both are RNA viruses, their mechanism of replication is different. Retroviruses such as HIV use an enzyme called reverse transcriptase, which creates DNA from an RNA blueprint, but SARS-CoV-2 does not.

Some more critical questions concerning the origin of SARS-CoV-2: 1) Do the specific gene sequences in SARS-CoV-2 that match HIV have any direct relation to the similarities of infection patterns between HIV and SARS-CoV-2?  2) Do any documented, specific experiments such as the above have any possible bearing on the origins of SARS-CoV-2?

Even a fact of biological warfare research would not mean that the pandemic was an act of biological warfare.  Most advanced nations have at least "defensive" research, but that research can be as dangerous as offensive research.  Accidental lab release could as easily spawn a global pandemic.


 Francis Boyle is another figure who is on record in the belief that covid-19 was man-made.

Boyle is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He drafted the U.S. domestic implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention, known as the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, that was approved unanimously by both Houses of the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.

He believes that covid-19 was man-made as part of a Chinese biological weapons in the Wuhan biosafety level 4 lab.

 His commentary is easily found as videos by searching for his name in YouTube.


The Nov 22 issue of Scientific American provides a good example of bland, mainstream narrative concerning covid-19.  It discusses what it calls "insidious falsehoods" about covid-19, starting with the contention that SARS-CoV-2 might have escaped from a lab ("COVID-19 Misinformation That Won't Go Away, by Tanya Lewis".)  The article is superficial and condescending in tone, claiming that the lab origin theory is "without evidence". 

 The entire preceding discussion does not constitute proof, but in the very least is "evidence".  It becomes a wave of the hand to morph what is actually "ignored evidence" into simply "no evidence".  The article states as virtual fact "WHY IT'S FALSE" about lab origin, based largely on the argument simply that U.S. intelligence agencies say so, as if to say, "end of story, that is all that you need to know." 

Should one suppose that U.S. intelligence services or governments base their positions more on 1) their high regard for truth, or 2) what they believe is most to their strategic interests?  If the editors of Scientific American wonder why the "misinformation" will not go away, perhaps it has something to do with their adopting a patronizing stance of expert authority, while combining with an almost child-like naivety.

The article also explains under "WHY IT'S FALSE" that Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli, who some suspect of releasing the virus, compared the SARS-CoV-2 with other samples of bat coronavirus that she had collected, and found no similarity.  Therefore, Q.E.D, all good. She totally exonerated herself and her lab.

It reminds of investigations of criminal activities by secretive U.S. intelligence agencies, where they investigate themselves and find themselves innocent.

According to the article, "China has invited researchers to discuss the scope" of an independent investigation, but no such investigation has yet taken place.  Such an investigation would face an uphill battle in trying to find the truth, long after the fact, when the Chinese government might have a lot of control over what investigators are allowed to see.

There are plenty of reasons why a fact of lab origin, much less biowarfare research origin, could be against either U.S. or Chinese government interests. It would rattle stock markets; it could create dangerous tension between nations.  But the public should push back against the mainstream attempts to silence a legitimate discussion on matters that would be of high importance if correct,  by methods of name-calling and reputation smearing.


The key intent here is to document that the possibility of lab accident spawning the covid-19 pandemic is substantial, and that attempts to downplay the possibility are rightfully suspected as political.  There are more extreme theories: that global elites are staging the pandemic for profit, including from vaccines, or for motive of population control.  No possibilities should be completely dismissed, simply out-of-hand, but the purpose in this essay is to focus on the higher probability of the "lab accident" scenario, even if the accident involved research that might have been ultimately aimed at creating an arsenal of biological weapons.

Research for biological weapons does not necessarily imply any intent to deploy them, but more likely, simply to have them on hand, just in case, the same as for nuclear weapons.  Probably, if crown jewel secrets could be spilled, it would be found that most major nations are quietly doing the same thing.

The purpose of this essay is also not even so much to advocate for a specific theory, but to outline some key possibilities and to pose questions that merit further investigation.

In the published record of experimentation in the field of microbiology, there is much reason for public concern, yet there is not nearly so much attention or awareness, compared to other security threats like nuclear safety or global warming.  The world of classified research in all likelihood would be even more concerning, but the problem is compounded because it is beyond public awareness.  When an accident such as the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster occurs, at least it is undeniable and everyone knows what caused the problem.  With biological accidents, it can (and most likely always will be) blamed on natural causes and will be forever the subject of speculation.  Healthy speculation just might be the only hope to avoid much worse future accidents.  The covid-19 pandemic  should be a wake-up call to the public that they need to be more concerned with what goes on in laboratories, and their safety measures, and what might be going on behind closed doors.

Countries such as China, Iran and the United States are all prone to suspect and to blame each other, which is counterproductive.  All of the major powers are in reality guilty of similar sins when it comes to biological and weapons research.  The covid-19 pandemic should also be a reminder why adversarial relationships are hazardous, why diplomacy is not weakness, and how the desire for political and economic dominance is exacerbating situations that could lead to tension and conflict.