The arguments have raged as to whether COVID-19 escaped from a Chinese virology lab. Well, the time to argue is past. And the time to accept the shocking truth is here. COVID-19 is a laboratory-enhanced, genetically engineered, human-created monster that has killed 3 million people—and counting.
The facts in this case are actually pretty simple once you know them. 1. Dr. Shi Zheng-Li of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and her co-workers got a bat virus from a cave and altered it with synthetic DNA technology to see if they could make it deadlier toward humans. 2. The experiment was wildly successful. 3. The virus escaped.
It is really that bad. The unimaginable-but-true news has been simmering just at the edges of certainty for some time. But thanks to a brilliant deductive article published by Nicholas Wade in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the word is out. His scholarly review of the evidence is dense with technical terms, so I suppose it takes someone with a PhD and a career in vaccinology to read and fully understand it. Well, I’ve read it. I understand it. And I blame Dr. Shi for the creation of this monster, and the sloppy handling that unleashed it on the world.
I won’t go into detail on the damning evidence because 99%+ of my readers don’t cart around a PhD or my life’s experience. Just suffice it to say that the code-letters written above are incontrovertible proof that people chemically synthesized a stretch of viral DNA and spliced it into the virus’ own genetic material—and then reassembled the monster in the lab, a lot like Dr. Frankenstein did in Mary Shelley’s chilling tale.
This is hauntingly familiar to me, and to those who’ve read my novel, The Smallpox Incident, where international terrorists did exactly this to create a new-and-deadlier form of the smallpox virus. In the case of COVID-19, there is no hint of actual bioterrorism, but to my way of thinking, there’s something even worse: people bumbling around in a lab without adequate protections to assure their monster didn’t escape.
It did—that’s now a fact of history. Wade’s article explains that Shi’s experiments were carried out, by her own admission, with a low level of biocontainment called BCL2 (Bio-Containment-Level 2). For a deadly virus, the only acceptable level is, or should be, BCL4. At BCL4, people wear moon-suits and work in totally sealed, sterilized labs (like the one I described in The Smallpox Incident). Dr. Shi’s level of negligence looks criminal to me, and if that’s true, she ought to get plenty of jail time to ponder what she’s done. We’ll see how that works out.
Well, that’s about all I’ve got for now. This has been a tough note to write, especially since my training and experience gets me well out in front of public opinion on this one. But that’s just the way it is. We’ve all moved into a realm where novels like mine cease to be fictionalized nightmare scenarios. With this astonishing event, we move into a world where science fiction becomes a terrifying reality.