Mercola Natural Health Articles
Dr. Mercola Interviews the Experts
This article is part of a weekly series in which Dr. Mercola interviews various experts on a variety of health issues. To see more expert interviews, click here.
Dr. Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist, has written more than a dozen bestselling books on psychiatry and the drug industry. He's frequently referred to as “the conscience of psychiatry” because he's been able to successfully reform the psychiatric profession, abolishing one of the most harmful practices, namely lobotomies and other experimental psychosurgeries.
He was the first to take a public stand against lobotomies as a young man, and was able to change the field as a result. He’s featured in Aaron and Melissa Dykes’ excellent documentary, “The Minds of Men.”1
Now 83 years old, Breggin has seen a lot, and in this interview, he shares his own evolution and experiences as a psychiatrist. His interest in psychiatry began at the age of 18, when he became a volunteer at a local state mental hospital.
“It was a nightmare,” he says. “It was like my uncle Dutch's descriptions of liberating a Nazi concentration camp. The place stank. People were sitting in these bare, barren concrete corridors.
They had a TV set that wasn't working … and bolted down tables and chairs so the people couldn't throw them at each other. No attention being given to them at all. Often just sitting there; some hallucinating, and somebody told me that the girl in the corner coiled up in a ball on the floor by a radiator had been a Radcliffe student ...
The doctors were callous, the aids were callous, there was just no love in the place at all. I could tell, even though I didn't really have much experience growing up with love, I could feel that what was missing was love, care, nurturing. It was so clear.”
Breggin eventually became the leader of that volunteer program. He and 200 other students painted the walls and took patients for walks. He asked the superintendent to assign one patient per volunteer aid, to build real relationships. The superintendent balked at the idea, but eventually gave in. Breggin tells this story in his book, “Toxic Psychiatry.”2
“We ended up getting almost every patient out of that hospital,” he says. “We got them placed in different places that were much better. We got some back with their families. It was so clear to me that this was the way to go …
I watched electroshock and insulin coma shock where people would come in and they'd give them overdoses of insulin to send them into coma. They'd be frothing at the mouth, unconscious, having seizures and getting ready to die, literally. Then they would give them orange juice or sugar water and they would become alert again.
It was so clear to me what was going on. People would come in full of energy — angry, depressed, anxious and often resistant … They'd get this injection of insulin to knock them out, killing them, basically, but when they came awake they were like puppies. They were grateful, they said ‘Thank you, I feel like you saved me.’ They'd be docile … There's no fooling about what this was. I knew exactly what it was.
I knew what shock treatment was … I've been fighting this, but we're still doing it … It's when they put electrodes on the forehead of the brain … You get a shock of a voltage … 10 times what you need to give convulsions … and it makes docility. It makes people out of touch with themselves. It makes people unable to complain … [Elevated mood] is the artificial euphoria [caused by] brain damage. This is very brain damaging.”
All of this is what motivated Breggin to go into psychiatry, in order to help reform the profession from the inside. Interestingly, as early as 1963, Jerry Klerman, who later became the highest-ranking psychiatrist in the federal government and a professor at Harvard, told Breggin there was no future in helping people strengthen their mental resilience.
The future, Klerman told him, was in drugs, and using computers to decide which drugs to use. After his first year at Harvard medical school, Breggin left and went back to the Upstate Medical Center (University) in New York, where he had already done internship.
“Then I went on to the National Institute of Mental Health … for two years. There I saw clearly what was happening. Psychiatry was leaving the psychosocial model behind.
My volunteer program had already been described by the last big Federal Commission on Mental Health. It's mentioned two or three times and described as one of the solutions to the vast mental hospital problems … Nothing about drugs, drugging and shocking people in it.
It was much more real, much more about what was really going on with human beings and human sufferings, spiritual, psychological. I could just see this writing on the wall and I was not sure what to do. I was invited to stay at the National Institute of Mental Health.
I accepted briefly, in the child division. I was very interested in helping children. Then I thought, I can't do this. I gave them warning without even having a job that I was leaving. I didn't know what else to do, so I went into private practice.”
Breggin Spearheaded Drug-Free Psychiatry
Breggin focused on helping people without medication. “I learned very quickly that the most disturbed people would calm down and relate when somebody cared about them, wasn't afraid of them, was interested in them and made no pretense of being superior to them,” he says. Drugs, he explains, were simply stifling the patients. While they might ease some of the suffering, that relief came at the expense of brain damage.
Breggin goes on to tell the story of how he prevented the return of lobotomies and psychosurgeries — strategies in which the brain is purposely damaged through electric shocks, radium chip implants or puncturing the prefrontal area of the brain with an ice pick inserted next to the eyeball, for example.
Breggin refers to lobotomies as a rape of the soul, the permanent mutilation of an individual’s selfhood, as damage to one area of the brain will harm the integration of the whole brain. As noted by Breggin, you cannot “plop out aggression” like a pit out of an olive. The brain doesn’t work like that. It’s an integrated organ and mental processes arise from integrated processes involving many different areas of the brain.
He decided somebody had to stop the madness. And, while he received no support from any other well-known psychiatrist or professor, and came under vehement attack by the establishment, including threats of physical violence against himself and his family that at times necessitated the use of bodyguards.
Breggin eventually succeeded. It’s a fascinating story, so I highly recommend listening to the whole interview. When asked why he took on this formidable fight, he says:
“When I saw what was being done to people, I said ‘Somebody has to do this. I have no choice about this.’ I had no idea what I was up against. I had no idea that everywhere there would be enemies; that I'd be threatened with violence.
When I was invited to speak by Harvard Medical students, that people would rip down all the signs about the meeting; that there'd be blowback on the students and stuff like that. I had no idea what I was walking into.”
The Lawsuit That Ended Lobotomies
The end of lobotomies was brought about by a lawsuit filed by a young lawyer named Gabe Kaimowitz on behalf of a chronically hospitalized patient who had been promised release from the mental hospital if he underwent experimental psychosurgery. Breggin tells the story:
“[Kaimowitz] found out they were going to do a psychosurgery experimentation in the state hospital with a local university, Wayne's State. It was all set up to go. He intervened. In fact, the case is called by his name, which is unusual … Kaimowitz v. The Department of Mental Health Wayne State University.
A three-judge panel met about the case. This [patient] had been interviewed by the Commissioner of Mental Health. He had been chronically hospitalized and then allegedly had sexually assaulted a nurse or something, but there was no record of it and certainly no adjudication about it; no meetings about it. He was a lifetime patient.
The Commissioner told him he could get out if he underwent the psychosurgery. Well, the judges looked over his case and decided that, first, he was going to be discharged because he was being held illegally. They discharged John Doe. Then the state said, ‘Well, the case is over.’ They said ‘No. You guys have set up this whole thing. We're going to look at it.’
Well, I was the go-to person as … [Kaimowitz] brought me in. I couldn't testify the first day because they were filibustering me. They wanted to force me to stay overnight so that … they'd have the whole weekend to review the case with the surgeons. Follow me?
Of course, they're forcing me into testifying in the afternoon, filibustering in the morning. Gabe said, ‘This is really too bad because now they're going to have the whole weekend to talk about your testimony with the surgeons.’ I said, ‘No, no, no. We'll filibuster back. I'll testify on something else for the afternoon.’ He said, ‘How are you going to do that?’
I said, ‘Well, I'll talk about the history of psychiatry. I'm going to tie it into the extermination camps, which were very much modeled on state mental hospitals. Show the comparison and hopefully the judges will invoke the Nuremberg Code, which says that, of course, that man couldn't volunteer in a state mental hospital because he's in a total institution, just like the Nuremberg Code was applied to.
He said, ‘OK.’ I gave him a few questions and we went that afternoon and did that. Then on the following Monday, I started to talk about psychosurgery. They were so unprepared that all they could do was go through this 100-page paper that I had written …
We won the trial and it stopped, on the spot, all psychosurgery in the state hospitals in the federal programs. NIH stopped; VA stopped and all the state hospitals stopped. This was 1972-1973.”
It’s important to realize just how important this was, to put a stop to the return of lobotomies and experimental psychosurgeries. It was widely accepted as a practical solution for all sorts of problems, including race riots and behavioral problems among young children.
The beginning of the end of psychosurgery was the early 1970s. At that time, Breggin, who for most of his career struggled to get support, got the support of the Congressional Black Caucus, who could see the social consequences of psychosurgery being used on black children, as well as certain conservative Senators who thought it was immoral.
“I was the first person to criticize lobotomies in public, let alone the first psychiatrist. It was crazy. I still don't understand human beings. I work hard about it, but I keep falling short. I couldn't believe that I was so alone doing this,” he says.
The Dangers of Speaking Out Against Prozac
Breggin also had a hand in getting the word out about the dangers of Prozac. In his 1991 book, “Toxic Psychiatry,” he briefly mentioned Prozac is likely to do a lot of harm, and that there were already reports of the drug causing violent aggression.
He was later asked to be the sole scientific expert to put together the science for several dozen lawsuits against Eli Lilly, in which patients or their families claimed the drug had caused violent episodes, suicide, homicide, mania or psychosis. The drama and intrigue surrounding this trial rivals any good spy novel, so for more details, listen to the interview.
As just one example, at the time of his deposition against Eli Lilly, he, his wife and daughter all developed severe illness. By chance, a plumber they’d called in to fix a problem in the basement discovered the stovepipe for the gas heater had been disconnected and was laying out of sight, as if purposely hidden, pumping gas into the house.
Before that, the family had received death threats, and Breggin had called the FBI. Agents claiming to be FBI had visited his family, but something obviously wasn’t right.
“When I called the FBI back, they said they had no record of coming to see me,” Breggin says. “It got very weird … We were in this strange world. People would get angry at me in the audiences. By the way, that never happens, anymore … I want people to know, the environment has changed completely.
So many people now know that drugs are dangerous and shock treatment is horrible. But, the power of psychiatry grows and the drug companies grow … and more and more people are being recruited by all the ads and all the fake science. It is all fake science. You can look at any of my books. If you want it quicker, look up my YouTube channel.”
In broad strokes, the Eli Lilly trial turned out to be fixed in Eli Lilly’s favor and Breggin was set up to fail in his investigation. The plaintiffs lost the case and Eli Lilly was cleared of charges. Eventually, however, evidence emerged showing Eli Lilly lawyers had bribed some of the plaintiffs and arranged for a secret settlement provided they lost the case.
A Supreme Court judge in Kentucky declared the trial a fraud and changed the verdict to “a secret settlement with prejudice.” When the judge decided to disclose the amount of the secret settlement, he was removed and replaced with another judge who decided the settlement amount was not to be disclosed as it might hurt Eli Lilly. The full details of this remarkable case can be found in Breggin’s book, “Medication Madness.”3
Electroshock Treatment — A Real-World Conspiracy
One psychiatric treatment Breggin has not been able to eliminate is electroshock treatment (ECT), which is actually starting to be used more and more. Breggin says:
“I've worked on denting shock treatment. Then finally, a class action suit was brought against the manufacturers. They lost against the first manufacturer. There are only two [manufacturers] in North America, and I wasn't involved. Then they called me in. Of course, they expected, again, to just get it thrown out of court.
I did a scientific brief for the judge on brain damage from ECT. The judge decided that there was sufficient evidence for brain damage to make it a jury question. This was huge. The judge focused on the single most important thing he could.
The drug company, within days, settled and put out a statement to the FDA that ECT can cause brain damage and severe memory loss. All that's up on my website, and I've written blogs about it … to show you the nature of what is definitely a conspiracy of people working together toward the same aim and being evil about it.
Within days, the FDA approved ECT for the first time for treatment-resistant depression, which means nothing. It’s used more and more. It's not less. I don't think we slowed it down with this, but we made a big gain. We now have a record of a drug company admitting to the FDA it causes brain damage and so on.
Then the FDA with all its power comes right back and then approves ECT for the first time. They had never approved it. They tried to and there was so much opposition they didn't do it. Then when the drug companies got hurt, it was within days that they approved it. Wow.”
On Neuralink and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
Breggin also discusses the hazards of transcranial direct current stimulation and Neuralink, a transcranial implant designed by the Elon Musk Company. Elon is probably doing this because he’s concerned about the integration of artificial intelligence, which is coming.
He fears the human race could become subservient to artificial intelligence. He thinks one of the preservation strategies is to allow us to sort of keep pace with these advances. Breggin comments:
“This is the new cutting edge that I'm trying to get across to people. I have a new show. If you go to my YouTube channel and look at [my interview with] the Dykes … I did a show about this saying that this is worse than the psychiatry we have now. I'm focusing on all the electronics.
The FDA has approved electrodes on the heads of children to leave them on all night long to give them low voltage stimulation, which is going to go through the skin, back up the nerves, all the way to the frontal lobes in an entirely disruptive hammer-like, crushing way. It's going to blunt the kids. It's horrible. They studied it for four weeks and approved it, if you can imagine that.
It's low voltage, but we know it disrupts brain waves. It's bizarre that they approved this. I started to take this on and then, or actually through Aaron and Melissa, I found out about what was being done by Elon Musk. What's interesting to me is that while Musk is so brilliant, he's stupid about the brain. That's probably because the neurosurgeons and psychiatrists he consults are stupid about the brain.
I mean they're just stupid. He wants to put in multiple threadlike electrodes into the brain, into webs of neurons, and put in low voltage stimulation. This is insane. The brain can't tolerate this. He hopes to [be able to] communicate but there's not going to be any communication.
The brain isn't going to talk to these electrodes. That's not how the brain works. The brain talks to itself. It's not going to talk to Elon Musk [or anyone else] and he's going to disrupt the brain talking to itself. It's a terrible thing to do.
I wish somebody who knows Elon Musk would say, ‘You ought to talk to Peter Breggin. He says your consultants are stupid.’ He's already planning to try to get FDA approval for some neurological disorders and that'll be the beginning of the onslaught.
Here's the really deadly part — a part to really think about and close with — and that is that the defense department, DARPA, is funding Musk.
The Dykes found out that the machine is going to be used to sew in these electrodes … through the funding of DARPA and work through UCLA, which has always been murderers of the brain. We shut down programs at UCLA going way back. We shut down a lot of different kinds of programs in my anti-psychosurgery campaign.”
July 31, 2020, I wrote about a Hong Kong whistleblower scientist who claims1 the Chinese government and World Health Organization representatives in Hong Kong covered up the Wuhan outbreak, allowing it to spread unchecked around the world.
In a Fox News interview in July 2020, the whistleblower, Dr. Li-Meng Yan — who worked at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health, a top coronavirus research lab — said her investigation into the SARS-like outbreak in Wuhan could have helped prevent a global pandemic from developing, had her supervisors shared her findings.
Yan was interviewed by Fox News again September 15, 2020 (above), this time about the report she just published, and Twitter promptly began censoring the interview from its platform.2
Yan claims her supervisor, WHO consultant Leo Poon, asked her to, secretly, investigate reports of a SARS-like illness spreading in Wuhan, China, in late December 2019. The Chinese government had refused overseas experts from getting involved, and Poon wanted her to figure out what was really going on.
Yan turned to a professional colleague who works in the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and had first-hand information about the outbreak. Yan was told there was likely human-to-human transmission occurring, as they had found family clusters of cases.
The WHO, however, did not confirm the human-to-human spread potential for several weeks. On the contrary, an official WHO statement said the virus “does not transmit readily between people.”
January 16, 2020, Yan was again asked to reach out to her contacts in China to see if she could learn more. Her CDC contacts were fearful, but it became clear that patients and front-line doctors were not being properly protected, and that Chinese authorities were trying to keep a lid on the flow of information.
When she updated Poon, he told her to stay silent and not cross the Chinese government, or else they’d both be “disappeared.” The co-director of the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health laboratory, professor Malik Peiris, also stayed quiet. Yan told Fox News she believes WHO colluded with the China Communist Party (CCP) government to prevent information about the virus from coming out.
The Yan Report Is Instantly Censored
Back in July 2020, Yan claimed she had proof that SARS-CoV-2 was manmade, and that once she released it, she would make it accessible to all. September 11, 2020, The Sun quoted statements made by Yan during a British TV interview that same morning, in which she said:3
“The genome sequence is like a human fingerprint. Based on this you can identify these things. I will [use this] evidence to tell people why this has come from the lab in China, why they are the ones who made it. Anyone, even if you have no biology knowledge, will be able to read it, and check and identify and verify it yourself.”
Three days later, September 14, 2020, Yan and her Ph.D. colleagues, Shu Kang, Jie Guan and Shanchang Hu, published the report,4 “Unusual Features of the SARS-CoV-2 Genome Suggesting Sophisticated Laboratory Modification Rather Than Natural Evolution and Delineation of Its Probable Synthetic Route” on the preprint server Zenodo.
On the morning of September 14, Yan posted a link to the paper on her Twitter account.5 Shortly thereafter, she posted another tweet saying Zenodo was “immediately hacked” once the report was posted. The following day, September 15, Twitter suspended her account.6 According to Yan’s report:7
"The evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 should be a laboratory product created by using bat coronaviruses ZC45 and/or ZXC21 as a template and/or backbone.
Building upon the evidence, we further postulate a synthetic route for SARS-CoV-2, demonstrating that the laboratory-creation of this coronavirus is convenient and can be accomplished in approximately six months.”
Before I get into the content of Yan’s report, it’s worth noting that questions have arisen as to whether she might be “controlled opposition.” Her report also appears very similar to the work8 of Yuri Deigin. In a September 16 Twitter post, Deigin says:9
“While it is flattering to see the Yan report citing our preprint with @Rossana38510044, I have to admit, I expected a whistleblower to present much more convincing (and new) evidence than just a rehash of what was already known months ago. Also, why no mention of the 2012 outbreak?”
Interestingly, a formerly anonymous scientist has now stepped forward as one of the three co-authors of Yan’s paper. The anonymous scientist has detailed scientific evidence showing SARS-CoV-2 is a manmade virus, and that there appears to be a concerted effort to promote the idea that SARS-CoV-2 is a natural occurrence, in a blog called Nerd Has Power.10
I reviewed some of the key take-home points of this work in “Why Was Wuhan Lab Locked Down When Outbreak Began” and “Undetectable Engineering Methods Used to Create SARS-CoV-2.”
Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute (a nonprofit research group that exposes human rights abuses and the myth of overpopulation11) has previously noted that because Nerd Has Power “published his raw data, I and others have been able to check and verify his work.”12
In a September 14, 2020, Twitter post,13 Nerd Has Power identifies himself as Shu Kang, one of the four authors of the Yan report. “Like my co-authors, I stand by this report 100%,” Kang says.
Yan Report Claims SARS-CoV-2 Was Genetically Engineered
As of this writing, the Zenodo website is back up and Yan’s paper is again available for viewing. Below are a few chosen excerpts.14 (If you like, you can compare it to Yurin’s Medium article.15)
“The receptor-binding motif of SARS-CoV-2 Spike cannot be born from nature and should have been created through genetic engineering.
The Spike proteins decorate the exterior of the coronavirus particles. They play an important role in infection as they mediate the interaction with host cell receptors and thereby help determine the host range and tissue tropism of the virus.
The Spike protein is split into two halves (Figure 3). The front or N-terminal half is named S1, which is fully responsible for binding the host receptor.
In both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 infections, the host cell receptor is hACE2. Within S1, a segment of around 70 amino acids makes direct contacts with hACE2 and is correspondingly named the receptor-binding motif (RBM) (Figure 3C).
In SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, the RBM fully determines the interaction with hACE2. The C-terminal half of the Spike protein is named S2. The main function of S2 includes maintaining trimer formation and, upon successive protease cleavages at the S1/S2 junction and a downstream S2’ position, mediating membrane fusion to enable cellular entry of the virus.
Similar to what is observed for other viral proteins, S2 of SARS-CoV-2 shares a high sequence identity (95%) with S2 of ZC45/ZXC21. In stark contrast, between SARS-CoV-2 and ZC45/ZXC21, the S1 protein, which dictates which host (human or bat) the virus can infect, is much less conserved with the amino acid sequence identity being only 69%.
Figure 4 shows the sequence alignment of the Spike proteins from six β coronaviruses. Two are viruses isolated from the current pandemic (Wuhan-Hu-1, 2019-nCoV_USA-AZ1); two are the suspected template viruses (Bat_CoV_ZC45, Bat_CoV_ZXC21); two are SARS coronaviruses (SARS_GZ02, SARS).
The RBM is highlighted in between two orange lines. Clearly, despite the high sequence identity for the overall genomes, the RBM of SARS-CoV-2 differs significantly from those of ZC45 and ZXC21.
Intriguingly, the RBM of SARS-CoV-2 resembles, on a great deal, the RBM of SARS Spike. Although this is not an exact ‘copy and paste,’ careful examination of the Spike-hACE2 structures reveals that all residues essential for either hACE2 binding or protein folding (orange sticks in Figure 3C and what is highlighted by red short lines in Figure 4) are ‘kept.’
Most of these essential residues are precisely preserved, including those involved in disulfide bond formation (C467, C474) and electrostatic interactions (R444, E452, R453, D454), which are pivotal for the structural integrity of the RBM (Figure 3C and 4).
The few changes within the group of essential residues are almost exclusively hydrophobic ‘substitutions’ … which should not affect either protein folding or the hACE2-interaction. At the same time, majority of the amino acid residues that are non-essential have ‘mutated’ (Figure 4, RBM residues not labeled with short red lines).
Judging from this sequence analysis alone, we were convinced early on that not only would the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein bind hACE2 but also the binding would resemble, precisely, that between the original SARS Spike protein and hACE223. Recent structural work has confirmed our prediction ...
The way that SARS-CoV-2 RBM resembles SARS-CoV RBM and the overall sequence conservation pattern between SARS-CoV-2 and ZC45/ZXC21 are highly unusual. Collectively, this suggests that portions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome have not been derived from natural quasi-species viral particle evolution.”
Why Natural Origin Theory Fails
Yan’s paper goes on to explain why the natural evolution origin theory fails to hold water. She points out that were it the result of wholly natural evolution, its RBM would have to have been acquired either through a) an ancient recombination event followed by convergent evolution, or b) a natural and fairly recent recombination event. Yan dismisses the ancient recombination/convergent evolution option, stating, in part:16
“ … the virus would have to adapt extensively in its new host, where the ACE2 protein is highly homologous to hACE2 [human ACE2]. Random mutations across the genome would have to have occurred to eventually shape the RBM to its current form — resembling SARS-CoV RBM in a highly intelligent manner.
However, this convergent evolution process would also result in the accumulation of a large amount of mutations in other parts of the genome, rendering the overall sequence identity relatively low.
The high sequence identity between SARS-CoV-2 and ZC45/ZXC21 on various proteins (94-100% identity) do not support this scenario and, therefore, clearly indicates that SARS-CoV- 2 carrying such an RBM cannot come from a ZC45/ZXC21-like bat coronavirus through this convergent evolutionary route.”
She also dismisses the second, recent recombination event, option stating:17
“In the second scenario, the ZC45/ZXC21-like coronavirus would have to have recently recombined and swapped its RBM with another coronavirus that had successfully adapted to bind an animal ACE2 highly homologous to hACE2. The likelihood of such an event depends, in part, on the general requirements of natural recombination:
- that the two different viruses share significant sequence similarity;
- that they must co-infect and be present in the same cell of the same animal;
- that the recombinant virus would not be cleared by the host or make the host extinct;
- that the recombinant virus eventually would have to become stable and transmissible within the host species.
In regard to this recent recombination scenario, the animal reservoir could not be bats because the ACE2 proteins in bats are not homologous enough to hACE2 and therefore the adaption would not be able to yield an RBM sequence as seen in SARS-CoV-2. This animal reservoir also could not be humans as the ZC45/ZXC21-like coronavirus would not be able to infect humans.
In addition, there has been no evidence of any SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV-2-like virus circulating in the human population prior to late 2019. Intriguingly, according to a recent bioinformatics study, SARS-CoV-2 was well-adapted for humans since the start of the outbreak.”
Pangolin and Other Animals Are Unlikely Intermediary Hosts
There is a third possibility for natural evolution, Yan notes, that of an intermediary host, but this theory also has a significant flaw. “The ZC45/ZXC21-like virus and a coronavirus containing a SARS-like RBM could have recombined in an intermediate host where the ACE2 protein is homologous to hACE2,” the paper states.
It also added that several laboratories have reported that Sunda pangolins carrying coronaviruses with a near-identical receptor-binding domain to that of SARS-CoV-2 have been smuggled into China from Malaysia. Some have argued that these pangolins were likely intermediary hosts. There are several problems with this theory, however, including the following:
• Even though Sunda pangolins have been sampled between 2009 and 2019, no coronaviruses have ever been found in those samples
• Recent research shows the receptor-binding domain shared by SARS-CoV-2 and the reported pangolin coronaviruses binds 10 times stronger to the human ACE2 receptor than it does to the pangolin ACE2 receptor
• Other research has demonstrated that none of the animal ACE2 proteins examined have more favorable binding potential to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein than the human ACE2 receptor. According to Yan:18
“This study virtually exempted all animals from their suspected roles as an intermediate host, which is consistent with the observation that SARS-CoV-2 was well-adapted for humans from the start of the outbreak.
This is significant because these findings collectively suggest that no intermediate host seems to exist for SARS-CoV-2, which at the very least diminishes the possibility of a recombinant event occurring in an intermediate host”
Restriction Enzyme Digestion — The Smoking Gun?
Yan goes on to review what she believes is the smoking gun proving SARS-CoV-2 is a laboratory creation. In a nutshell, she and her colleagues believe SARS-CoV-2 was created by swapping out the receptor-binding motif or RBM, not the entire spike protein.
The feasibility of such a swap has already been proven by none other than Dr. Zhengli Shi, one of the researchers arguing for a natural origin of SARS-CoV-2 (as reviewed in this September 10, 2020, article19 on Minerva). According to Yan:
“In 2008, Dr. Zhengli Shi’s group swapped a SARS RBM into the Spike proteins of several SARS-like bat coronaviruses after introducing a restriction site into a codon-optimized spike gene ... They then validated the binding of the resulted chimeric Spike proteins with hACE2.
Furthermore, in a recent publication, the RBM of SARS-CoV-2 was swapped into the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARSCoV, resulting in a chimeric RBD fully functional in binding hACE2 … It is noteworthy that the corresponding author of this recent publication, Dr. Fang Li, has been an active collaborator of Dr. Zhengli Shi since 2010 ...
The striking finding of EcoRI and BstEII restriction sites at either end of the SARS-CoV-2 RBM, respectively, and the fact that the same RBM region has been swapped both by Dr. Shi and by her long-term collaborator, respectively, using restriction enzyme digestion methods are unlikely a coincidence. Rather, it is the smoking gun proving that the RBM/Spike of SARS-CoV-2 is a product of genetic manipulation."
Yan’s paper also details evidence suggesting the Chinese scientists tried to cover their tracks to hide the genetic manipulation, and reviews how the furin-cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 is further indication that genetic engineering was used.
In summary, Yan and colleagues propose SARS-CoV-2 was made using the ZC45/ZXC21 bat coronavirus as the backbone. The RBM in the spike protein was then manipulated to give the virus the ability to strongly bind to the human ACE2 receptor.
“This is supported by the finding of a unique restriction enzyme digestion site at either end of the RBM. An unusual furin-cleavage site may have been introduced and inserted at the S1/S2 junction of the Spike protein, which contributes to the increased virulence and pathogenicity of the virus,” Yan writes.
The diagram below illustrates the steps required to create SARS-CoV-2:
Why the Cover-Up?
As reported by Aksel Fridstrom in a September 10, 2020, article20 posted on Minerva, as well as a September 9, 2020, article21 written by Rowan Jacobsen in Boston Magazine, Alina Chan, a molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, is yet another scientist who questions the zoonotic nature of SARS-CoV-2.
Importantly, Chan discovered that SARS-CoV-2 has not evolved in the manner you’d expect had it jumped from an animal to a human. It sprang into action fully evolved for human transmission. Like Yan and several other scientists, Chan has come to the conclusion that the missing intermediate phase of evolution from animal to human transmissibility must have taken place in a lab.
Chan published her paper,22 “SARS-CoV-2 Is Well Adapted for Humans. What Does This Mean for Re-Emergence?” on the preprint server bioRxiv May 2, 2020. As in most cases, the pushback she and her co-authors received was enormous.
In his article,23 Jacobsen points out that one of the obvious reasons for this response is that “if the public and politicians really knew about the dangerous pathogen research being conducted in many laboratories, they’d be outraged.” Hence, “Denying the possibility of a catastrophic incident like this … could be seen as a form of career preservation.”
Interestingly, The Lancet COVID-19 Commission, which has vowed to “leave no stone unturned” in its investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and the possibility of a lab escape, is being led by none other than Dr. Peter Daszak,24 a scientist who has already concluded the virus is natural.
As the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, Daszak is also steeped in conflicts of interest, seeing how EcoHealth Alliance received grants from the NIH for coronavirus research that was then subcontracted to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
What’s more, the NIH is demanding EcoHealth Alliance produce records detailing its work with the Wuhan lab before further funding will be released.25 It seems the purpose for this “fix” is best summarized by a quote from Boston Magazine:26
"Antonio Regalado, biomedicine editor of MIT Technology Review, put it more bluntly. If it turned out COVID-19 came from a lab, he tweeted, ‘it would shatter the scientific edifice top to bottom.’”
Indeed, safeguarding the continuation of dangerous gain-of-function research would be a powerful motivator to preserve the zoonotic origin narrative.
According to Chan, there are solutions, however. One would be to conduct this kind of research using “neutered viruses that have had their replicating machinery removed in advance, so that even if they escaped confinement, they would be incapable of making copies of themselves,” Jacobsen writes.27 Another would be to locate high biosafety level laboratories in sparsely populated areas rather than right smack in the middle of large cities.
New Engineered Coronaviruses Are Under Development
Getting to the bottom of where SARS-CoV-2 actually came from is important, because if it came from a high-security bioweapons lab, then it’s proof positive that something must be done to prevent a repeat. This is even more important now that biosafety labs around the world are looking at modifying live SARS-CoV-2 even further.28
As just one example, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are looking to insert the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is what allows the virus to gain entry into human cells, into Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax,29 an already devastatingly dangerous pathogen.
Researchers are also arguing for infectious SARS-CoV-2 research to be permitted in biosafety level 2 laboratories, which have nowhere near the same level of biosafety procedures in place as BSL 3 and BSL 4 labs do.
If the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is in fact the result of a lab escape, then the responsible way forward is to halt all gain-of-function research until safety protocols are massively upgraded. If we really want to avert another catastrophe, this kind of research should probably be abolished altogether.
As it stands right now, the weaponization of pathogens continues unabated, and is likely to continue unless or until the public becomes sufficiently aroused to demand real change.
In the meantime, it is important to make sure you’re prepared at home. I strongly recommend reviewing my interview with Dr. David Brownstein, in which he explains the benefits of nebulized hydrogen peroxide. It’s important to have something in your own arsenal to protect yourself against whatever they come up with next. I also added a new video to the page that describes how to do the nebulization therapy.
This needs to be a central player in your emergency medical kit as I fully believe it could be the difference for many, especially the elderly, those who are vitamin D deficient and/or metabolically unfit and insulin resistant. I believe nebulized peroxide is one of the best options available for any respiratory virus, including even more dangerous ones than SARS-CoV-2 that are likely to be introduced in the future.
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