Why Take the Risk? Pfizer Accused of Mutating SARS-CoV-2

An awakening call from a leaked vaccine research plan

The release of a Project Veritas video has generated a huge storm for Pfizer on social media. In this clandestinely recorded video, Jordon Walker, director of R&D strategic operations and mRNA scientific planning at Pfizer, stated frankly in a conversation that Pfizer is intentionally inducing mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus with the purpose of preemptively developing new versions of COVID vaccines.

Although people can understand that Pfizer is trying to catch up with the speed of natural generation of COVID variants, it immediately triggered the public to think that this might be the repeat of the nightmare of gain-of-function studies conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Interestingly, Walker also stated in the video that “It makes no sense that this virus popped out of nowhere.”

On Jan. 27, Pfizer responded to the allegations on their website.

Pfizer claimed that they have not conducted gain of function or directed evolution research. However, Pfizer acknowledges that they have used the original SARS-CoV-2 virus to express the spike protein from new variants of concern (VOC). The reason for doing this research is to rapidly assess the ability of an existing vaccine to induce antibodies that neutralize a newly identified variant of concern.

In addition, Pfizer also disclosed that they are undertaking in vitro work (e.g., cellular culture dish) to identify potential resistance mutations to PAXLOVID, citing the official reason of requirements from U.S. and global regulators for all antiviral products. They claimed that “most of this work is conducted using computer simulations,” to study the impacts of the potential mutations in the targeted protein (viral protease) of nirmatrelvir, a component of PAXLOVID. However, they did acknowledge that “in a limited number of cases,” new viruses with engineered mutations in the viral protease were generated to enable the assessment of antiviral activity in cells.

This means that these are engineered live viruses with mutations in the protease that might affect viral pathogenicity and drug resistance profiles. Regardless of whatever purpose Pfizer has claimed, the technique process they use involves a change of the gene and subsequent phenotype change of the virus, i.e., generation of viruses with properties that do not exist in nature.

Per the definition by Dr. Kanta Subbarao from the Laboratory of Infectious Disease at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “any selection process involving an alteration of genotypes and their resulting phenotypes is considered a type of Gain-of-Function (GoF) research.” Why did Pfizer claim that these are not gain-of-function studies in the press release?

What Is Gain of Function Research?

Since 2005, scientists have attempted to use genetic recombination techniques to create recombinant viruses, i.e. artificially creating new viruses for the purpose of helping develop vaccines, drugs, etc. Their stated goal is to bring greater health to humanity.

A preprint study (pdf) from Boston University was published on Oct. 14, 2022. They used the gene of the spike protein from Omicron to replace the corresponding part from the old strain of early 2020 and created a new virus strain. This is exactly the same thing that Pfizer is doing. In its press release, Pfizer stated that “we have conducted research where the original SARS-CoV-2 virus has been used to express the spike protein from new variants of concern.” Therefore, we can evaluate the results of the Pfizer-generated chimeric SARS-CoV-2 viruses via the data from the Boston study as a reference.

The chart below shows the result of the Boston study: The red line on top shows that none of the mice infected with Omicron died. The purple line shows that the new chimeric virus’s lethality rate is lower than the wild-type virus (100 percent) on Day 8, but much higher than that of Omicron (0 percent), i.e.: 80 percent of the mice infected with the new chimeric virus died.

Epoch Times Photo
Chimeric virus-induced death in a transgenic mouse model. (The Epoch Times)

The Boston study clearly indicated that the new chimeric virus has much stronger pathogenicity than the natural Omicron variant. Since animal testing results can’t be directly applied to humans, the 80 percent mortality rate of the chimeric virus in the transgenic mice model cannot be translated to 80 percent lethality in humans. We also do not know whether the new chimeric virus from the Boston study will result in a mortality rate in humans higher than the original Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2, or if it would be between that of the Omicron and Wuhan strains.

The Boston study was very controversial, and so are Pfizer’s mutagenesis studies that are now being exposed. But Pfizer has not shared any details of their study plans or progress. Has Pfizer conducted further serial passage of their chimeric virus or chimeric virus with additional mutations in the protease gene in small animals, or even tested it on large mammals like monkeys or chimpanzees?

According to the recorded video, Walker did say this: “The way it [the experiment] would work is that we put the virus in monkeys, and we successively cause them to keep infecting each other, and we collect serial samples from them.” This suggests they did it, and are not just considering this idea.

Of course, most of the mutant variants generated in the studies would be less pathogenic, but, are there one or two strains of the newly engineered mutant variants that deserve serious caution? How many passages did it need to get a variant of their desire, or a variant out of anyone’s expectation?

So why Pfizer is taking the risks to conduct these kinds of studies when they cannot fully control the consequences? Just to secure the market dominance of the Pfizer vaccine on COVID? Pfizer’s COVID mRNA vaccine has already been so dominant globally, and the FDA will continue to give them the green light of emergency use authorization (EUA) if they generate more updated versions of bivalent booster shots or other next-generation COVID vaccines. They might even make the Pfizer vaccine a top choice for annual/regular COVID jabs. So what is really threatening the authority/dominance of the Pfizer vaccine? It could be the drop in efficacy against new Omicron variants (like XBB.1.5) that have huge immune evasion capacity. Or does this mean that Pfizer does not have confidence in the effectiveness of their vaccines, as they have been outsmarted by the virus? Do people still need to get the booster shot as the government promotes?

Pfizer’s press release also addressed the requirement to routinely test drug resistance profiles for emerging virus variants under the treatment of Paxlovid. This might also be the key reason that drove Pfizer to try the dangerous experiments. As long as a new drug-resistant variant is generated and is spread widely, it could render Paxlovid totally useless. Paxlovid is only supposed to be used within no more than 5 days of the early infection period, according to the Paxlovid product sheet and FDA guidelines. The concern of generating drug-resistant mutants must be overwhelming. In this case, it is possible that Pfizer is also aggressively protecting their market and profits from the antiviral drugs, besides safeguarding their vaccine’s market dominance.

Another important issue that Walker touched upon in his video is the power of the revolving door. He said: “In any industry though. So, in the pharma industry, all the people who review our drugs—eventually most of them will come work for pharma companies.”

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, resigned in March 2019, saying that he would like to spend more time with family. But after three months’ vacation, he became a board member for Pfizer. That revolving door rotates just that fast.

A similar thing happened in China. Dr. Ruyi He was the Chief Scientific Officer in China’s FDA, and he was recruited to become a board member of the Genuine Biotech company based in Hunan Province, China. Soon after, Genuine Biotech’s core product, Azvudine, an HIV drug posing as an anti-COVID drug with no solid phase III trial data, quickly got EUA to be widely used in China in July 2022.

GOF Research Links to the Alleged Origin of COVID

Gain of function, or creating a new function in virus A by adding elements from virus B; involves infecting one monkey to another, called serial passage. That appeared to be accepted standard practice by the virological research community, and vaccine or drug development industry for decades.

The way genetic engineering technology creates a recombinant virus is like assembling building blocks or puzzle pieces. The key risk is that during the process of creating something new, it may also produce some unexpected viruses that are more virulent (more dangerous to humans).

Before 2015, researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China were studying a coronavirus of wild bat origin called the Chinese horseshoe bat species, a SARS-like virus prevalent in SHC014-CoV which originally could not infect humans.

In parallel, they put the wild-type SARS-CoV virus into a repeated adaptation process in mice, resulting in a more pathogenic, mouse-adapted SARS-CoV virus.

Then they took the part of the bat coronavirus spike protein and replaced the relevant part of the adapted SARS-CoV backbone.

As a result, a novel chimeric virus that binds to the human ACE2 receptor, and thus has the ability to infect people and develop severe disease in the lungs was created.

That is to say, a wild-type bat virus incapable of infecting mice or humans then obtained the ability to infect mice with significant pathogenicity, similar to SARS-CoV, and was able to infect humans. Their paper was published in Nature Medicine in 2015 as a new scientific invention and an honor.

Curing Diseases or Creating Another Disaster?

Manually creating a virus has potentially been harmful to humans. Such types of GOF experiments have been questioned by scientists with clear minds.

For example, American molecular biologist and biodefense specialist Richard H. Ebright published an article in Nature in 2015 stating, “the only impact of this work is the creation of a new unnatural risk in the laboratory.”

Three years have passed and the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has not been elucidated. The possibility of a lab leak has been one that still needs to be rigorously investigated. Now more labs and Big Pharma are making new viruses with the supposed legitimate reason of developing vaccines and drugs.

Is it really necessary to do such types of GOF experiments? As we all know, while the Omicron transmission rate has increased significantly, its pathogenicity has decreased significantly. There is little meaning in doing such type of research during the Omicron era.

We have to consider risks as well. What if a similar lab leaking event happens again? What would the consequences be? If such a tragedy happens again, who is able to take the consequences of harm to the human world?

Scientists don’t always initially know where their research is going to lead. There are ethical considerations to scientific research. Not every scientific research with a “legitimate reason” at the beginning will result in a good outcome at the end.

Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, expressed his deep concerns about the lack of strict management of GOF studies by NIH. “We’re talking about low-probability, but high-consequence, events,” he told Nature.

The issue is that their intention is not purely to save people anymore. That’s why they’ve become so aggressive. It may be understandable for companies to pursue profit or technological competition, but they cannot go to the extreme point where they abandon ethics.

Scientific development overly driven by profit and loose ethics can bring tragedy to humanity. With the initial intention to cure illnesses, we end up potentially creating more viruses and more illnesses. Doesn’t it mean that the direction of human scientific research and development has been misguided?

Root Causes Analysis

In our chaotic world, in fact, nothing is coincidental and nothing happens in a day. There are more profound reasons behind Pfizer’s vaccine research plan today.

Modern biological techniques have been advanced to a much higher level today, forming an automatic system so that many scientists and even the whole industry don’t know what they are doing.

One of the fundamental reasons is that Pfizer has recognized the limitation of the vaccine’s role in COVID-19, and wants to take a more proactive approach to set up a viral mutation library so that when any type of mutation happens, they could shorten the development time from mutants to vaccine launch.

If they have built up such a type of vaccine candidate pool, they could further stabilize their marketing dominant roles in COVID, turning it into a real cash cow.

Another productivity goal is Pfizer must have foreseen the potential resistance of Paxlovid for COVID viruses. To have a pool of potential variants is an advanced step to designing new antivirals in a short lead time.

All these are driven by the purpose of making profits. With the huge attractiveness of earning money, people forget the risks of doing dangerous experiments. People forget moral principles. People deviate from the right path on how to maintain true health.

Natural Immunity Supersedes Vaccine

Hippocrates wrote 2,500 years ago, “The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” Many natural healing methods are often overlooked.

Looking back into the history of every pandemic, there were always people who were never infected by those lethal viruses or bacteria. Not to mention vaccines, which weren’t invented yet.

Why? Natural immunity is innately born with everyone, is super dynamic, and is not dependent on any mutation of the virus.

The immune system we were born with is a sophisticated design. It has layers upon layers of defenses and acts like an army, protecting us 24/7 against various viruses and bacteria.

Viruses need suitable cells to hijack so they can replicate. If a person’s cells are in a good antiviral state, there’s no soil for the virus to spread its roots, so to speak, so that person won’t become infected.

Many people are aware that immunity is very much linked to nutrition, micronutrients, vitamins, and good sleep habits. Less people may be aware that immunity is also linked to several aspects of our character, including our daily habits, stress levels, and even how honest we are.

Why not spend a minor amount of resources to promote a healthy lifestyle and mindset and spread the knowledge of cheap but effective vitamins and supplements to help people better cope with COVID?

Why should governments spend billions of dollars and three years indulging in the vaccine dream and not awaken even after witnessing repeatedly occurring VOC waves, excess deaths, injuries, and frustration?

Coincidentally, on Jan. 27, CDC Deputy Director Tom Shimabukuro admitted COVID vaccines are causing “debilitating illnesses” during a Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting.

Money is not everything. Billionaires die without bringing a penny with them to the other world.

We have to awaken. The human world needs to wake up. We need to get out of this vicious cycle or face more waves again and again.

Science and technology do need to develop, but it also needs to return to rationality and morality. Only by walking on the right path can sustainable development be achieved, and only then can the human world find the real path to true health.

The Epoch Times reached out to Pfizer for comment.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Epoch Health welcomes professional discussion and friendly debate. To submit an opinion piece, please follow these guidelines and submit through our form here.

Yuhong Dong
M.D., Ph.D.
Yuhong Dong, M.D., Ph.D., is a senior medical columnist for The Epoch Times. She is a former senior medical scientific expert and pharmacovigilance leader at Novartis Headquarters in Switzerland, and was a Novartis award winner for four years. She has preclinical research experience in virology, immunology, oncology, neurology, and ophthalmology, and also has clinical experience in infectious disease and internal medicine. She earned her M.D. and a doctorate in infectious diseases at Beijing University in China.
Dr. Xiaoxu Sean Lin is an assistant professor in the Biomedical Science Department at Feitian College in Middletown, N.Y. Dr. Lin is also a frequent analyst and commentator for Epoch Media Group, VOA, and RFA. He is a veteran who served as a U.S. Army microbiologist and also a member of Committee on the Present Danger: China.
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