by Zero Hedge

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In January, 2020, when the World Health Organization insisted that COVID-19 wasn’t transmissible between humans, and Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the risk to the American public from the virus was “low,” officials at the National Institutes of Health were scrambling to perform damage control after a controversial – and now withdrawn – study suggested that there were HIV-like ‘insertions’ included in SARS-CoV-2.

The study, “Uncanny similarity of unique inserts on the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag,” posited that segments of the virus’s RNA had no relation to other coronaviruses such as SARS, and instead appeared to be closer to HIV.


To further investigate if these inserts are present in any other corona virus, we performed a multiple sequence alignment of the spike glycoprotein amino acid sequences of all available coronaviruses (n=55) [refer Table S.File1] in NCBI refseq ( this includes one sequence of 2019-nCoV[Fig.S1]. We found that these 4 insertions [inserts 1, 2, 3 and 4] are unique to 2019-nCoV and are not present in other coronaviruses analyzed.

We then translated the aligned genome and found that these inserts are present in all Wuhan 2019-nCoV viruses except the 2019-nCoV virus of Bat as a host [Fig.S4]. Intrigued by the 4 highly conserved inserts unique to 2019-nCoV we wanted to understand their origin. For this purpose, we used the 2019-nCoV local alignment with each insert as query against all virus genomes and considered hits with 100% sequence coverage. Surprisingly, each of the four inserts aligned with short segments of the Human immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) proteins.

The now-withdrawn paper piqued the interest of several journalists, including Zero Hedge (whose account Twitter banned one day after we updated our coverage of the article, claiming we ‘doxed’ a Chinese scientist in an earlier report).

Thanks to a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Fauci’s emails, we now know that the National Institutes of Health was not only aware of the Indian report, but were actively discussing how to handle it.

A January 31 email from AFP’s Issam Ahmed asks NIH immunologist Dr. Barney Graham for comment:

“I was told by a contact you may be willing to give an opinion of this paper that has just gone live. It suggests the new Coronavirus has four inserts similar to HIV-1 and this is not a coincidence,” reads the email.

Graham immediately forwards the correspondence to the Office of Communications and Government Relations (OCGR)saying “This is one we don’t want to answer without high-level input, but wanted you to know about the rising controversy.”

Two days later, Jennifer Routh OCGR replies, telling Graham: “OCGR is going to send a note to the reporter to decline, noting that the paper is not peer-reviewed. Please let us know if you receive similar requests.”

That same Sunday morning, Fauci is looped in – with Sir Jeremy Farrar forwarding Zero Hedge‘s article after mentioning how World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom and the organization’s cabinet chief were in ‘conclave’ – ostensibly on how to manage the narrative – noting “If they do prevaricate [bullshit the public], I would appreciate a call with you later tonight or tomorrow to think how we might take forward.”

“Do you have a minute for a quick call?” Fauci replies, after having called the Indian paper “really outlandish.”

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