From the “Fake News” zone:
- Daily Mail reports: “Scientists find virus contains tiny chunk of DNA that matches sequence patented by Moderna THREE YEARS before pandemic began”.
The patent referenced is for a Moderna cancer treatment and the genetic match relates to the all important furin cleavage, which is the bit of the SARS-COV-2 virus which makes it so infectious in humans.
The interesting thing about this is that on June 18, 2021, I emailed the media relations department of UNC — representing Ralph Baric, the coronavirus expert who worked with Shi Zhengli, the bat lady of Wuhan — asking them to confirm or deny if the below document that had been ciruclating among the OSINT community looking into the lab leak theory was genuine. You can see the full doc here.
The page is from a confidential disclosure agreement that originates from 2015 between disclosing parties the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Moderna Therapeutics and its affiliates — collaborators, Giuseppe Ciaramella, Stephane Bancel and Lee Cooper
with respect to…
“NIAID’s proprietary information and data relation to the evelopment of vaccines for HIV, influenza, Ebola and MERS and development of broadly neutralising monoclonal antibodies for preventative and therapeutic use…for collaborator: Moderna’s proprietary and confidential information related to design and manufacture of a messenger RNA platform and messenger RNA constructs for treatment and prevention of disease.”
I asked UNC to confirm:
“That this Confidential Disclosure Agreement pertaining to information disclosure by NIAID and Moderna to UNC of research material about “mRNA coronavirus vaccine candidates developed and jointly-owned by NIAID and Moderna“, which classifies Prof Baric as the UNC’s primary investigator and which carries your signature dated 12/12/2019 is genuine. And that this is Prof Baric‘s signature?”
This was the reply from Matthew Chamberlin, Director of Communications and Marketing at UNC, that I received (and which was never published):
“We can confirm that Dr. Baric was a key investigator. However, it’s important to note that the documents refer to work by the University of North of Carolina at Chapel Hill to develop an mRNA vaccine to protect against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which is caused by a beta coronavirus.
Here’s a link to a paper published about the research: SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine design enabled by prototype pathogen preparedness – PubMed (nih.gov); noting that the MERS-CoV outcomes were extremely positive and used to justify mRNA vaccine development and testing of the SARS-CoV2 mRNa vaccine outcomes that were initiated in the spring of 2020 and also included in the paper. We remind the Financial Times that the Moderna mRNA vaccine has saved tens of thousands of lives.
Also, there’s information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the many human diseases caused by coronaviruses: https://www.cdc.gov/
Nothing to see here, basically, because the work referenced in the document was for vaccines being developed for MERS not SARS. This struck me as an odd thing to say, given I was reaching out with respect to Ralph Baric’s involvement in gain of function work, a controversial scientific research method — which was under moratorium at the time — that uses accelerated evolution to try and predict how viruses might evolve so as to pre-emptively develop vaccines and therapeutics for future diseases. The fact therefore that the contract was for a MERS coronavirus seems a moot point if the purpose of the knowledge sharing was to inform gain-of-function work.
More importantly, the response does seem to confirm the document is genuine.
The Daily Mail story pictures a snap shot of the patented tech.
It’s worth noting that there is at least one scientist who contributed to the work that emerged out of the MERS project for the development of the SARS Cov-2 vaccine (the paper referenced by the UNC official) and the oncology-related work that shares a sequence with Covid. Sayda M Elbashir.
What does all this mean? I don’t know. It’s all highly circumstantial still.