18 months before the pandemic, scientists in Wuhan, China submitted a proposal to release enhanced airborne coronaviruses into the wild in an effort to inoculate them against diseases that could have otherwise jumped to humans, according to The Telegraph, citing leaked grant proposals from 2018.
New documents show that just 18 months before the first Covid-19 cases appeared, researchers had submitted plans to release skin-penetrating nanoparticles containing “novel chimeric spike proteins” of bat coronaviruses into cave bats in Yunnan, China.
They also planned to create chimeric viruses, genetically enhanced to infect humans more easily, and requested $14million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) to fund the work.
The bid was submitted by zoologist Peter Daszak of US-based EcoHealth Alliance, who was hoping to use genetic engineering to cobble "human-specific cleavage sites" onto bat Covid 'which would make it easier for the virus to enter human cells' - a method which would coincidentally answer a longstanding question among the scientific community as to how SARS-CoV-2 evolved to become so infectious to humans.
Daszak's proposal also included plans to commingle high-risk natural coronaviruses strains with more infectious, yet less deadly versions. His 'bat team' of researchers included Dr. Shi Zhengli from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as well as US researchers from the University of North Carolina and the US Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center.
Darpa refused the contract - saying "It is clear that the proposed project led by Peter Daszak could have put local communities at risk," while warning that Daszak hadn't fully considered the dangers involved in enhancing the virus via gain-of-function research, or by releasing a vaccine into the air.