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Did Covid-19 Come From a Lab?

Ralph welcomes back Andrew Kimbrell, founder of the Center for Food Safety, to discuss the dangers of genetically engineered viruses and the possibility that COVID-19 escaped from a lab. And Dr. Michael Carome, director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, tells us about Public Citizen’s effort to get President Trump and Vice President Pence to step down and put health experts in charge of the pandemic response.

Andrew Kimbrell is an internationally recognized public interest attorney, bioethicist and NGO leader. Mr. Kimbrell has been at the forefront of efforts to strictly regulate biotechnology, ensure responsible bio-medical research and eliminate biological weapon research. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. He is the author of Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food” and he is the editor of “Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture”

“Accidental release not deliberate release. A product of genetic engineering that took a SARS like virus. [Scientists] wanted to see how transmissible they could make it. They wanted to see how lethal they could make it and it escaped.”

Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety

“We can’t stop natural pandemics from happening in nature. That’s gonna happen. But we can stop pandemics that originated in the laboratories around the world, because people are deliberately creating them in laboratories.”

Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety

Dr. Michael Carome is the director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, which is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that stands up to corporate power and holds the government accountable. Dr. Carome is an expert on issues of drug and medical device safety, pharmacy compounding, Food and Drug Administration oversight, healthcare policy, and the protection of human research subjects. Public Citizen just released a letter calling for Trump and Pence to step aside.

“Unlike other countries, we are not allowing federal experts in public health and medicine to lead the response. In fact, not only are we not letting them lead the response, we have our leaders, Trump and Pence and others, systematically undermining the efforts of our experts to bring the pandemic under control.”

Dr. Michael Carome, director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen

“There’s a clear need for Trump and Pence to step aside. And turn over the reins of control of the federal response to the pandemic immediately and if that doesn’t happen soon things that are bordering on catastrophic will become catastrophic.”

Dr. Michael Carome, director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen

“The burden of proof is on the scientists. It’s not on the people who fear the consequences of it or on the potential victims. It’s on the scientists and those in Congress and elsewhere who fund them.”

Ralph Nader

CALLS TO ACTION

You can email Dr. John Geyman at jgeyman@uw.edu. Include your name and which congressperson you want the book sent to.

Also, to push for Trump and Pence to step aside from the pandemic response, call:

White House Switchboard Number (202) 456-1414

White House Comment Number (202) 456-1111

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 332 Transcript (Right click to download)

20 Comments

  1. Mark Hughes says:

    Once again I find myself aligning with David during the Wrap-Up when he asks where are the Democrats in all this? Why aren’t Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, etc, not setting up an apparatus now that shows they’re on top of this from Day-1? The obvious answers are they’re nowhere and that’s precisely where they want to be. Biden is still hiding out in his basement, Pelosi is still at her home indulging in $20/quart designer ice cream, Schumer is probably working on his exit plan from Congress, Bernie continues to scare his base into voting blue no matter who, the Squad still goes along with establishment policies regardless that their words are oppositional. But hey, they wear kente cloth and take knees so there’s no dysfunction here.

    Look, we’ve long been in an age in which neither party wants to govern. They just don’t. They much rather be opposition to the incumbent because there’s more money in it. The Republicans under Obama were the Party of No, and that didn’t work out; they wanted to repeal the ACA but failed even after they won the White House, the Senate and, later, the Supreme Court. The Democrats under Trump lobbed accusations of Russian conspiracy at him then tried to impeach. They impeached him but failed to remove him from office. Outside of the door-prize of $1200 per citizen stimulus check, both parties have been abject failures the past few months. No meaningful or permanent presence of field hospitals, no contact tracing, no UBI, no UHC, nothing.

    Noam Chomsky was exactly correct when he said the Republican Party is not a functional political party centered on parliamentary politics. But one can easily argue the Democrats are the same, considering their obsession with Trump and Russia Russia Russia. Both parties are hopelessly dysfunctional, this pandemic exposed that although I’m sure a few of us have known that for years. They have lobby lawyers write drafts for them (ALEC comes to mind), and they just fill in the blanks and rubberstamp them through, all while putting in a whopping one or two days a week on Capitol Hill. The Republicans and the Democrats can’t be more exposed. Ralph ends the Wrap-up by saying the Congress abdicates its own Constitutional authority, but that’s because they want to.

    • Afdal Shahanshah says:

      Well put, Mark! Two wings of the same bird of prey.

    • Jason Pacifico says:

      It’s social genocide, COVID-19 created of course by the NSA. The “ECONOMIC GLOBAL SHUTDOWN” with Ellen Brown and ZPeter Koenig (see Guns & Butter radio), which moved 2 billion people WORLDWIDE from food insecurity into starvation that will die in 2020-1, 20-40 million people will lose there apartments to EVICTIONS, 15-30 million home foreclosures affected 64.9-84 million people. 84-124 million people to lose their apartments and homes FORECLOSURES and EVICTIONS, 30-100 million will be homeless by November 2020-February-April 2021

  2. Don klepack says:

    The question no one can answer in the Dr. Michael Carome, director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen segment
    to force Pence and Trump to step aside is because the Covid-19 Pandemic is new and there is no strong consensus what steps are needed to combat it except wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands. As of today Pence and Trump are now on board. The lockdown was started early and the easing of the rules did course a spike in cases but more importantly not deaths. New York and New Jersey still lead the country in deaths because they forced Covid-19 Patience into Nursing Homes. Removing Pence now as the messenger for the task force will seem political.

  3. jason says:

    Mr. Andrew Kimbrell who in this entire interview, produced no scientific evidence that COVID-19 was “man made”. i am also surprised that Mr. Kimbrell is a public interest attorney who is not a scientist, let alone a Medical or Research Virologist. he made a lot of accusations based on anecdote from media but did not cite other anecdote from scientists who do not support this “man made” theory. Mr. Nader should find another program to interview respected scientists in the virology field. as to “man made” possibility of COVID-19, of course, no scientist will exclude any possibility 100%, the nature of science is always a chance something unexpected could happen but the non denial doesn’t mean affirmation. i will never deny the possibility i won a lottery jackpot but this doesn’t mean i make my decision based on the possibility i am winning a lottery jackpot. finally, Mr. Kimbrell seems to have a very negative impression of “wet market”. i do not know if he ever traveled for extended period of time in Asia (South Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia) where wet market is a way of life for thousands of years. in fact, wet market is the source of healthy eating, much better than our “supermarket” culture in US. all over Asia, they have same “wet market” and the average longevity of the peoples are better than Americans, significantly lower obesity and heart diseases…. i only wish we have more wet markets in US, higher quality natural food, fresher food. i wish Mr. Kimbrell would spend more time traveling, living in Asia and buy food from wet market daily and appreciate the value before he reaches his conclusion.

  4. Robert Wurgaft says:

    Much love to you Ralph, but please be carefull as much of what this guest is claiming is inaccurate and not representative of the current understanding of the characteristics of corona viruses, virological research, BSL 3 lab practices, and limitations of and reasoning for “gain of function ” research. Many similar, educated and erudite people make similar fringe arguments. An important balance would be to hear from someone who is a virologist “in the business” and not someone from another specialty or unrelated field.
    Key facts: no one is currently capable of creating a virus or of custom designing something like the Sars Cov 2 virus secretly. Every mutation of a virus can be traced back to its origin.
    Even taking an existing virus and giving it some new function such as increased virulence, would by instantly obvious to virology community as all of the various characteristics of a virus can be traced back to their origin through DNA.
    The purpose of the research the guest raises fear about, is to identify pandemic threats before they evolve into pandemic pathogens.

  5. Dale West says:

    Thanks for your regular quick updates of the 737 Max/FAA debacle. Here is more detail about faulty wiring of the 737 Max and Boeing’s fallacies to not comply to these new safety standards. Regulatory capture equals profits over safety again. REF – https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/faa-faces-dilemma-over-737-max-wiring-flaw-that-boeing-missed/

  6. Jeff Story says:

    Wonderful show! Thank you for broaching this forbidden topic. I recommend Attorney and Law Professor Francis Boyle on this topic. He wrote the Bioweapons Convention that was unanimously passed. He and the Nobel Scientist Luc Montagnier have been saying it is from a lab and have been denounced by the usual suspects. Great work. I hope I live to see some of the criminal scientists in The Hague.

  7. Ben Leet says:

    Why not a program on what went wrong in the U.S. with its response to Covid-19? People are divided, and my right-wing friend marshals his doctors/epidemiologists explaining that the 65 year-old and above group should have been isolated while the disease swept through the rest of the population. Only 1 percent of deaths occurred to people 24 and younger, 19% to age 25 to 64, and 80% to 65 years and over. 24% happened to people in nursing homes. 22.9% to African Americans when they are 12.5% of population. (This is CDC data, 7/20/20) The Covid-19 was spreading at the rate of 43% a day says a study by U.C. Berkeley group,, meaning effectively doubling every two days during the month of March when total confirmed cases expanded from 30 to 213,000, and in April total cases increases by a multiple of 5 to about 1 million. Then the contagion rate declined. Now we’ve increased the weekly and daily new cases by a multiple of 3, from 20,000 to 60,000. About Europe — Trump says “They don’t test” and that’s why US cases are so much higher. That’s such an ignorant statement. On July 19 EU reported 3,090 new cases, the US reported 63,000. In the EU people are not getting sick, so they are not getting tested. No amount of additional testing would bring up their numbers to a level close to the US. (“Our World in Data” had that data) The study by Soloman Hsaing at Univ. Cal. Berkeley is an interesting study showing the acceleration of contagion, roughly doubling every 2 days in China, So. Korea, Iran, Italy, France and the US, and the effect of mitigation. Anti-contagion policies prevented millions of cases and deaths, they claim. I’ve found the topic fascinating, your program could improve public awareness, and inspire more investigation and publicity into the mismanagement in the US.

  8. Ryan says:

    Good show thus far, but it’s not Mike Pence. It’s Michael Pence. He does not deserve to be called Mike.

  9. This article is all over the place. On one hand it exposes that Covid-19 was produced in a lab…funded by Anthony Fauci, and on the other hand it recommends that ‘scientific experts’ —which so far is seen as Fauci, lead the pandemic response. Why put the fox in charge of the henhouse?

    • Tara L Carreon says:

      This reminds me of Madonna’s best film role as Nikki with Griffin Dunne as her co-star in James Foley’s underappreciated film, “Who’s That Girl?” ( http://rapeutation.com/whoisthatgirlscreenplay.pdf ) Dunne plays Loudon Trott, a hapless tax lawyer tasked by his corrupt law partner with transporting Nikki from the prison to the bus station. Nikki’s getting out of the slammer after serving time on a bogus rap for the “crime of passion” murder of her boyfriend, but she’s not catching any bus. She’s got a score to settle with the thug who framed her, and hijacks Dunne and the partner’s Rolls, to go shopping for a gun in Harlem. While browsing the wares in the gun-runner’s slum apartment, a raid goes down, and Nikki quickly grabs her chosen gun, flees the location, and goes merrily traipsing across the rooftops, leaping the gap between one tenement and the next, as Loudon balks at leaping the gap and shouts, “I’m sure somebody called the police!” As a spray of automatic fire rips a line of holes above his head, Nikki shouts her reply in a heavy Bronx accent, “They ARE the police!” He jumps.

      It also reminds me of an old cartoon from the Watergate era, when Attorney General Ed Meese, not yet indicted, was purporting to investigate the Watergaters. The cartoon depicted Meese as a cop standing next to his cruiser, shouting into a bullhorn at a barricaded building, “Come out with your hands up, Meese!”

      Still, aside from two typos and the corny invitation at the end to call if they have questions they need answered, Public Citizen’s letter is not bad. Clearly, we should never have been getting “direction” from people who only sought to steer us into the swamp. Trump’s instinct from managing enterprises into failure and bankruptcy while he skates away with the remaining assets is driving his current strategy. We are now in the grip of consequences that are usually visited only upon the poor, underdeveloped nations governed by foolish leaders. Turns out, folly alone is sufficient to destroy a nation. And it is frustrating to realize that the people we now hope will help us get control of the crisis, like Dr. Fauci, were the very ones who invited the catastrophe by encouraging and funding the research that likely led to the weaponization process that created this “novel” virus.

      It is perhaps too late to curb the crisis, but if we are to begin the effort we must: (1) massively scale-up testing, community tracing, and quarantining of infected individuals and potentially infected contacts, (2) have a gradual, stepwise approach to reopening businesses, (3) protect workers from exposure, (4) mitigate racial inequities that cause people of color to be harmed at higher rates, (5) and wear face masks.

  10. Andy Kimbrell mentioned our work in the show. Here is our latest on the origins:

    A Proposed Origin for SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Summary: SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the current pandemic, is in many ways an enigma to virologists. First, the virus enters human cells using a viral spike protein that is a tremendous fit for its human receptor (a protein called ACE2). This close fit allows the virus to spread very efficiently between people but such precision cannot plausibly have arisen by chance. Thus the virus appears to have evolved in the presence of that human receptor. Furthermore, the virus has a region on its spike protein called a furin site. This furin site allows the virus to access multiple cell types, making it able to infect and spread through lungs and other tissue types. The furin site is thus key to making SARS-CoV-2 a powerful pathogen. Since none of the closest known virus relatives of SARS-CoV-2 have a furin site, where did it come from? Third, any virus that recently jumped to humans from bats (or any other species) should undergo a period of rapid adapation to its new host. This is what happened when the coronaviruses SARS and MERS jumped to humans. Yet since the pandemic began, SARS-CoV-2 mutations have arisen but the virus has hardly evolved (in an adaptive sense) at all. Current zoonotic origin theories for SARS-CoV-2 have no satisfactory explanation for any of these evolutionary puzzles. Indeed, recent studies have made natural zoonotic origin hypotheses even less viable. For example, the Chinese CDC has ruled out Wuhan’s live market as the epidemic’s origin.

    In our search for the origins of the pandemic we focussed on the nearest genetic relative of SARS-CoV-2, a bat coronavirus called RaTG13. This virus was obtained during 2012 and 2013 virus collecting trips to a mine where, shortly before, six miners had developed a mystery illness while shoveling bat feces. To learn more, we arranged the translation of a neglected Chinese Master’s thesis that documented the symptoms and hospital treatment of these miners. This thesis contains many surprises. Foremost, the miners were diagnosed as having coronavirus infections, and second, their symptoms are now recognisable as those of classic COVID-19. This and other information in the thesis caused us to rethink everything we thought we knew about the origins of the pandemic. In A Proposed Origin for SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 Pandemic, we set out what we call the Mojiang Miners Passaging hypothesis. The theory proposes (1) that the miners acquired a coronavirus from the bats in the mine and (2) that this bat virus evolved extensively inside their bodies to become a highly human-adapted virus. This evolution occurred during a hospitalisation period that, for some of them, lasted many months. From the thesis we also know that blood and other samples were extracted from the miners and some of these were sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). We suggest that these samples contained highly human-adapted viruses and were used at the WIV for research. During this research the virus escaped, initiating the 2019 COVID-19 pandemic.

    As we show, the theory solves the currently mysterious evolutionary and biological features of SARS-CoV-2 as well as explaining its eventual appearance in Wuhan. It also explains subsequent attempts to obscure the deaths of the miners and the Mojiang mine origin of RATG13.

    Full article:
    https://www.independentsciencenews.org/commentaries/a-proposed-origin-for-sars-cov-2-and-the-covid-19-pandemic/

  11. Nettie McGee says:

    please send notifications. Big Fan Ralph! Thank you.

  12. P Elaine says:

    Thanks for this discussion of “gain of function” research and the associated risks.

  13. I called the White House Opinion Line, which was answered by a chilly blonde voice that gave me free continuous steely silence for the full minute and 4 seconds it took for me to express my opinion that Trump and Pence should step aside and allow the scientific community to take the wheel on our recovery from Coronavirus, with which I am personally concerned, being over 60 with my spouse in Arizona, top of the charts for Coronavirus infections and deaths for a few days this month. When I had done and caught my breath, I noticed the line still seemed to be open, so I asked, “Are you still there?” For response, the line went dead.

  14. Tara Carreon says:

    I called the White House switchboard number, a woman answered, and I said, “My name is Tara Carreon. I am calling to support Public Citizen’s July 14, 2020 letter to Pres. Trump and Vice-Pres. Pence asking them to step down and let the health professionals take control of the coronavirus crisis …” and she hung up on me.

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