A team of scientists, journalists, and other independent researchers has released leaked documents that state that the US-based EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) requested a grant to fund research that would have involved injecting deadly chimeric bat coronaviruses into humanised mice.
The researchers, who refer to themselves collectively as DRASTIC (Decentralised Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating Covid-19), say the documents show that the EHA, in concert with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), attempted to carry out a project that DRASTIC describes as “advanced and dangerous human pathogenicity research that would clearly qualify as gain of function (GoF)”.
DRASTIC added: “Given that we find in this EHA proposal a discussion of the planned introduction of human-specific cleavage sites into novel SARS-r CoVs, a review by the wider scientific community of the plausibility of artificial insertion of an FCS [furin cleavage site] into SARS-CoV-2 or a progenitor is warranted.”
An FCS is a segment of four amino acids that enables a virus to use furin in the human body as an enzyme to dissolve its coating so that it can release its genetic material to infect cells. Furin cleavage sites tend to be more infectious than cleavage sites that use other enzymes.