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FTR #1138 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Part 10: Bad Medicine

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FTR #1138 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [6]

[7]

U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Disease–located at Ft. Det­rick and closed by the CDC for safe­ty vio­la­tions in August, 2019.

Intro­duc­tion: Con­tin­u­ing dis­cus­sion about drug treat­ments for, and vac­cines to pre­vent, Covid-19, this pro­gram sets forth infor­ma­tion about the ongo­ing pro­fes­sion­al mas­sag­ing of Gilead Sci­ences’ anti-viral remde­sivir. Only mod­est­ly suc­cess­ful against SARS Cov‑2 (the virus that caus­es Covid-19), remde­sivir has been pro­pelled to the fore­front of treat­ment reg­i­mens for the pan­dem­ic.

Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est are the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the CDC’s clo­sure of the U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases. The USAMRIID–located at Ft. Detrick–had host­ed Gilead Sci­ences’ ani­mal tri­als of remde­sivir. Remde­sivir was devel­oped to com­bat Ebo­la, and was a fail­ure in its ini­tial pro­fes­sion­al iter­a­tion.

In March of 2019, rhe­sus macaques were infect­ed with Ebo­la [8] at the USAMRIID as part of a project to allow remde­sivir to be mar­ket­ed as an Ebo­la treat­ment with­out meet­ing the pro­fes­sion­al stan­dards of human test­ing. ” . . . This agree­ment was made pos­si­ble through a 2018 Nat­ur­al His­to­ry Study (NHS) of Ebo­la virus con­duct­ed by USAMRIID in close col­lab­o­ra­tion with Gilead Sci­ences, Inc., the spon­sor of remde­sivir devel­op­ment . . .”

Many of the safe­ty vio­la­tions [9] cit­ed by the CDC in its cri­tique of USAMRIID safe­ty and secu­ri­ty pro­ce­dures con­cerned “non-human pri­mates” infect­ed with one or more “select agents” that were not named. The term “select agent” refers to a pathogen being used in lab­o­ra­to­ry pro­ce­dures. Whether the “select agent” was Ebo­la, and whether the safe­ty laps­es were in con­nec­tion with the remdesivir/rhesus mon­key tri­als was not dis­closed.

” . . . . Sev­er­al of the lab­o­ra­to­ry vio­la­tions the CDC not­ed in 2019 con­cerned ‘non-human pri­mates’ infect­ed with a ‘select agent’, the iden­ti­ty of which is unknown — it was redact­ed in all received doc­u­ments, because dis­clos­ing the iden­ti­ty and loca­tion of the agent would endan­ger pub­lic health or safe­ty, the agency says. In addi­tion to Ebo­la, the lab works with oth­er dead­ly agents like anthrax and small­pox. . . ..”

If, for the sake of argu­ment, SARS-CoV­‑2 research was indeed tak­ing plac­ing there was a very real risk of it escap­ing.

[10]

Remde­sivir failed in its human tri­als [11] as a treat­ment for Ebo­la: ” . . . . The antivi­ral drug remde­sivir, made by Gilead, under­per­formed ZMapp. . . .  Remde­sivir and ZMapp have been dropped from the tri­al. . . .”

In FTR #1128 [12], we not­ed that ele­ments asso­ci­at­ed with CIA and apartheid gov­ern­ments and bio­log­i­cal war­fare oper­a­tives had been work­ing with, and/or dis­sem­i­nat­ing Ebo­la. Some of these oper­a­tives had been net­work­ing with Fort Det­rick.

Fol­low­ing that dis­mal per­for­mance against Ebo­la, Gilead Sci­ences recast remde­sivir as a broad spec­trum antivi­ral, a mar­ket­ing approach that has led to the drug being autho­rized to treat Covid-19.

In that pro­fes­sion­al rein­car­na­tion, it demon­strat­ed alto­geth­er mod­est suc­cess in Covid-19 tri­als that were pro­fes­sion­al­ly crit­i­cized [13] and which were bad­ly skewed from a method­olog­i­cal stand­point. 

After a tight­en­ing of pro­fes­sion­al method­olog­i­cal stan­dards at the USAMRIID, it was dis­closed that most of the insti­tu­tion’s oper­a­tives are pri­vate con­trac­tors! [14] From the stand­point of insti­tu­tion­al secu­ri­ty, the broad use of pri­vate con­trac­tors ren­ders USAMRIID sub­ject to pen­e­tra­tion by any num­ber of poten­tial mis­cre­ants. ” . . . . ‘A major­i­ty of our lab­o­ra­to­ry work­ers are contractors–putting teeth in the con­tracts to ensure they’re fol­low­ing the shalls, wills and musts are things we’ve done in the inter­im,’ said [Brigadier Gen­er­al Mike] Tal­ley. . . .”

As not­ed in past pro­grams, Gilead Sci­ences is very well-con­nect­ed [15] pro­fes­sion­al­ly, with for­mer Sec­re­tary of Defense Don­ald Rums­feld [16] (among oth­er polit­i­cal lumi­nar­ies) serv­ing on its board of direc­tors. Rums­feld was chair­man of the board from 1997 until he left in 2001 to become George W. Bush’s Sec­re­tary of Defense. The fir­m’s stock has been heav­i­ly invest­ed in by hedge funds [17], includ­ing Robert Mer­cer’s Renais­sance Tech­nolo­gies [18]. Gilead Sci­ences’ stock has been a major dri­ver of the stock mar­ket’s per­for­mance.

Sev­er­al years into his tenure at the Pen­ta­gon, Rums­feld made a killing on the sale of Gilead Sci­ences’ stock, which rose expo­nen­tial­ly in val­ue fol­low­ing its devel­op­ment of Tam­i­flu as a treat­ment for H5N1 avian flu. ” . . . . The firm made a loss in 2003, the year before con­cern about bird flu start­ed. Then rev­enues from Tam­i­flu almost quadru­pled, to $44.6m, help­ing put the com­pa­ny well into the black. Sales almost quadru­pled again, to $161.6m last year. Dur­ing this time the share price tre­bled. Mr Rums­feld sold some of his Gilead shares in 2004 reap­ing – accord­ing to the finan­cial dis­clo­sure report he is required to make each year – cap­i­tal gains of more than $5m. The report showed that he still had up to $25m-worth of shares at the end of 2004, and at least one ana­lyst believes his stake has grown well beyond that fig­ure, as the share price has soared. . . .”

The U.S. gov­ern­ment was among the cus­tomers whose pur­chas­es drove up the Gilead earn­ings and stock price: ” . . . . What’s more, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is emerg­ing as one of the world’s biggest cus­tomers for Tam­i­flu. In July, the Pen­ta­gon ordered $58 mil­lion worth of the treat­ment for U.S. troops around the world, and Con­gress is con­sid­er­ing a mul­ti-bil­lion dol­lar pur­chase. . . .”

(Recall that the H5N1 virus is one of the gain-of-func­tion exper­i­ments [19] that was sus­pend­ed in 2014 and then green­light­ed by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion in 2017. Those exper­i­ments engi­neered the virus to infect fer­rets, a maneu­ver that made the virus com­mu­ni­ca­ble by upper res­pi­ra­to­ry activ­i­ty. One can but won­der if those G‑O-F exper­i­ments were con­nect­ed to the recast­ing of remde­sivir as a broad spec­trum antivi­ral.)

Dur­ing the post‑9/11 peri­od of explod­ing gov­ern­ment invest­ments [20] in biode­fense pro­grams, Rums­feld was still hold­ing onto mas­sive amounts of Gilead­’s stock, which was rapid­ly increas­ing in val­ue. What kind of rela­tion­ship did Gilead devel­op with the US biode­fense nation­al secu­ri­ty state dur­ing this peri­od? That seems like an  impor­tant ques­tion at this point in time. 

In FTR #1136 [21], we not­ed that the med­ical and sci­en­tif­ic inter­ests [22] in charge of Lyme Dis­ease treat­ment and diag­no­sis were not only finan­cial ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the ther­a­peu­tic sta­tus quo, but were also tasked with dis­cred­it­ing Lyme patients and physi­cians who chal­lenged that sta­tus quo. In light of the evi­dence that Lyme Dis­ease was the out­growth of bio­log­i­cal war­fare research, the pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ship between gov­ern­men­tal insti­tu­tions involved with BW research and biotech­nol­o­gy and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal firms prof­it­ing from the treat­ment of dis­eases those insti­tu­tions devel­op and deploy is worth con­tem­plat­ing! 

Pre­vi­ous broad­casts [23] have doc­u­ment­ed the skewed, pref­er­en­tial [24] treat­ment of remde­sivir by pow­er­ful polit­i­cal [25] and finan­cial [26] play­ers with sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment [24] in the suc­cess [27] of remde­sivir.

The pro­gram con­cludes with three updates of pre­vi­ous lines of inquiry”

  1. Past pro­grams have high­light­ed pos­si­ble vec­tors into Wuhan for the SARS CoV‑2. We note that there was a work­shop held [28] at the Wuhan lab in ear­ly Novem­ber of 2019, fea­tur­ing sci­en­tists and bio-lab pro­fes­sion­als from around the world. This con­fer­ence may have been among the oppor­tu­ni­ties to spread the virus, and/or a co-vec­tor and/or cross-vec­tor. ” . . . . The work­shop is designed for lab­o­ra­to­ry man­agers and direc­tors, research and lab­o­ra­to­ry staffs main­ly from devel­op­ing coun­tries who plan to car­ry out infec­tious dis­ease research in biosafe­ty facil­i­ties. The work­shop will address key aspects of biosafe­ty and pro­vide prac­ti­cal train­ing in high lev­el biosafe­ty lab­o­ra­to­ries (BSL). This work­shop will invite a group of well-known schol­ars and experts from relat­ed fields at home and abroad to pro­vide the the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal cours­es. . . .”
  2. As not­ed in past pro­grams the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy was engaged in bat-borne coro­n­avirus research, which includ­ed the genet­ic mod­i­fi­ca­tion of such organ­isms. That research was a joint U.S./Chinese under­tak­ing [29], with the U.S. fund­ing com­ing from insti­tu­tions which have front­ed for Amer­i­can intel­li­gence and the Pen­ta­gon. That joint U.S./Chinese under­tak­ing was ter­mi­nat­ed [30] by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion in May! In addi­tion: ” . . . . Many of the sci­en­tists at the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy have been trained by the U.S. government’s PREDICT project. . . . USAID’s PREDICT project . . . will end this Sep­tem­ber after 10 years and two six-month exten­sions as USAID launch­es a new project that applies the data PREDICT col­lect­ed. . . .”
  3. Oth­er broad­casts [31] have explored the Wuhan [32]Mil­i­tary [32] World Games–a mil­i­tary sports competition–as a pos­si­ble vec­tor­ing vehi­cle. We update that path of inquiry with dis­cus­sion of the U.S. del­e­ga­tion [33] as a pos­si­ble vec­tor­ing agent for the spread of the dis­ease in the U.S. ” . . . . Con­trary to the Pentagon’s insis­tence, how­ev­er, an inves­ti­ga­tion of COVID-19 cas­es in the mil­i­tary from offi­cial and pub­lic source mate­ri­als shows that a strong cor­re­la­tion exists in COVID-19 cas­es report­ed at U.S. mil­i­tary facil­i­ties that are home bases of mem­bers of the U.S. team that went to Wuhan. Before March 31, when the Pen­ta­gon restrict­ed the release of infor­ma­tion about COVID-19 cas­es at instal­la­tions for secu­ri­ty rea­sons, infec­tions occurred at a min­i­mum of 63 mil­i­tary facil­i­ties where team mem­bers returned after the Wuhan games. Addi­tion­al­ly, the U.S. team used char­tered flights to and from the games via Seat­tle-Taco­ma Inter­na­tion­al Air­port. Wash­ing­ton was one of the ear­li­est states to show a spike in COVID-19. . . .” We also note that the U.S. del­e­ga­tion con­tained: ” . . . . nine pub­lic-affairs offi­cers . . . and two State Depart­ment per­son­nel, accord­ing to DOD doc­u­ments. . . .” “Pub­lic affairs offi­cer” is a com­mon cov­er for CIA per­son­nel.

1. Many of the safe­ty vio­la­tions [9] cit­ed by the CDC in its cri­tique of USAMRIID safe­ty and secu­ri­ty pro­ce­dures con­cerned “non-human pri­mates” infect­ed with one or more “select agents” that were not named. The term “select agent” refers to a pathogen being used in lab­o­ra­to­ry pro­ce­dures. Whether the “select agent” was Ebo­la, and whether the safe­ty laps­es were in con­nec­tion with the remdesivir/rhesus mon­key tri­als was not dis­closed.

” . . . . Sev­er­al of the lab­o­ra­to­ry vio­la­tions the CDC not­ed in 2019 con­cerned ‘non-human pri­mates’ infect­ed with a ‘select agent’, the iden­ti­ty of which is unknown — it was redact­ed in all received doc­u­ments, because dis­clos­ing the iden­ti­ty and loca­tion of the agent would endan­ger pub­lic health or safe­ty, the agency says. In addi­tion to Ebo­la, the lab works with oth­er dead­ly agents like anthrax and small­pox. . . ..”

If, for the sake of argu­ment, SARS-CoV­‑2 research was indeed tak­ing plac­ing there was a very real risk of it escap­ing.

“Army germ lab shut down by CDC in 2019 had sev­er­al ‘seri­ous’ pro­to­col vio­la­tions that year” by Diana DiGan­gi; ABC7 WJLA; 01/22/2020 [9]

In 2019, an Army lab­o­ra­to­ry at Fort Det­rick that stud­ies dead­ly infec­tious mate­r­i­al like Ebo­la and small­pox was shut down for a peri­od of time after a CDC inspec­tion, with many projects being tem­porar­i­ly halt­ed.

The lab itself report­ed that the shut­down order was due to ongo­ing infra­struc­ture issues with waste­water decon­t­a­m­i­na­tion, and the CDC declined to pro­vide the rea­son for the shut­down due to nation­al secu­ri­ty con­cerns.

ABC7 has received doc­u­ments from the CDC out­lin­ing vio­la­tions they dis­cov­ered dur­ing a series of inspec­tions that year, some of which were labeled “seri­ous.”

Ear­li­er that year, the US Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute had announced [8] an exper­i­ment at the Fort Det­rick lab­o­ra­to­ry that would involve infect­ing rhe­sus macaque mon­keys with active Ebo­la virus to test a cure they were devel­op­ing.

Sev­er­al of the lab­o­ra­to­ry vio­la­tions the CDC not­ed in 2019 con­cerned “non-human pri­mates” infect­ed with a “select agent”, the iden­ti­ty of which is unknown — it was redact­ed in all received doc­u­ments, because dis­clos­ing the iden­ti­ty and loca­tion of the agent would endan­ger pub­lic health or safe­ty, the agency says. In addi­tion to Ebo­la, the lab works with oth­er dead­ly agents like anthrax and small­pox.

Select agents are defined by the CDC as “bio­log­i­cal agents and tox­ins that have been deter­mined to have the poten­tial to pose a severe threat to pub­lic health and safe­ty, to ani­mal and plant health, or to ani­mal or plant prod­ucts.”

OBSERVATION 1

Sever­i­ty lev­el: Seri­ous

The CDC report­ed that an indi­vid­ual par­tial­ly entered a room mul­ti­ple times with­out the required res­pi­ra­to­ry pro­tec­tion while oth­er peo­ple in that room were per­form­ing pro­ce­dures with a non-human pri­mate on a necrop­sy table.

“This devi­a­tion from enti­ty pro­ce­dures result­ed in a res­pi­ra­to­ry occu­pa­tion­al expo­sure to select agent aerosols,” the CDC wrote.

OBSERVATION 2

Sever­i­ty lev­el: Seri­ous

The CDC report­ed that the lab did not ensure that employ­ee train­ing was prop­er­ly ver­i­fied when it came to tox­ins and select agents.

“These fail­ures were rec­og­nized through video review of lab­o­ra­to­ri­ans’ work­ing in BSL3 and ABSL3 labs,” their report said. “[These] indi­cate the [lab]’s means used to ver­i­fy per­son­nel under­stood the train­ing had not been effec­tive, lead­ing to increased risk of occu­pa­tion­al expo­sures.”

The CDC went on to spec­i­fy that a lab­o­ra­to­ri­an who was not wear­ing appro­pri­ate res­pi­ra­to­ry pro­tec­tion was seen mul­ti­ple times “par­tial­ly enter­ing” a room where non-human pri­mates that were infect­ed with [redact­ed] were “housed in open caging.” They also observed a lab­o­ra­to­ri­an dis­pos­ing of waste in a bio­haz­ardous waste bin with­out gloves on.

OBSERVATION 3

Sever­i­ty lev­el: Mod­er­ate

In this vio­la­tion obser­va­tion, the CDC went into more detail on the inci­dent of the work­er not wear­ing gloves while dis­pos­ing of bio­haz­ardous waste, writ­ing that “biosafe­ty and con­tain­ment pro­ce­dures must be suf­fi­cient to con­tain the select agent or tox­in.”

The cor­rec­tive action they rec­om­mend­ed was to con­firm that rel­e­vant per­son­nel have been trained to wear gloves to pre­vent expo­sure to haz­ardous mate­ri­als.

OBSERVATION 4

Sever­i­ty lev­el: Seri­ous

In this obser­va­tion, the CDC notes that the Unit­ed States Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases had “sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly failed to ensure imple­men­ta­tion of biosafe­ty and con­tain­ment pro­ce­dures com­men­su­rate with the risks asso­ci­at­ed with work­ing with select agents and tox­ins.”

The vio­la­tion specif­i­cal­ly observed involved “enti­ty per­son­nel […] prop­ping open” a door while remov­ing “large amounts of bio­haz­ardous waste” from an adja­cent room, “[increas­ing] the risk of con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed air from [the room] escap­ing and being drawn into the [redact­ed]” where the peo­ple work­ing “typ­i­cal­ly do not wear res­pi­ra­to­ry pro­tec­tion.”

OBSERVATION 5

Sever­i­ty lev­el: Mod­er­ate

The CDC report­ed that the lab­o­ra­to­ry failed to safe­guard against unau­tho­rized access to select agents. They wrote that per­son­al pro­tec­tive equip­ment worn while decon­t­a­m­i­nat­ing some­thing con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed by a select agent had been stored in open bio­haz­ard bags, in an area of the facil­i­ty that the CDC has redact­ed for secu­ri­ty rea­sons.

“By stor­ing reg­u­lat­ed waste in this area, the enti­ty did not lim­it access to those with access approval,” they wrote.

OBSERVATION 6

Sever­i­ty lev­el: Mod­er­ate

The CDC reports that some­one at the lab did not main­tain an accu­rate or cur­rent inven­to­ry for a tox­in.

OBSERVATION 7

Sever­i­ty lev­el: Low

The CDC reports that a build­ing at the Fort Det­rick lab­o­ra­to­ry didn’t have a “sealed sur­face to facil­i­tate clean­ing and decon­t­a­m­i­na­tion.” This includ­ed cracks around a con­duit box, cracks in the ceil­ing, and a crack in the seam above a bio­log­i­cal safe­ty cab­i­net.

2a. Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est are the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the CDC’s clo­sure of the U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases. The USAMRIID–located at Ft. Detrick–had host­ed Gilead Sci­ences’ ani­mal tri­als of remde­sivir. Remde­sivir was devel­oped to com­bat Ebo­la, and was a fail­ure in its ini­tial pro­fes­sion­al iter­a­tion.

In March of 2019, rhe­sus macaques were infect­ed with Ebo­la [8] at the USAMRIID as part of a project to allow remde­sivir to be mar­ket­ed as an Ebo­la treat­ment with­out meet­ing the pro­fes­sion­al stan­dards of human test­ing. ” . . . This agree­ment was made pos­si­ble through a 2018 Nat­ur­al His­to­ry Study (NHS) of Ebo­la virus con­duct­ed by USAMRIID in close col­lab­o­ra­tion with Gilead Sci­ences, Inc., the spon­sor of remde­sivir devel­op­ment . . .”

“USAMRIID Research Pro­vides Reg­u­la­to­ry Frame­work for Devel­op­ing Ebo­la Virus Ther­a­peu­tic under FDA “Ani­mal Rule”” by Caree Van­der Lin­den; 3/28/2019. [8]

The U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases (USAMRIID) today announced that, for the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA) has pro­vid­ed for­mal reg­u­la­to­ry agree­ment for use of an ani­mal mod­el to sup­port devel­op­ment of a drug can­di­date, remde­sivir, for treat­ing dead­ly Ebo­la virus (EBOV)infections. This agree­ment was made pos­si­ble through a 2018 Nat­ur­al His­to­ry Study (NHS) of Ebo­la virus con­duct­ed by USAMRIID in close col­lab­o­ra­tion with Gilead Sci­ences, Inc., the spon­sor of remde­sivir devel­op­ment, and The Gene­va Foun­da­tion (Gene­va), and fund­ed by the Joint Project Man­ag­er for Med­ical Coun­ter­mea­sure Sys­tems (JPM-MCS), a com­po­nent of the U.S. Depart­ment of Defense’s Joint Pro­gram Exec­u­tive Office for Chem­i­cal, Bio­log­i­cal, Radi­o­log­i­cal and Nuclear Defense.

Specif­i­cal­ly, FDA agreed that the rhe­sus macaque, infect­ed by intra­mus­cu­lar (IM) injec­tion, is a rel­e­vant and ade­quate­ly char­ac­ter­ized mod­el of Ebo­la virus dis­ease to sup­port fil­ing under the FDA Ani­mal Rule. In addi­tion, the agency agreed that the rhe­sus IM/EBOV dis­ease mod­el is suf­fi­cient as a sin­gle ani­mal mod­el for ther­a­peu­tic prod­uct devel­op­ment. Notably, FDA also agreed that a spe­cif­ic delayed time-to-treat approach is appro­pri­ate for future non­clin­i­cal stud­ies aimed at char­ac­ter­iz­ing the effi­ca­cy of remde­sivir.

Spon­sors must demon­strate effi­ca­cy before a med­ical prod­uct can be approved by the FDA; how­ev­er, for cer­tain prod­ucts, when obtain­ing effi­ca­cy data from human patients is not eth­i­cal or fea­si­ble, the FDA may grant approval under the Ani­mal Rule. Such approval would be based on effi­ca­cy data from well-con­trolled stud­ies in ade­quate­ly char­ac­ter­ized ani­mal model(s), when the results of those stud­ies estab­lish that the drug can­di­date is rea­son­ably like­ly to pro­duce clin­i­cal ben­e­fit in humans. The spon­sor must still demon­strate the product’s safe­ty in humans.

“For years, devel­op­ment of Ebo­la virus med­ical coun­ter­mea­sures has been sub­ject to reg­u­la­to­ry uncer­tain­ties regard­ing which mod­els, if any, would be accept­able to the FDA as a foun­da­tion for eval­u­at­ing effi­ca­cy under the Ani­mal Rule,” said COL Gary Wheel­er, USAMRIID com­man­der. “The study design and data-qual­i­ty pos­ture USAMRIID adopt­ed for the Ebo­la virus NHS sets a prece­dent that has the poten­tial to be use­ful for med­ical coun­ter­mea­sure devel­op­ment efforts tar­get­ing oth­er sim­i­lar human pathogens, such as Mar­burg or Sudan virus­es.

USAMRIID and Gilead Sci­ences, Inc. worked in close part­ner­ship to devel­op the study plan for con­duct­ing the IM/EBOV NHS in rhe­sus mon­keys, ana­lyze the study out­come and sub­mit data to the FDA. A team of over 100 USAMRIID and Gene­va per­son­nel, rep­re­sent­ing the divi­sions of Mol­e­c­u­lar and Trans­la­tion­al Sci­ences, Virol­o­gy, Teleme­try, Pathol­o­gy, Vet­eri­nary Med­i­cine, Advanced Research Stud­ies and Qual­i­ty Assur­ance par­tic­i­pat­ed in the study, which was con­duct­ed in a Biosafe­ty Lev­el 4 (BSL‑4) lab­o­ra­to­ry under max­i­mum con­tain­ment con­di­tions. Impor­tant­ly, this project was the first-ever study to be com­plet­ed in com­pli­ance with Good Lab­o­ra­to­ry Prac­tice (GLP) stan­dards in a BSL‑4 lab­o­ra­to­ry. In Jan­u­ary 2019, FDA audi­tors vis­it­ed USAMRIID to con­duct a data qual­i­ty and integri­ty inspec­tion of USAMRIID’s GLP facil­i­ties and process­es. The results of the audit were report­ed as “No Action Indi­cat­ed,” a clas­si­fi­ca­tion that occurs when no objec­tion­able con­di­tions or prac­tices were found dur­ing the inspec­tion.

“To date, there are no FDA-approved ther­a­peu­tics for treat­ment of Ebo­la virus dis­ease. Both the cur­rent out­break in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Con­go and the 2014–2016 West Africa out­break, the largest in his­to­ry, high­light the urgent need for antivi­ral ther­a­py to com­bat this dead­ly dis­ease. We are com­mit­ted to devel­op­ing our inves­ti­ga­tion­al antivi­ral agent, remde­sivir, for the treat­ment of Ebo­la virus infec­tion using the Ani­mal Rule or oth­er appro­pri­ate reg­u­la­to­ry path­way based on feed­back from FDA,” said John McHutchi­son, AO, MD, Chief Sci­en­tif­ic Offi­cer and Head of Research and Devel­op­ment, Gilead Sci­ences, Inc. Remde­sivir is an inves­ti­ga­tion­al agent and is not approved by any reg­u­la­to­ry agency glob­al­ly. Its safe­ty and effi­ca­cy have not been estab­lished.“

This project is a tes­ta­ment to the effi­cien­cy of pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship to accel­er­ate the devel­op­ment of crit­i­cal­ly need­ed med­ical coun­ter­mea­sures,” said COL David Ham­mer, Joint Project Man­ag­er for Med­ical Coun­ter­mea­sure Sys­tems. “We can advance prod­ucts more quick­ly when we work togeth­er to lever­age the skills of mul­ti­ple orga­ni­za­tions.”

The NHS was con­duct­ed as part of the over­all remde­sivir devel­op­ment plan, and prod­uct-inde­pen­dent qual­i­fi­ca­tion of the rhe­sus IM/EBOV mod­el through the FDA Ani­mal Mod­el Qual­i­fi­ca­tion Pro­gram has not been sought or obtained.

2b. In FTR #1128 [12], we not­ed that ele­ments asso­ci­at­ed with CIA and apartheid gov­ern­ments and bio­log­i­cal war­fare oper­a­tives had been work­ing with, and/or dis­sem­i­nat­ing Ebo­la. Some of these oper­a­tives had been net­work­ing with Fort Det­rick.

  1. Ebo­la was appar­ent­ly [34] the focal point of some of Lar­ry Ford’s work: ” . . . . Ford told the Rileys and oth­ers his sub­se­quent work for the mil­i­tary and the CIA includ­ed research on bio­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal weapons, con­sult­ing on Iraqi capa­bil­i­ties dur­ing the Gulf War, and sneak­ing into epi­dem­ic hot zones in Africa to gath­er sam­ples of such killer organ­isms as the Ebo­la and Mar­burg virus­es. . . .”
  2. Dr. Stamps–Zimbabwe’s Health Min­is­ter [35]–had some point­ed obser­va­tions about out­breaks of Ebo­la dur­ing that nation’s war of inde­pen­dence and his belief that they result­ed from Project Coast. Note that Hat­fill was involved with the Rhode­sian Selous Scouts: “ . . . . ‘I have my sus­pi­cions about Ebo­la [36] too. [Dr. Stamps is quoted–the Health Min­is­ter of Zim­bab­we] It devel­oped along the line of the Zam­bezi Riv­er, and I sus­pect that this may have been an exper­i­ment to see if a new virus could be estab­lished to infect peo­ple. We looked on the sero­log­i­cal evi­dence on strange cas­es, includ­ing a fif­teen-year-old child which occurred in 1980. Noth­ing real­ly made epi­demi­o­log­i­cal sense. Do I have evi­dence? Only cir­cum­stan­tial. In fact, the Rhode­sian secu­ri­ty forces were more expert than the Nazis at cov­er­ing up evi­dence.’ . . .”
  3. Cor­rob­o­rat­ing some of Dr. Stamps’ sus­pi­cions con­cern­ing Ebo­la [37], “Gert” (a pseu­do­nym for a vet­er­an of Project Coast) dis­cussed the use of that virus and the relat­ed Mar­burg virus in Project Coast. “Gert” also implies that US sci­en­tists from Ft. Det­rick (Dr. Ford? Steven Hat­fill) were involved with a Zairi­an out­break. “ . . . . ‘Look, I know what one of the very, very, very secret spe­cial­ized units had. We had to test it. And that was viral cap­sules that were specif­i­cal­ly relat­ed to Con­go fever and the hem­or­rhag­ic fevers.’ Ebo­la? ‘Yes.’ So Gert is begin­ning to cor­rob­o­rate Dr. Stamp’s sus­pi­cions in Harare that Ebo­la and Mar­burg, although indige­nous, were also arti­fi­cial­ly seed­ed into South­ern Africa. Bas­son, says Gert, was involved in all this. (when the last ter­ri­ble Ebo­la out­break occurred in Kik­wit, Zaire, as late as 1995, Gert claims that Bas­son was there, unof­fi­cial­ly. Twen­ty years ear­li­er, when the vil­lage of Yam­buku in north­ern Zaire wit­nessed one of the first major Ebo­la out­breaks, two South African sci­en­tists were there, alleged­ly work­ing hand in glove with US mil­i­tary per­son­nel from Fort Det­rick.) . . . . ”

3. Fol­low­ing a tight­en­ing of pro­fes­sion­al method­olog­i­cal stan­dards at the USAMRIID, it was dis­closed that most of the insti­tu­tion’s oper­a­tives are pri­vate con­trac­tors! [14] From the stand­point of insti­tu­tion­al secu­ri­ty, the broad use of pri­vate con­trac­tors ren­ders USAMRIID sub­ject to pen­e­tra­tion by any num­ber of poten­tial mis­cre­ants.

” . . . . ‘A major­i­ty of our lab­o­ra­to­ry work­ers are contractors–putting teeth in the con­tracts to ensure they’re fol­low­ing the shalls, wills and musts are things we’ve done in the inter­im,’ said [Brigadier Gen­er­al Mike] Tal­ley. . . .”

“Army lead­er­ship share details on changes made to reopen Fort Det­rick labs” by Jas­mine Pelaez; WDVM; 10/09/2019 [14]

Octo­ber marks three months since the clo­sure of U.S. Army med­ical research lab­o­ra­to­ries at Fort Det­rick. . . .

Army lead­er­ship from Fort Det­rick report­ed to mem­bers of the Con­tain­ment Lab­o­ra­to­ry Com­mu­ni­ty Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee Tues­day to address the sus­pen­sion of biosafe­ty lev­el 3 and 4 labs at the Unit­ed States Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases (USAMRIID).

“We’ve had to make adjust­ments. We can’t keep doing things the way we’ve always done it,” explained Com­mand­ing Gen­er­al for Med­ical Research and Devel­op­ment Com­mand at Fort Det­rick, Brigadier Gen­er­al Mike Tal­ley

The labs were closed down on July 18 after a cease and desist order by the Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC) after find­ing mechan­i­cal issues and human error in treat­ing lab­o­ra­to­ry waste­water.

Tal­ley out­lined that CDC per­son­nel have been embed­ded in the labs. Progress includes review­ing about 31 stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dures, and adding more non-com­mis­sioned offi­cer involve­ment.

“A major­i­ty of our lab­o­ra­to­ry work­ers are contractors–putting teeth in the con­tracts to ensure they’re fol­low­ing the shalls, wills and musts are things we’ve done in the inter­im,” said Tal­ley.

Train­ing is a main focus mov­ing forward–Talley explains that per­son­nel work­ing with­in the high­er-lev­el labs will go through cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“Only those per­son­nel that have been cer­ti­fied through the train­ing are going to be allowed to go back into the lab­o­ra­to­ries, and there is a sol­id sus­tain­ment plan to keep their skills up– we haven’t done this before,” Tal­ley explained.

May­or Michael O’Connor says the plans do sound promis­ing to ensure com­mu­ni­ty safe­ty, but com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key.

“The ongo­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion is what’s real­ly crit­i­cal. When there’s any kind of inci­dent at the Fort that the com­mu­ni­ty could learn about, it’s impor­tant for us in lead­er­ship to hear about that before we read about it in the news­pa­per,” O’Connor said.

Army lead­er­ship aims to con­struct a new steam ster­il­iza­tion plant at Fort Det­rick. This will be put out for bid world­wide.

4. Remde­sivir failed in its human tri­als [11] as a treat­ment for Ebo­la: ” . . . . The antivi­ral drug remde­sivir, made by Gilead, under­per­formed ZMapp. . . .  Remde­sivir and ZMapp have been dropped from the tri­al. . . .”

Fol­low­ing that dis­mal per­for­mance against Ebo­la, Gilead Sci­ences recast remde­sivir as a broad spec­trum antivi­ral, a mar­ket­ing approach that has led to the drug being autho­rized to treat Covid-19. In that pro­fes­sion­al rein­car­na­tion, it demon­strat­ed alto­geth­er mod­est suc­cess in Covid-19 tri­als that were pro­fes­sion­al­ly crit­i­cized [13] and which were bad­ly skewed from a method­olog­i­cal stand­point. 

“For the first time, clin­i­cal tri­al results show Ebo­la drugs improve sur­vival rates” by Helen Bran­swell; STAT News; 08/12/2019 [11]

A his­toric clin­i­cal tri­al has shown that two ther­a­pies made from Ebo­la anti­bod­ies appear to be improv­ing sur­vival rates among peo­ple who receive them, health offi­cials announced Mon­day. The announce­ment marks the first time a clin­i­cal tri­al has suc­cess­ful­ly shown that an Ebo­la ther­a­py improves sur­vival in peo­ple who have been infect­ed.

Two oth­er ther­a­pies used in the clin­i­cal tri­al per­formed less well and will be dis­con­tin­ued.

The ther­a­pies that have improved sur­vival rates are REGN-EB3, a cock­tail of three mon­o­clon­al Ebo­la anti­bod­ies made by Regen­eron Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, and mAb114, a sin­gle mon­o­clon­al anti­body devel­oped by the Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases, part of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health. The clin­i­cal tri­al will con­tin­ue com­par­ing these two drugs in Ebo­la treat­ment cen­ters in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of the Con­go.

“It means that we do have now what looks like treat­ments for a dis­ease which not too long ago we real­ly had no ther­a­peu­tic approach at all,” said Dr. Antho­ny Fau­ci, direc­tor of NIAID.

“We feel that with agents such as these … that we may be able to improve the sur­vival of peo­ple with Ebo­la and … might even make peo­ple more enthu­si­as­tic about com­ing for care,” he said. “Because when you have some­thing to offer an indi­vid­ual, it makes it much more like­ly that you might get to them ear­ly. And the ear­li­er the bet­ter, as in any dis­ease.”

A num­ber of clin­i­cal tri­als were start­ed near the end of the 2014–2016 West African Ebo­la out­break, but they either revealed that pro­posed ther­a­pies did not work or failed to reach a result before the out­break end­ed.

One of the drugs test­ed in West Africa, ZMapp, had shown a sig­nal that it was improv­ing sur­vival, but the out­break end­ed before the tri­al could con­clude. In the cur­rent clin­i­cal tri­al, called the PALM study — the acronym stands for Pamo­ja Tulinde Maisha, which is Swahili for Togeth­er Save Lives — three ther­a­peu­tics were test­ed against ZMapp.

The orig­i­nal plan for the tri­al involved enrolling 725 patients. But the trial’s data and safe­ty mon­i­tor­ing board, which has con­duct­ed spo­radic reviews of the data, ana­lyzed find­ings based on 499 patients late last week.

That analy­sis showed REGN-EB3 was per­form­ing bet­ter than ZMapp at sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant rates, doing well enough that it crossed a pre-estab­lished thresh­old that requires alter­ing the pro­to­col of the study. Close behind was mAb114, which will be devel­oped by Ridge­back Bio­ther­a­peu­tics [38]The antivi­ral drug remde­sivir, made by Gilead, under­per­formed ZMapp.

The board decid­ed the tri­al should be revamped to test REGN-EB3 and mAB114 against each oth­er. Remde­sivir and ZMapp have been dropped from the tri­al.

The clin­i­cal tri­al was con­duct­ed at Ebo­la treat­ment cen­ters in Beni, Kat­wa, Butem­bo, and Mang­i­na, all hotspots at var­i­ous points in the out­break. Patients who are cared for in treat­ment cen­ters that are not involved in the tri­al have been receiv­ing the drugs under com­pas­sion­ate use pro­to­cols. Going for­ward, only the two drugs will be used in those cir­cum­stances as well.

Dr. Sumathi Siva­palasingam, Regeneron’s med­ical lead on the REGN-EB3 project, said the com­pa­ny was in a state of shock. They had expect­ed the drug to work, she said, but were still sur­prised at how well it per­formed vis-à-vis the oth­er ther­a­pies.

There were only lim­it­ed and pre­lim­i­nary data avail­able at this point. But they showed mor­tal­i­ty rates of 49% in peo­ple treat­ed with ZMapp, 53% in those who received remde­sivir, 34% in peo­ple treat­ed with mAb114, and 29% for peo­ple who received the Regen­eron cock­tail. The fatal­i­ty rate for the out­break as a whole is 67%.

Leah Lip­sich, Regeneron’s vice pres­i­dent for strate­gic pro­gram direc­tion, said the com­pa­ny believes it has ade­quate sup­plies of REGN-EB3, with cur­rent stock “in the high hun­dreds” of dos­es, with anoth­er round of pro­duc­tion about to start.

The NIH has about 300 dos­es of mAb114 at the moment, Fau­ci said, with addi­tion prod­uct com­ing avail­able in ear­ly Sep­tem­ber.

To date more than 1,400 peo­ple have received one of the exper­i­men­tal ther­a­pies.

The results put into ques­tion the future of ZMapp, the first mon­o­clon­al anti­body prepa­ra­tion to be used to fight Ebo­la.

A state­ment from Gilead said the com­pa­ny remains com­mit­ted to study­ing remde­sivir as a pos­si­ble treat­ment for Ebo­la and oth­er emerg­ing viral dis­eases. “A full analy­sis of the PALM tri­al data will help to inform future study [and] use of remde­sivir. Poten­tial learn­ings may include insight into the impact of viral strain and sever­i­ty of dis­ease pro­gres­sion on treat­ment strate­gies and the poten­tial for both sin­gle agent and com­bi­na­tion treat­ment approach­es,” it said.

The new results are based on a tri­al that was start­ed last Novem­ber. At the time, it was thought that it might take mul­ti­ple Ebo­la out­breaks before researchers had enough data. It was designed to be a rolling tri­al that could incor­po­rate data from future out­breaks in oth­er coun­tries, if need­ed.

But the ongo­ing out­break in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of the Con­go, now in its sec­ond year, has been so large there were enough patients enrolled to come up with answers.

The out­break, occur­ring in the north­east­ern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, is the sec­ond largest on record. To date, 2,831 peo­ple have been infect­ed with the virus, and near­ly 1,900 have died.

Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyem­be, direc­tor of DRC’s Nation­al Insti­tute of Bio­med­ical Research, and the first sci­en­tist to pro­pose using blood from Ebo­la sur­vivors to help peo­ple suf­fer­ing from the dis­ease, said for years he could not have imag­ined the devel­op­ment announced Mon­day, pre­dict­ing thou­sands of lives will be saved in future Ebo­la out­breaks.

— An ear­li­er ver­sion of this sto­ry report­ed the anti­bod­ies from both of the suc­cess­ful treat­ments were derived from Ebo­la sur­vivors. In fact the Regen­eron anti­bod­ies were gen­er­at­ed in mice.

5. As not­ed in past pro­grams, Gilead Sci­ences is very well-con­nect­ed [15] pro­fes­sion­al­ly, with for­mer Sec­re­tary of Defense Don­ald Rums­feld [16] (among oth­er polit­i­cal lumi­nar­ies) serv­ing on its board of direc­tors. Rums­feld was chair­man of the board from 1997 until he left in 2001 to become George W. Bush’s Sec­re­tary of Defense. The fir­m’s stock has been heav­i­ly invest­ed in by hedge funds [17], includ­ing Robert Mer­cer’s Renais­sance Tech­nolo­gies [18]. Gilead Sci­ences’ stock has been a major dri­ver of the stock mar­ket’s per­for­mance.

Dur­ing the post‑9/11 peri­od of explod­ing gov­ern­ment invest­ments in biode­fense pro­grams [20], Don­ald Rums­feld was still hold­ing onto mas­sive amounts of Gilead stock, which was increas­ing in val­ue dra­mat­i­cal­ly. What kind of rela­tion­ship did Gilead devel­op with the US biode­fense nation­al secu­ri­ty state dur­ing this peri­od? That seems like a pret­ty impor­tant ques­tion at this point in time. 

The U.S. gov­ern­ment was among the cus­tomers whose pur­chas­es drove up the Gilead earn­ings and stock price: ” . . . . What’s more, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is emerg­ing as one of the world’s biggest cus­tomers for Tam­i­flu. In July, the Pen­ta­gon ordered $58 mil­lion worth of the treat­ment for U.S. troops around the world, and Con­gress is con­sid­er­ing a mul­ti-bil­lion dol­lar pur­chase. . . .”

“Rumsfeld’s grow­ing stake in Tam­i­flu” by Nel­son D. Schwartz; CNN; 10/31/2005 [16]

The prospect of a bird flu out­break may be pan­ick­ing peo­ple around the globe, but it’s prov­ing to be very good news for Defense Sec­re­tary Don­ald Rums­feld and oth­er polit­i­cal­ly con­nect­ed investors in Gilead Sci­ences, the Cal­i­for­nia biotech com­pa­ny that owns the rights to Tam­i­flu, the influen­za rem­e­dy that’s now the most-sought after drug in the world.

The forms don’t reveal the exact num­ber of shares Rums­feld owns, but in the past six months fears of a pan­dem­ic and the ensu­ing scram­ble for Tam­i­flu have sent Gilead’s stock from $35 to $47. That’s made the Pen­ta­gon chief, already one of the wealth­i­est mem­bers of the Bush cab­i­net, at least $1 mil­lion rich­er.

Rums­feld isn’t the only polit­i­cal heavy­weight ben­e­fit­ing from demand for Tam­i­flu, which is man­u­fac­tured and mar­ket­ed by Swiss phar­ma giant Roche. (Gilead receives a roy­al­ty from Roche equal­ing about 10% of sales.) For­mer Sec­re­tary of State George Shultz, who is on Gilead’s board, has sold more than $7 mil­lion worth of Gilead since the begin­ning of 2005.

Anoth­er board mem­ber is the wife of for­mer Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Pete Wil­son.

“I don’t know of any biotech com­pa­ny that’s so polit­i­cal­ly well-con­nect­ed,” says ana­lyst Andrew McDon­ald of Think Equi­ty Part­ners in San Fran­cis­co.

What’s more, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is emerg­ing as one of the world’s biggest cus­tomers for Tam­i­flu. In July, the Pen­ta­gon ordered $58 mil­lion worth of the treat­ment for U.S. troops around the world, and Con­gress is con­sid­er­ing a mul­ti-bil­lion dol­lar pur­chase. Roche expects 2005 sales for Tam­i­flu to be about $1 bil­lion, com­pared with $258 mil­lion in 2004.

Rums­feld recused him­self from any deci­sions involv­ing Gilead when he left Gilead and became Sec­re­tary of Defense in ear­ly 2001. And late last month, notes a senior Pen­ta­gon offi­cial, Rums­feld went even fur­ther and had the Pentagon’s gen­er­al coun­sel issue addi­tion­al instruc­tions out­lin­ing what he could and could not be involved in if there were an avian flu pan­dem­ic and the Pen­ta­gon had to respond.

As the flu issue heat­ed up ear­ly this year, accord­ing to the Pen­ta­gon offi­cial, Rums­feld con­sid­ered unload­ing his entire Gilead stake and sought the advice of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice, the SEC and the fed­er­al Office of Gov­ern­ment Ethics.

Those agen­cies didn’t offer an opin­ion so Rums­feld con­sult­ed a pri­vate secu­ri­ties lawyer, who advised him that it was safer to hold on to the stock and be quite pub­lic about his recusal rather than sell and run the risk of being accused of trad­ing on insid­er infor­ma­tion, some­thing Rums­feld doesn’t believe he pos­sess­es. So he’s keep­ing his shares for the time being.

6a. Sev­er­al years into his tenure at the Pen­ta­gon, Rums­feld made a killing on the sale of Gilead Sci­ences’ stock, which rose expo­nen­tial­ly in val­ue fol­low­ing its devel­op­ment of Tam­i­flu as a treat­ment for H5N1 avian flu.” . . . . The firm made a loss in 2003, the year before con­cern about bird flu start­ed. Then rev­enues from Tam­i­flu almost quadru­pled, to $44.6m, help­ing put the com­pa­ny well into the black. Sales almost quadru­pled again, to $161.6m last year. Dur­ing this time the share price tre­bled. Mr Rums­feld sold some of his Gilead shares in 2004 reap­ing – accord­ing to the finan­cial dis­clo­sure report he is required to make each year – cap­i­tal gains of more than $5m. The report showed that he still had up to $25m-worth of shares at the end of 2004, and at least one ana­lyst believes his stake has grown well beyond that fig­ure, as the share price has soared. . . .”

“Don­ald Rums­feld makes $5m killing on bird flu drug” by Geof­frey Lean and Jonathan Owen; The Inde­pe­nent; 03/12/2006 [39]

Don­ald Rums­feld has made a killing out of bird flu. The US Defence Sec­re­tary has made more than $5m (£2.9m) in cap­i­tal gains from sell­ing shares in the biotech­nol­o­gy firm that dis­cov­ered and devel­oped Tam­i­flu, the drug being bought in mas­sive amounts by Gov­ern­ments to treat a pos­si­ble human pan­dem­ic of the dis­ease.

More than 60 coun­tries have so far ordered large stocks of the antivi­ral med­ica­tion – the only oral med­i­cine believed to be effec­tive against the dead­ly H5N1 strain of the dis­ease – to try to pro­tect their peo­ple. The Unit­ed Nations esti­mates that a pan­dem­ic could kill 150 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide.

Britain is about halfway through receiv­ing an order of 14.6 mil­lion cours­es of the drug, which the Gov­ern­ment hopes will avert some of the 700,000 deaths that might be expect­ed. Tam­i­flu does not cure the dis­ease, but if tak­en soon after symp­toms appear it can reduce its sever­i­ty.

The drug was devel­oped by a Cal­i­forn­ian biotech com­pa­ny, Gilead Sci­ences. It is now made and sold by the giant chem­i­cal com­pa­ny Roche, which pays it a roy­al­ty on every tablet sold, cur­rent­ly about a fifth of its price.

Mr Rums­feld was on the board of Gilead from 1988 to 2001, and was its chair­man from 1997. He then left to join the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, but retained a huge share­hold­ing .

The firm made a loss in 2003, the year before con­cern about bird flu start­ed. Then rev­enues from Tam­i­flu almost quadru­pled, to $44.6m, help­ing put the com­pa­ny well into the black. Sales almost quadru­pled again, to $161.6m last year. Dur­ing this time the share price tre­bled.

Mr Rums­feld sold some of his Gilead shares in 2004 reap­ing – accord­ing to the finan­cial dis­clo­sure report he is required to make each year – cap­i­tal gains of more than $5m. The report showed that he still had up to $25m-worth of shares at the end of 2004, and at least one ana­lyst believes his stake has grown well beyond that fig­ure, as the share price has soared. Fur­ther details are not like­ly to become known, how­ev­er, until Mr Rums­feld makes his next dis­clo­sure in May.

The 2005 report showed that, in all, he owned shares worth up to $95.9m, from which he got an income of up to $13m, owned land worth up to $17m, and made $1m from rent­ing it out. . . .

6b. Don­ald Rums­feld was a sig­na­to­ry to the 1998 let­ter to Pres­i­dent Clin­ton by the Project for a New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry. That let­ter advo­cat­ed a hard­er line against Iraq.

DARPA and the Pen­ta­gon have into the appli­ca­tion of genet­ic engi­neer­ing in order to cre­ate eth­no-spe­cif­ic bio­log­i­cal war­fare weapons, as dis­cussed by the Project for a New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry.

“Bats, Gene Edit­ing and Bioweapons: Rec­cent DARPA Exper­i­ments Raise Con­cerns Amid Coro­n­avirus Out­break” by Whit­ney Webb; The Last Amer­i­can Vagabond; 1/30/2020. [40]

” . . . . In what is arguably the think tank’s most con­tro­ver­sial doc­u­ment, titled ‘Rebuild­ing America’s Defens­es [41],’ there are a few pas­sages that open­ly dis­cuss the util­i­ty of bioweapons, includ­ing the fol­low­ing sen­tences: ‘…com­bat like­ly will take place in new dimen­sions: in space, ‘cyber-space,’ and per­haps the world of microbes…advanced forms of bio­log­i­cal war­fare that can ‘tar­get’ spe­cif­ic geno­types may trans­form bio­log­i­cal war­fare from the realm of ter­ror to a polit­i­cal­ly use­ful tool.’ . . .”

7. In ear­ly Novem­ber of last year, there was an inter­na­tion­al work­shop about man­ag­ing and oper­at­ing Biosafe­ty labs, held at the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy. At this work­shop there were invi­tees who includ­ed per­son­nel who might have served as vec­tor­ing agents. Bear in mind, again, that bio­log­i­cal war­fare requires a very small num­ber of oper­a­tional per­son­nel to do some very effec­tive and destruc­tive work. ” . . . . The work­shop is designed for lab­o­ra­to­ry man­agers and direc­tors, research and lab­o­ra­to­ry staffs main­ly from devel­op­ing coun­tries who plan to car­ry out infec­tious dis­ease research in biosafe­ty facil­i­ties. The work­shop will address key aspects of biosafe­ty and pro­vide prac­ti­cal train­ing in high lev­el biosafe­ty lab­o­ra­to­ries (BSL). This work­shop will invite a group of well-known schol­ars and experts from relat­ed fields at home and abroad to pro­vide the the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal cours­es. . . .”

“Inter­na­tion­al Work­shop on Biosafe­ty Lab Man­age­ment and Tech­niques: Novem­ber 3–9, 2019 Wuhan, Chi­na”; Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy, Chi­nese Acad­e­my of Sci­ences; 05/09/2020 Inter­net Archive cap­ture [28]

With the devel­op­ment of glob­al­iza­tion, indus­tri­al­iza­tion and mod­ern­iza­tion, and the changes in the envi­ron­ment and cli­mate, dif­fer­ent infec­tious dis­eases and var­i­ous pub­lic health emer­gen­cies are pos­ing seri­ous threats to human health. In addi­tion, as the glob­al pace of build­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries has been accel­er­at­ed sig­nif­i­cant­ly, lab­o­ra­to­ry safe­ty issues have become increas­ing­ly promi­nent. Thus, the glob­al com­mu­ni­ty is fac­ing new chal­lenges in pub­lic health. Two ses­sions of the Inter­na­tion­al Work­shop on Biosafe­ty Lab­o­ra­to­ry Man­age­ment and Tech­niques were suc­cess­ful­ly held in 2017 and 2018. The series of work­shops, as the first offer sub­mit­ted by Chi­na to the Bio­log­i­cal Weapons Con­ven­tion (BWC) Assis­tance and Coop­er­a­tion Data­base, con­sti­tutes China’s major con­tri­bu­tion to the imple­men­ta­tion of BWC.

In 2019, the work­shop will be host­ed by the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na and the Chi­nese Acad­e­my of Sci­ences (CAS), and orga­nized by Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy (WIV), CAS, and will be held from Novem­ber 03–09, 2019 in Wuhan, Chi­na.

The work­shop is designed for lab­o­ra­to­ry man­agers and direc­tors, research and lab­o­ra­to­ry staffs main­ly from devel­op­ing coun­tries who plan to car­ry out infec­tious dis­ease research in biosafe­ty facil­i­ties. The work­shop will address key aspects of biosafe­ty and pro­vide prac­ti­cal train­ing in high lev­el biosafe­ty lab­o­ra­to­ries (BSL). This work­shop will invite a group of well-known schol­ars and experts from relat­ed fields at home and abroad to pro­vide the the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal cours­es. The par­tic­i­pants will be sup­posed to dis­cuss bioethics and biosafe­ty poli­cies, under­stand key com­po­nents (risk recog­ni­tion, risk assess­ment and risk mit­i­ga­tion) of a biorisk man­age­ment sys­tem, acquire hands-on expe­ri­ence of safe oper­a­tions in biosafe­ty lab­o­ra­to­ries and know basic design prin­ci­ples of biosafe­ty lab­o­ra­to­ries.

8a. In past posts [42] and pro­grams [43], we have not­ed that the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virology–the focal point of right-wing pro­pa­gan­da and disinformation–was engaged in projects involv­ing bat-borne coro­n­avirus­es of the same type as SARS CoV‑2. That research was a joint U.S. and Chi­nese project, with fund­ing com­ing from USAID [44] (a U.S. intel­li­gence cut-out) and the NIH (which has net­worked with, and front­ed for, both CIA and Pen­ta­gon [20].) In May, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion ter­mi­nat­ed the fund­ing for the project.

“Trump admin pulls NIH grant for coro­n­avirus research over ties to Wuhan lab at heart of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries” by Conor Finnegan; ABC News; 05/01/2020 [30]

The Trump admin­is­tra­tion has pulled fund­ing for a group of sci­en­tists study­ing coro­n­avirus­es in bats and the risk of their spillover into humans — the very kind of infec­tion that start­ed the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic — accord­ing to Eco­Health Alliance, the New York-based non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion con­duct­ing the research.

The can­cel­la­tion of the grant after more than a decade of work in this field seems to be tied to Eco­Health Alliance’s part­ner­ship with the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy, the bio­med­ical lab at the heart of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment cre­at­ed or unleashed the virus or the unproven the­sis that the out­break start­ed with an acci­dent because of faulty safe­ty stan­dards in the lab.

Either way, the group expressed regret at the deci­sion by the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health to ter­mi­nate fund­ing, say­ing its work has helped in “design­ing vac­cines and drugs to pro­tect us from COVID-19 and oth­er coro­n­avirus threats” and point­ing out the Wuhan Institute’s par­tic­i­pa­tion had been approved by the NIH for years, includ­ing just last year under Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

The pres­i­dent has tak­en a hard­er line on Chi­na in recent days, say­ing Thurs­day he has seen evi­dence that the Wuhan Insti­tute is respon­si­ble for the out­break, although he wasn’t clear whether he believes it was some­how man­u­fac­tured in the lab or the result of an acci­dent. Most experts have told ABC News the first human infec­tion — what’s known a “zoonot­ic spillover” — is much more like­ly to have hap­pened in the wild, where that kind of trans­mis­sion occurs increas­ing­ly often.

“It’s a ter­ri­ble thing that hap­pened,” Trump told reporters at the White House Thurs­day evening. “Whether they made a mis­take or whether it start­ed off as a mis­take and then they made anoth­er one, or did some­body do some­thing on pur­pose?

The U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty agrees with the sci­en­tif­ic con­sen­sus that the virus is “not man-made or genet­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied,” the Office of the Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence said in a rare state­ment Thurs­day, but it announced its intel agen­cies are inves­ti­gat­ing whether the out­break could be “the result of an acci­dent at a lab­o­ra­to­ry in Wuhan.”

Eco­Health Alliance has worked with that lab for over a decade, accord­ing to a source famil­iar with the grant, as has the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Development’s PREDICT project, which for over 10 years has also stud­ied virus­es in ani­mals and pre­pared local part­ners around the world to detect that kind of “spillover.”

But in a let­ter last Fri­day, the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health informed the Eco­Health Alliance it was ter­mi­nat­ing the grant and deny­ing it access to the remain­ing $369,819 in its account for Fis­cal Year 2020.

“At this time, NIH does not believe that the cur­rent project out­comes align with the pro­gram goals and agency pri­or­i­ties,” Michael Lauer, NIH’s deputy direc­tor for out­side research, wrote, accord­ing to a copy obtained by Politi­co, which first report­ed the news [45].

Lauer’s let­ter made no direct ref­er­ence to the pres­i­dent, accord­ing to the source famil­iar with the grant, but just one week pri­or, Trump said he would ter­mi­nate it “very quick­ly” and blamed the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion for it, even though his admin­is­tra­tion also approved the fund­ing.

Last Friday’s ter­mi­na­tion let­ter came after NIH asked Eco­Health Alliance not to send any more fund­ing to the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy ear­li­er this month, accord­ing to the source. The group had halt­ed fund­ing, but large­ly because the pan­dem­ic had put a halt to near­ly all its research oper­a­tions.

Eco­Health Alliance has received NIH fund­ing for this work since 2008, amount­ing to $5.96 mil­lion over 12 years, accord­ing to NIH [46]data [47]. That work has helped “devel­op pre­dic­tive mod­els of glob­al ‘hot spots’ for the future emer­gence of bat virus­es” and used its “large repos­i­to­ry of bat bio­log­i­cal sam­ples to con­duct tar­get­ed sur­veil­lance in these ‘hot spots’ for known and undis­cov­ered bat pathogens,” accord­ing to the group.

That work is now at risk, accord­ing to the source, who said U.S. access to those sam­ples and at least some of that data held by the Wuhan Insti­tute would be cut off.

Since Fis­cal Year 2014, that work has been award­ed to Eco­Health Alliance’s “Under­stand­ing the Risk of Bat Coro­n­avirus Emer­gence” project in par­tic­u­lar, which is explic­it­ly focused on Chi­na and done in part­ner­ship with the Wuhan Insti­tute and oth­ers.

“This project aims to under­stand what fac­tors increase the risk of the next CoV [coro­n­avirus] emerg­ing in peo­ple by study­ing CoV diver­si­ty in a crit­i­cal zoonot­ic reser­voir (bats), at sites of high risk for emer­gence (wildlife mar­kets) in an emerg­ing dis­ease hotspot (Chi­na),” the group’s NIH-approved research abstract said.

Sci­en­tists have deter­mined that the nov­el coro­n­avirus that caus­es COVID-19 orig­i­nat­ed in a bat, although there’s been no con­clu­sion yet about how it jumped from bats to humans. Many of the ear­li­est cas­es were con­nect­ed to a wet mar­ket in Wuhan, where live and fresh­ly killed ani­mals are sold, but some sci­en­tists have cast doubt on it being the orig­i­nal source. The Wuhan munic­i­pal gov­ern­ment closed the mar­ket on Jan. 1 and cleaned it, poten­tial­ly mak­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion more dif­fi­cult.

But while U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies look for clues of a poten­tial lab acci­dent, epi­demi­o­log­i­cal experts say it’s high­ly unlike­ly the first trans­mis­sion hap­pened that way. Virus sam­ples in labs are almost nev­er still infec­tious, after being frozen in nitro­gen dur­ing the col­lec­tion process and then inac­ti­vat­ed in the lab to pre­serve their genet­ic sequence.

“It’s an unlike­ly prob­a­bil­i­ty because the lab­o­ra­to­ry is a con­trolled set­ting and peo­ple wear per­son­al pro­tec­tive equip­ment. I’ve seen hearsay that they maybe didn’t have enough or they weren’t skilled enough, but there are bar­ri­ers, huge bar­ri­ers between peo­ple and virus­es in the lab­o­ra­to­ry set­ting,” said Dr. Chris­tine John­son, prin­ci­pal inves­ti­ga­tor with USAID’s PREDICT project, which will end this Sep­tem­ber after 10 years and two six-month exten­sions as USAID launch­es a new project that applies the data PREDICT col­lect­ed.

The prob­a­bil­i­ty of infec­tion “is so much high­er in the real world, where there are more peo­ple and more bats. It’s vast­ly more like­ly than the poten­tial for a human-bat inter­ac­tion in the lab,” added John­son, a pro­fes­sor of epi­demi­ol­o­gy and ecosys­tem health at UC Davis School of Vet­eri­nary Med­i­cine and direc­tor of its Epi­Cen­ter for Dis­ease Dynam­ic.

In the face of that, Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo has now start­ed to call into the ques­tion of China’s bio­med­ical labs, demand­ing that they pro­vide inter­na­tion­al inspec­tors access to them, although it’s unclear if the admin­is­tra­tion has for­mal­ly request­ed that of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. Many of the sci­en­tists at the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy have been trained by the U.S. government’s PREDICT project.

Some experts believe there was like­ly an inter­me­di­ary ani­mal infect­ed by a bat that then infect­ed a human, such as a pan­golin, a scaly-skinned mam­mal that resem­bles an armadil­lo and is sold for meat and tra­di­tion­al med­i­cine, or a civet, a slinky cat-like mam­mal eat­en as a del­i­ca­cy and believed to be the inter­me­di­ary respon­si­ble for the 2003 SARS out­break.

But it could also be from direct expo­sure to a bat. A 2017 report by Eco­Health Alliance’s project [48], whose authors include Wuhan Insti­tute sci­en­tists, was pub­lished in the research jour­nal Viro­log­i­ca Sini­ca and warned that “some bat SARSr-CoVs [severe acute res­pi­ra­to­ry syn­drome-relat­ed coro­n­avirus­es] are able to direct­ly infect humans with­out inter­me­di­ate host.”

8b. In past pro­grams and posts [49], we have not­ed that DARPA was research­ing [40] these virus­es: ” . . . . the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), began spend­ing mil­lions on such research in 2018 and some of those Pen­ta­gon-fund­ed stud­ies were con­duct­ed at known U.S. mil­i­tary bioweapons labs bor­der­ing Chi­na and result­ed in the dis­cov­ery of dozens of new coro­n­avirus strains as recent­ly as last April. Fur­ther­more, the ties of the Pentagon’s main biode­fense lab to a virol­o­gy insti­tute in Wuhan, Chi­na — where the cur­rent out­break is believed to have begun — have been unre­port­ed in Eng­lish lan­guage media thus far. . . . For instance, DARPA spent $10 mil­lion on one project [50] in 2018 ‘to unrav­el the com­plex caus­es of bat-borne virus­es that have recent­ly made the jump to humans, caus­ing con­cern among glob­al health offi­cials.” Anoth­er research project backed by both DARPA and NIH [51] saw researchers at Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty exam­ine the coro­n­avirus that caus­es Mid­dle East Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­drome (MERS) in bats and camels ‘to under­stand the role of these hosts in trans­mit­ting dis­ease to humans.’  . . . For instance, one study con­duct­ed in South­ern Chi­na in 2018 [52] result­ed in the dis­cov­ery of 89 new ‘nov­el bat coro­n­avirus’ strains that use the same recep­tor as the coro­n­avirus known as Mid­dle East Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­drome (MERS). That study was joint­ly fund­ed by the Chi­nese government’s Min­istry of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy, USAID — an orga­ni­za­tion long alleged to be a front for U.S. intel­li­gence [53], and the U.S. Nation­al Insti­tute of Health — which has col­lab­o­rat­ed with both the CIA and the Pen­ta­gon [20] on infec­tious dis­ease and bioweapons research. . . . .”

9. Oth­er broad­casts [31] have explored the Wuhan [32]Mil­i­tary [32] World Games–a mil­i­tary sports competition–as a pos­si­ble vec­tor­ing vehi­cle. We update that path of inquiry with dis­cus­sion of the U.S. del­e­ga­tion [33] as a pos­si­ble vec­tor­ing agent for the spread of the dis­ease in the U.S. ” . . . . Con­trary to the Pentagon’s insis­tence, how­ev­er, an inves­ti­ga­tion of COVID-19 cas­es in the mil­i­tary from offi­cial and pub­lic source mate­ri­als shows that a strong cor­re­la­tion exists in COVID-19 cas­es report­ed at U.S. mil­i­tary facil­i­ties that are home bases of mem­bers of the U.S. team that went to Wuhan. Before March 31, when the Pen­ta­gon restrict­ed the release of infor­ma­tion about COVID-19 cas­es at instal­la­tions for secu­ri­ty rea­sons, infec­tions occurred at a min­i­mum of 63 mil­i­tary facil­i­ties where team mem­bers returned after the Wuhan games. Addi­tion­al­ly, the U.S. team used char­tered flights to and from the games via Seat­tle-Taco­ma Inter­na­tion­al Air­port. Wash­ing­ton was one of the ear­li­est states to show a spike in COVID-19. . . .”

We also note that the U.S. del­e­ga­tion con­tained: ” . . . . nine pub­lic-affairs offi­cers . . . and two State Depart­ment per­son­nel, accord­ing to DOD doc­u­ments. . . .” “Pub­lic affairs offi­cer” is a com­mon cov­er for CIA per­son­nel. 

In FTR #1122 [54], we made the fol­low­ing com­ment in con­nec­tion with the Mil­i­tary World Games: ” . . . . A Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry offi­cial cit­ed the Mil­i­tary World Games in Wuhan as a pos­si­ble vec­tor­ing point. (We believe this is pos­si­ble, although we sus­pect the Shin­cheon­ji cult and a USAMRIID asso­ci­a­tion with a Wuhan viro­log­i­cal insti­tute as oth­er pos­si­ble vec­tors.) IF, for the sake of argu­ment, fas­cist ele­ments (CIA, Under­ground Reich or what­ev­er) chose the US mil­i­tary ath­letes as a vec­tor, it would have been alto­geth­er pos­si­ble to do so with­out attract­ing atten­tion. Mil­i­tary ath­letes are in superb con­di­tion and, if infect­ed with one of the milder strains of Covid-19, their robust immune sys­tems might well leave them asymp­to­matic, yet still con­ta­gious, or mild­ly ill at worst. They could then com­mu­ni­cate the virus to oth­er mil­i­tary ath­letes, who would then serve as a vec­tor for oth­er coun­tries. . . .”

“Did the Mil­i­tary World Games Spread COVID-19?” by Tom Squitieri; The Amer­i­can Prospect; 06/30/2020 [33]

Less than a month before data shows the first Chi­nese cit­i­zen became ill with coro­n­avirus, near­ly 300 mem­bers of the U.S. mil­i­tary, Depart­ment of Defense, and sup­port per­son­nel attend­ed the 2019 Mil­i­tary World Games in Wuhan, Chi­na. When the games end­ed, they returned to at least 219 home bases in 25 states, with­out ever being screened for pos­si­ble COVID-19 infec­tion.

Accord­ing to the Pen­ta­gon, there was no rea­son to do so then, or sub­se­quent­ly. A spokesper­son issued a terse email response to the ques­tion, say­ing there was no screen­ing because the event—held from Octo­ber 18 to 27, 2019—“was pri­or to the report­ed out­break.”

The spokesper­son cit­ed Decem­ber 31, 2019, as the crit­i­cal out­break day and that no test­ing was deemed nec­es­sary for any pos­si­ble expo­sure pri­or to Feb­ru­ary 1, 2020.

Since that email, Pen­ta­gon offi­cials have repeat­ed­ly declined to speak on or off the record regard­ing the sub­ject.

Con­trary to the Pentagon’s insis­tence, how­ev­er, an inves­ti­ga­tion of COVID-19 cas­es in the mil­i­tary from offi­cial and pub­lic source mate­ri­als shows that a strong cor­re­la­tion exists in COVID-19 cas­es report­ed at U.S. mil­i­tary facil­i­ties that are home bases of mem­bers of the U.S. team that went to Wuhan.

Before March 31, when the Pen­ta­gon restrict­ed the release of infor­ma­tion about COVID-19 cas­es at instal­la­tions for secu­ri­ty rea­sons, infec­tions occurred at a min­i­mum of 63 mil­i­tary facil­i­ties where team mem­bers returned after the Wuhan games.

Addi­tion­al­ly, the U.S. team used char­tered flights to and from the games via Seat­tle-Taco­ma Inter­na­tion­al Air­port. Wash­ing­ton was one of the ear­li­est states to show a spike in COVID-19.

“I do think that it is a con­cern that these peo­ple were not test­ed, espe­cial­ly going into an area that might be a cen­ter, a huge prob­a­bil­i­ty,” Dr. Rav­ina Kullar, an infec­tious dis­eases expert and epi­demi­ol­o­gist based out of San­ta Mon­i­ca, Cal­i­for­nia, said in an inter­view.

“It may have hap­pened before Decem­ber, that is the unknown fac­tor,” Kullar said. “We still don’t know who is patient zero. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment is not being trans­par­ent enough.”

Kullar is with Expert Stew­ard­ship, Inc., a com­pa­ny that pro­motes infec­tion pre­ven­tion in long-term care facil­i­ties. She is also a mem­ber of the Infec­tious Dis­eases Soci­ety of Amer­i­ca, a med­ical asso­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing physi­cians, sci­en­tists, and oth­er health care pro­fes­sion­als who spe­cial­ize in infec­tious dis­eases.

She stressed that the Chi­nese have not coop­er­at­ed with the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty in shar­ing crit­i­cal infor­ma­tion, which is one more rea­son the Pen­ta­gon should have test­ed the ath­letes.

“I feel strong­ly about going with a high preva­lence to get test­ed,” she said.

New data con­tin­ues to emerge that COVID-19 had already infect­ed peo­ple in Wuhan in mid- or ear­ly Novem­ber of 2019, weeks after the games’ con­clu­sion. Recent research released from Har­vard and Boston Uni­ver­si­ty [55] sug­gests COVID-19 might have been present in Chi­na as ear­ly as last August, well before the ill­ness was first pub­licly iden­ti­fied in Wuhan on Decem­ber 31.

Ath­letes who par­tic­i­pat­ed from oth­er nations—both U.S. allies like France and Italy and adver­saries like Iran—have report­ed suf­fer­ing from COVID-19 symp­toms. Some Iran­ian ath­letes died [56] from COVID-19, includ­ing some who were in Wuhan, accord­ing to news reports not ver­i­fied by Tehran.

The Pentagon’s reluc­tance to test ath­letes return­ing from Wuhan was not unique. No oth­er nation’s mil­i­tary appears to have test­ed their par­tic­i­pants in the 2019 World Mil­i­tary Games specif­i­cal­ly for COVID-19. French doc­tors exam­ined their ath­letes upon their return from the games as part of over­all exams.

When asked why the ath­letes and sup­port staff who had been in Chi­na were not screened as a pre­cau­tion once the COVID-19 threat was known in Jan­u­ary, Defense Sec­re­tary Mark Esper said at the end of an April 14 press con­fer­ence: “I am not aware of what you are talk­ing about.”

The ques­tion and response were not includ­ed in the Pentagon’s offi­cial writ­ten tran­script of the brief­ing, as is the nor­mal pro­ce­dure. The offi­cial video of the brief­ing goes silent when the ques­tion is asked and Esper can be seen—but not heard—reacting to the ques­tion.

The full audio and video exchange remains on the C‑SPAN video [57] of the event.

As of June 5, there were 10,462 COVID-19 cas­es in the Depart­ment of Defense in the mil­i­tary, civil­ian, depen­dent, and con­trac­tor cat­e­gories. As of June 12, 2020, there have been 36 deaths linked to COVID-19 among those groups.

The del­e­ga­tion to Wuhan includ­ed 188 ath­letes, 24 coach­es, 18 team cap­tains, 15 med­ical providers, 10 ref­er­ees, nine pub­lic-affairs offi­cers, sev­en “senior lead­ers,” nine CISM (Inter­na­tion­al Mil­i­tary Sports Coun­cil), and two State Depart­ment per­son­nel, accord­ing to DOD doc­u­ments.

Spokesper­sons for the var­i­ous ser­vice branch­es, all of which were rep­re­sent­ed in Wuhan, either declined to com­ment on the sub­ject or said that no COVID-19 screen­ing was required for any­one with pos­si­ble expo­sure pri­or to Feb­ru­ary. . . .