Do emails show Ralph Baric created COVID-19 spike protein?!

Did emails released under FOIA show that Ralph Baric created the COVID-19 spike protein in 2018?! Take a look at the viral claims, and find out what the facts really are!


Claim : Emails Show Ralph Baric Created COVID-19 Spike Protein!

Conspiracists and anti-vaccine activists are excitedly sharing FOIA-released emails, which purportedly shows that Ralph Baric created the COVID-19 spike protein in 2018!

Kim Dotcom : American scientist Ralph Baric developed the spike protein that was inserted into Covid-19 and he worked with the Wuhan lab where the virus was created. Covid-19 was made in America and funded by the US Govt. Where’s the media? Where’s the outrage? Where’s the criminal tribunal?

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Truth : Emails Do Not Show Ralph Baric Created COVID-19 Spike Protein!

This appears to be yet another example of fake news circulating on X (formerly Twitter), and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Emails Were Referring To SARS Virus

Let me start by pointing out that the March 2018 emails released under the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) were only referring to the SARS virus (now known as SARS-CoV-1).

The SARS-CoV-1 was the virus that caused the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak, and is different from SARS-CoV-2, which caused the COVID-19 pandemic more than 15 years later!

They are related but different coronaviruses, just like how a Tesla Model S and a BMW Z4 are both cars, but they are different cars, with different designs, engines and performance.

Fact #2 : All Coronaviruses Have Spike Proteins

I should point out that the spike protein isn’t a special feature of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Such spike proteins are actually a feature of all coronaviruses!

In fact, the name “coronavirus” is derived from the Latin word, corona, which means “crown” or “wreath” – a reference to its “crown” of spike proteins. To be clear – all coronaviruses have spike proteins on their cell surfaces.

So scientists doing research on coronaviruses would inevitably be working with spike proteins. It doesn’t mean that they were working to create the SARS-CoV-2.

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Fact #3 : SARS Spike Protein Different From COVID-19 Spike Protein

I should also point out that the SARS spike protein is different from the COVID-19 spike protein. Not only are they physically different, they utilise different mechanisms to bind with the human ACE2 receptor.

This was extensively elucidated in a Chinese research paper by Yixin Xie et. al., that was published in the journal Frontiers in Molecular Bioscience on 9 December 2020.

The results demonstrate that SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 S proteins are both attractive to ACE2 by electrostatic forces even at different distances. However, the residues contributing to the electrostatic features are quite different due to the mutations between SARS-CoV S protein and SARS-CoV-2 S protein.

Such differences are analyzed comprehensively. Compared to SARS-CoV, the SARS-CoV-2 binds with ACE2 using a more robust strategy:

  • The electric field line related residues are distributed quite differently, which results in a more robust binding strategy of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Also, SARS-CoV-2 has a higher electric field line density than that of SARS-CoV, which indicates stronger interaction between SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2, compared to that of SARS-CoV.
  • Key residues involved in salt bridges and hydrogen bonds are identified in this study, which may help the future drug design against COVID-19.

In short – the COVID-19 coronavirus does not use the same spike protein as the SARS coronavirus that Ralph Baric was working on.

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Structural differences in salt bridge residues of spike proteins Left (A) : SARS coronavirus Right (B) : COVID-19 coronavirus

Fact #3 : There Is Nothing Nefarious In March 2018 Emails

If you go through the emails, you will notice that there is nothing nefarious. Certainly, they do not show Ralph Baric saying or suggesting that he created the COVID-19 spike protein.

To make it easier for you to understand, I rearranged the emails in the right order, and highlighted the key parts in bold. The emails involve four people – Ralph Baric, Toni Baric, Peter Daszak, and Tonie Rocke, and you can read the originals here (PDF):

Peter Daszak : Toni – this is info from Ralph Baric on the nanoparticle work he’s been involved in…

Tonie Rocke : Hi Ralph: I have a couple of questions about the SARS-CoV spike glycoproteins you are developing with respect to the DARPA grant we are collaborating on.

Do you have time for a call sometime tomorrow? I have unfortunately contracted the flu so I am working from home for a few days. I’d be happy to call you if you can provide me a time and number.

Many thanks! – Tonie

As you can see, the emails basically show Tonie Rocke asking to speak to Ralph Baric about his work on the SARS virus spike protein.

At no point did it show them discussing how to insert the SARS spike protein into the COVID-19 coronavirus, or anything along those lines.

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Fact #4 : Ralph Baric Did Not Test Spike Protein On Bats

The March 2018 emails show Tonie Rocke asking about how those proteins can be “delivered to bats”, and what had been attempted so far.

There was no indication from those emails that Ralph Baric actually successfully “delivered” those spike proteins to bats. In fact, a March 15, 2018 email show Ralph Baric stating that he has no bat colony, and no way to actually conduct the experiment.

Hi Tonie, I was definitely planning on testing whatever I could in mice, nanoparticles no problem but my understanding was that RCN doesn’t work well in mice. I have no bat colony, no way for me to do the experiment – which I definitely think needs to be done or we have no credibility. My understanding [is that] another bat colony exists in China, but not sure who is doing what.

As you can see, the emails clearly show that Ralph Baric was not testing the SARS (not COVID-19) spike protein on bats, he hadn’t even started testing it on mice!

Fact #5 : Ralph Baric Called For COVID-19 Origins Investigation

It is somewhat ironic to claim that Ralph Baric might be responsible for creating the SARS-CoV-2 virus, because he joined other scientists in signing a 2021 open letter demanding a thorough investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

While he remains sure whether SARS-CoV-2 was created by a spillover event, or a lab leak, he found fault with a joint investigation by the WHO and the Chinese government, which dismissed the chance of a lab leak as “extremely unlikely”.

Ralph Baric felt that such a conclusion was premature, given the lack of conclusive data and China’s more relaxed laboratory standards.

He pointed out to TIME in a July 2023 article that while the US restricts gain-of-function (GoF) work with dangerous pathogens to labs that are rated at a minimum of BSL-3 (like his lab), “the regulations in China are such that you can work with SARS-like bat coronaviruses in BSL-2 [Biosafety level 2] labs,” which require fewer safety features.

So Ralph Baric himself believes that a laboratory leak could still be a possibility. Would someone who purportedly created SARS-CoV-2 be so eager to call for greater scrutiny of that possibility???

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

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