Fact Check : US Refused To Let WHO Investigate Fort Detrick?

US Refused WHO Investigation Of Fort Detrick For COVID-19?

Did the United States refuse to let WHO investigate Fort Detrick, where the SARS-CoV-2 virus was made?

Take a look at the latest viral post from China, and find out what the FACTS really are!

 

Claim : US Refused To Let WHO Investigate Fort Detrick For COVID-19

This post from China is being repeatedly shared by in WhatsApp groups, as evidence that the United States is trying to hide that they created COVID-19.

It’s a long read, so if you just want the facts, skip to the next section.

Till today, USA has refused to let WHO International team to investigate Fort Detrick, the origin of the Trumpp virus…your say

Shocking! Today the poisoning killer was finally found, and it really was the United States!
The truth is creepy, the new crown virus is man-made and originated from the [骷髅] P3 virus laboratory in North Carolina, USA!

[庆祝] Greg Roubini, a well-known American intelligence expert, officially revealed the secrets of this day in an interview with the First News Network television channel. According to Greg, the new crown virus was genetically engineered as a [炸弹] biological weapon. It originated from the[炸弹] BSL-3 laboratory in North Carolina and was developed by Professor [炸弹] Ralph Barrick.

He also stated that the [庆祝] virus was spread from North Carolina [庆祝] to China, Italy and the entire United States by the [骷髅] “dark government”. Greg once tweeted and questioned Trump: Why didn’t you tell the American people that the virus was made by the United States? [庆祝] Why not make it clear that the new coronavirus itself is a biological weapon?

 

Truth : WHO Does Not Even Want To Investigate Fort Detrick!

The super-long WhatsApp post appears to be Google translated from Chinese, with mistakes like :

  • crown virus = coronavirus
  • First News Network = One America Network
  • Greg Roubini = Greg Rubini
  • Ralph Barrick = Ralph Baric
  • Radixivir = Remdesivir
  • Stanley Chela = Stanley Chera

It is also nothing more than a rehash of past and present Chinese propaganda on COVID-19, some of which we have already debunked in the past :

And now, let’s go through and fact check the super-long article, to show you why this is just more fake news and yet another piece of Chinese propaganda.

Claim #1 : USA refused to let WHO investigate Fort Detrick
Verdict : FALSE

The WHO international team that is looking into the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus never requested to investigate Fort Detrick.

That’s simply because Fort Detrick, and the city of Maryland, was not the epicentre of the first COVID-19 outbreak.

The first COVID-19 outbreak happened in Wuhan in the Hubei province of China.

Claim #2 : Fort Detrick Is Source Of SARS-CoV-2
Verdict : FALSE

China’s repeated suggestions that there may have been a leak at the Fort Detrick laboratory is illogical.

If SARS-CoV-2 leaked from Fort Detrick, the city of Frederick in Maryland would have been the epicentre of the initial COVID-19 outbreak, not Wuhan.

That is why the WHO international team not only asked to investigate the Huanan Seafood Market, they also asked to investigate the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Now, this does not mean that the SARS-CoV-2 virus originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It merely means the Chinese claim about Fort Detrick is nonsensical.

Claim #3 : Greg Rubini is an American intelligence expert
Verdict : FALSE

Greg Rubini was exposed by Buzzfeed as the alias of a 61 year-old Italian man who worked in marketing and music promotions.

He is definitely NOT American or an intelligence expert.

Claim #4 : SARS-CoV-2 originated in the BSL-3 laboratory in North Carolina
Verdict : FALSE

Wait, didn’t this piece of Chinese propaganda claim that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was created in Fort Detrick?

Fort Detrick is in the state of Maryland; while the University of North Carolina (UNC) is in the state of North Carolina.

Which is it? The virus cannot be created in two separate places.

If it was created in the BSL-3 laboratory at UNC, then why ask for Fort Detrick to be investigated?

The lack of logic in Chinese propaganda is astounding…

UNC Burnett-Womack BSL-3 laboratory

Claim #4 : Luc Montagnier revealed that virus has HIV sequence
Verdict : FALSE

This claim was made in April 2020, when Luc Montagnier actually hypothesised that the SARS-CoV-2 virus came “out of a laboratory in Wuhan“.

Not surprisingly, this piece of Chinese propaganda adroitly skipped past that inconvenient claim…

At that time, Montagnier cited an Indian pre-published study as evidence that the coronavirus was engineered.

He did not “reveal” that the virus has HIV genetic sequences.

Claim #5 : Indian scientists discovered the HIV virus insert in SARS-CoV-2
Verdict : FALSE

The Indian paper that Luc Montagnier cited was posted on BioRxiv, not in February as claimed, but in January 2020.

In their paper, that group of Indian scientists claimed that there were “uncanny similarity of unique inserts” between SARS-CoV-2 and HIV-1, suggesting that the coronavirus was engineered.

That pre-published study was widely criticised by the scientific community, as the similarities it pointed out were very common amongst similar viruses.

The authors quickly retracted their paper.

Claim #6 : COVID-19 originated in the United States
Verdict : FALSE

Analysis of blood samples of donors in various countries, including the United States, have revealed that people were infected with COVID-19 before China reported it to the WHO on 31 December 2019.

That led China to push the narrative that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in the United States.

However, there are two problems with that narrative – SARS-CoV-2 is highly contagious, and scientists can analyse its genomic changes over time.

SARS-CoV-2 Is Highly Contagious

SARS-CoV-2 is so contagious that an outbreak is very hard to contain. Look at the severe lockdown measures the Chinese took in Wuhan.

There were no such lockdowns in the US, so if SARS-CoV-2 originated in the US, it would have resulted in a massive outbreak.

Obviously, that did not happen, ergo COVID-19 cannot possibly originate in the United States.

Genomic Analysis

Viruses mutate and create new strains over time. A novel virus like SARS-CoV-2 would start with a single strain and evolve into multiple strains as it spreads globally and mutate over time.

By analysing the genomic changes of these strains, scientists have pretty much concluded that SARS-CoV-2 did indeed originate in China.

The blood sample studies only serve to reinforce the growing opinion that China was either unaware of COVID-19 for many weeks, or covered up the fact that they had a new viral epidemic on their hands.

Claim #7 : Robert Redfield said many deaths in September 2019 were from COVID-19
Verdict : FALSE

Chinese media, like CGTN and New China TV, have actively pushed this false narrative after CDC director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said that some deaths that were initially diagnosed as influenza were later detected as COVID-19.

This happened on 11 March 2020, during the US House Oversight Committee discussion :

Rep. Harley Rouda asked Dr. Redfield if it’s possible that some flu patients may have been misdiagnosed, and actually had COVID-19.

Dr. Redfield replied, “Some cases have actually been diagnosed that way in the United States today“.

At no point did he say that that those deaths were detected in September 2019.

Claim #8 : US soldier Maatje Benassi spread COVID-19 to Wuhan
Verdict : FALSE

Chinese media and netizens have assiduously claimed that COVID-19 was introduced to Wuhan by US soldiers participating in the 2019 Military World Games.

They initially used a video of a Belgian man to push this fake narrative, but later shifted to targeting one specific US soldier – Maatje Benassi.

Maatje Benassi was just one of the hundreds of US soldiers participating in the 2019 Military World Games – essentially the military version of Olympics.

A competitive cyclist, she suffered an accident in the final lap of a 50 mile race, suffering a fractured rib and a concussion.

Despite not being diagnosed with COVID-19, she was accused of being Patient Zero, who spread COVID-19 to Wuhan.

Both Chinese propaganda outlet, Global Times, and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, participated in this false narrative.

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Maatje Benassi of the U.S. Armed Forces Cycling Team leads the group during the women’s road race event of the 2019 CISM Military World Games in Wuhan, China Oct. 20, 2019. (DoD/EJ Hersom)

Claim #9 : Maatje Benassi works at Fort Detrick
Verdict : FALSE

Maatje Benassi does not work at Fort Detrick.

She is an Army reservist assigned to the 312th Observer-Controller Trainer unit at Fort Meade – about 91 km away from Fort Detrick.

Claim #10 : Ralph Baric developed the SARS-CoV-2 virus
Verdict : FALSE

There is no evidence that Ralph Baric, or any other person, developed the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Claim #11 : Remdesivir was developed for COVID-19 before it existed
Verdict : FALSE

Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral medication, that works by inhibiting viral RNA polymerase, which exists in most RNA viruses. That means it could work against a broad range of viruses.

It was initially developed to treat hepatitis C and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in 2009, but failed to work against them.

It was then studied as a potential treatment for Ebola and Marburg virus infections, before it was discovered to work in vitro (in the lab) against multiple filoviruses, pneumoviruses, paramyxoviruses and coronaviruses.

Therefore, the claim that Remdesivir was created to treat COVID-19 before it existed, is false.

Claim #12 : Remdesivir is an antidote for COVID-19
Verdict : FALSE

The US FDA approved remdensivir for use in COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalisation on 22 October 2020, after three promising trials.

However, in November 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended AGAINST the use of remdesivir in COVID-19 patients, after the Solidarity trial determined that it had “little to no effect on hospitalised COVID-19“.

Therefore, the claim that Remdesivir is an antidote or cure for COVID-19 is also false.

 

Why Would China Push Fake Fort Detrick Claim?

With China’s aggressive foreign policy moves in recent years, it is not uncommon to see fake pro-China, anti-America stories being created and shared.

Many believe it’s part of a concerted attempt to burnish China’s image overseas, and drown out negative coverage of China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative, and their aggressive moves in the South China Sea..

China has also been blamed for not handling the initial COVID-19 epidemic better, and unfairly – for being the origin of this new virus.

Hence, they have been trying their best to deflect blame by casting aspersions unto others, using aggressive Wolf Warrior diplomacy tactics, propaganda outlets like Global Times and CTGN, and their 50 Cent Army.

 

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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.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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