COVID-19 could well turn out to be a 21st century repeat of Chernobyl, both reflecting the respective communist regimes’ incompetence and the perils of what might be called ‘command science’. In short, the most likely explanation for COVID-19 is that it is a genetically modified virus—a process referred to as “gain of function” — which accidentally escaped from the virology lab in Wuhan. That’s the case the two-time Walkley winner Sharri Markson makes, and does so persuasively, in What Really Happened in Wuhan.
Unfortunately, the issue has become so politicised that most people, even now, refuse to seriously consider the Markson’s case. Although, even progressive comedians, such as Jon Stewart, can’t help but point out the obvious (starting at 3.20 mark):
It’s worth noting that Steven W. Mosher published the same theory in February 2020 in the New York Post, amplified by Fox News host Bret Baier as well as David Ignatius and Josh Rogin in the Washington Post. All of which is to say that Markson is by no means alone. But at close to 400 pages, Markson has served the international community well through her extensive research and easy to read prose. Indeed, Markson’s work demonstrates all the hallmarks of working with a broader investigative team whom she generously acknowledges in her final chapter.
The book’s greatest strength is Markson’s writing style. A trained and experienced journalist, What Really Happened in Wuhan is a gripping narrative that oscillates between personal testimony and scientific explanation. Indeed, at times it reads like something of a detective novel as Markson takes the reader on a journey of political intrigue and personal discovery.
The number of negative reactions to her book, though, was swift. For instance, Hamish McDonald writing in The Guardian, dismisses much of what Markson says, stating, “The science Markson cites needs more expert evaluation than this article can wield”. McDonald then goes on to quote Professor Dominic Dwyer, the University of Sydney virologist who was part of the WHO team that went to Wuhan in February 2021 to investigate COVID-19’s origins. Tellingly, Professor Dwyer —who hadn’t read the book, but was simply going off what she had written in her articles. Well he should read the book, as should all who both wonder and resent the way in which the world has hobbled as the global death toll continues to grow.
In an effort to relay the strength of her research, what follows is a summary of some of Markson’s most salient points:
First, shoddy Chinese bio-security standards. Probably the most damning argument of all is the lax safety standards surrounding the virology lab in Wuhan. Markson states:
Disturbing photographs obtained from the official Wuhan Institute of Virology compliance certificate and laboratory safety records show employees wearing no protective equipment crouched inside a sewage-treatment facility to collect samples for testing. A 2018 ‘Wastewater Monitoring’ test report for the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, which includes BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories, features photographs labelled import and export of “sewage treatment facilities”. Photographs show employees handling similar sewage samples in another location. Two other photographs show close-up detail of the sewage collection. The photographs are shocking given the staff are not even wearing gloves, which would be especially risky had there been an infection or improper disposal of infectious virus materials.
Unsurprisingly, then, are the tenders from early in 2019 relating to incineration and toxic wastewater disposal. The Wuhan Institute of Virology put out a tender for toxic wastewater equipment worth $62,000 in April 2019. At the end of July 2019, a successful bid was completed for “third-party biosafety testing project of Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory”. Contact with infected wastewater that had not been properly treated is one of the many ways in which a leak of a virus could occur.
Second, internal whistle blowers. Even before the CCP acknowledged that there was a problem, Chinese doctors were coming forward to warn that a strange new SARS-like virus had appeared. Heroic figures such as Dr. Li Wen Liang tried to sound the alarm but were quickly suppressed. Thankfully though, their brave actions have not been forgotten:
Markson quotes Chen Quanjiao, a female researcher and group leader who had worked with the infamous Shi Zhengli (aka ‘Bat Woman’) as saying on Chinese social media platform Weibo:
I hereby report that the virus was leaked by Wang Yanyi, director of the P4 Wuhan Institute of Virology. Wang Yanyi has little knowledge of medicine. While at Beida [Peking] University, which enrols students only of high ability, other researchers did her research for her. She often sells animals used on experiments in the lab to game meat vendors in the South China Seafood Market. She is the culprit of the epidemic and her husband has brothers/friends who have grown up playing with a certain deputy state-level official. We must not forget Wang Yanyi, how many innocent people she has killed, and the lives lost.
This explosive allegation was quickly recanted via an official statement issued in Chen Quanjiao’s name, but Markson points to communications from the author’s relatives that this was provided under duress. Markson then records a similar accusation, as made by a Chinese biologist, Dr Wu Xiaohua, against Shi Zhengli, who was responsible for overseeing coronavirus research involving bats at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIR). Markson writes:
…Dr Wu said she was aware that Shi Zhengli oversaw the poor disposal practices of animals that had been tested on with viruses and suggests this may have been the origin of the pandemic. She says some WIV researchers had sold animals used in experiments to wet markets in Wuhan, while others had even been sold as pets. She also said that dead laboratory animals were not properly disposed of and some lab workers had even been known to boil and eat laboratory-used eggs.
Significantly, since making these accusations in early February, 2020 Dr Wu Xiaohua has “not surfaced online since then”.
Third, the findings of Dr Nikolai Petrovsky. Through the use of a supercomputer provided by the Oracle Corporation to help fast-track a vaccine for COVID-19 as well as develop pharmaceuticals to treat the infected. Markson writes that, “He innocently wanted to see if he could work out which animal host the coronavirus had infected before being transmitted to humans”. What he discovered, though, put his entire professional reputation as risk as China’s friends in laboratories around the world, in universities and, of course, the media formed an instant chorus to decry his findings.
Strangely, humans came out at the very top of the list … That was not what we were expecting, as the animal host from which the virus had been transmitted should have been at the top of the list. This presented a puzzle as the data suggested the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein had uniquely evolved to bind and infect cells expressing human ACE2. Normally with a new pandemic virus, whatever species that virus originally came from would be the best fit and the virus would initially only half fit the human lock but then mutate over time to try and become a better fit.
A virus should not be able to evolve to be a perfect fit for a lock it has never seen, and yet this is what the data was telling us. The virus spike protein looked like it couldn’t have been better designed to fit the human ACE2. Go figure.
Significantly, in relaying his findings, Dr. Petrovsky then reportedly said to his colleagues:
Please don’t think I’m crazy or a conspiracy theorist, I’m really truly not. But basically, I’ve founded a conclusion that we can’t exclude the possibility that what these results might be telling us is this could be a man-made virus, or at the very least something that was generated in a lab and then got accidentally released…I understand this might be difficult to publish. I understand there’s going to be a backlash. But these are the findings and surely we have a responsibility to try and make the world aware of them.
Dr Petrovsky’s findings are by no means unique. Markson dedicates an entire chapter — “The Scientists Who Knew” — regarding the gain-of-function research that was being conducted in Wuhan. Likewise, Daryl McCann has written in Quadrant:
Many other research papers corroborating the man-made hypothesis have now been published in high-profile journals, not least British Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian Dr Birger Sørensen in the Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery. SARS-CoV-2 has never been found in nature because it has “no credible natural ancestor”. Superficially the virus has the appearance of natural origins only because it has been “retro-engineered” to seem as if it originated in nature. The virus that causes COVID-19 happens to be unnaturally contagious because—brutally stated—it is unnatural.
Fourth, a vaccine was being developed before the pandemic. In a report for the US government in April 2020, “The PRC’s Biosafety Negligence and Circumstantial Evidence Against the Wuhan Institute of Virology” by Miles Yu opens with the statement:
China is a country obsessed with dangerous viruses. State-run media outlets often tout China’s great discoveries of a phenomenal number of new viruses heretofore unknown to mankind. Over the past 12 years, China’s army of virologists have discovered close to 2000 new viruses while over the past 200 years, the rest of the world has only discovered 2284. In its rush to greatness and dominance in virus studies, China often neglects biosafety, with catastrophic consequences.
However, Markson records that Yu goes on to make to raise “the bombshell possibility that China may have invented a Covid-19 vaccine prior to the outbreak.” As the dossier from Yu states:
Prior to the surprise outbreak in its close vicinity, WIV had possessed the novel coronavirus in its lab and had known of its lethality and pathogenicity for a while. It had been actively researching a vaccine before anyone else could succeed, thus giving China the sole patent right.
Fifth, Fauci’s funding of gain-of-function research. It has become clear that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s agency had been the funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And yet, inexplicably, “America’s Doctor” failed to notify the Trump administration. As Markson writes:
If it was a shock for senior White House officials to learn through media reports that Fauci had quietly lifted the ban on gain-of-function research back in 2017, they were even more astounded to discover he knew so much about the research in Wuhan, but never said a word as the pandemic unfolded. Instead, the role of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in conducting risky coronavirus research was left to officials like Miles Yu and Matt Pottinger to uncover.
Markson goes on the further write:
In mid-January 2020, Fauci donated free Remdesivir samples to China for an experimental clinical trial to save Chinese lives, to see if it was effective against Covid-19. Remdesivir was an American invention, developed by scientists at USAMRIID in conjunction with the American pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, using taxpayer funds. After Fauci donated the samples, the Wuhan Institute of Virology compiled a commercial patent for the treatment on January 19 in a case of intellectual property theft.
Sixth, the expulsion of the French. According to Markson, even though the laboratory in Wuhan was “built on the condition of international collaboration [it] was severely limiting the number of international researchers who could work inside its walls”. What is more, while the laboratory in Wuhan was constructed in conjunction with the French, after the facility became operational they were “soon kicked out”. Of even greater concern, Markson goes on to state:
What made this particularly alarming was the work the laboratory was conducting. Disturbingly…the laboratory was setting up its very own database identifying all deadly viruses with pandemic potential. It would be its own version of a concept call the Global Virome Project (GVP), the cable states. “The GVP aims to launch this year as an international collaborative effort to identify within 10 years virtually all of the planet’s viruses that have pandemic or epidemic potential and the ability to jump to humans,” the cable read.
Later in her book, Markson writes:
French intelligence was also highly concerned about the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s growing ties to the [People’s Liberation Army], particularly when French scientists were not welcome as soon as the laboratory was operational in 2017. In discussing the French government’s decision to build the BSL-4 laboratory with the Chinese government, a January 2020 Radio France Internationale report stated that “Some French experts worried that China would use the technology provided by France to develop bio-chemical weapons…
The Wuhan laboratory was meant to be built by a French architectural design firm from Lyon, but once they got the blueprints, the Chinese side redirected the building work to an inexperienced Wuhan company with links to the PLA. Then, further into the book, Markson quotes ex-Trump administration and Hudson Institute scholar David Asher:
You didn’t need a security clearance to know that the French who led the construction of the BSL-4 lab at the new Wuhan Institute of Virology campus had been kicked out and humiliated in 2017. Our ally, France, reportedly then proceeded to warn the US Intelligence Community and Non-proliferation Community about China’s sinister intention in Wuhan – warnings that were totally dismissed and ignored by the ‘Dilberts, dimwits and do-nothings’ who dominated the US biological weapons and intelligence community leadership.
Seventh, the Wuhan Military Games. One of the most remarkable pieces of evidence Markson uncovers involves the events surrounding the International Military Games, held in Wuhan in the second half of 2019. She is at pains to clarify that:
No one currently in government or intelligence I interviewed for this book holds the view the coronavirus was a deliberate release. No one person…There is no evidence that China was planning an attack or that Covid-19 was a deliberate release and no experts support this theory.
However, Markson then goes on to reveal:
It is true, however, that on September 18, 2019, there was a coronavirus drill at the Wuhan airport. The Wuhan Military Games executive committee held and emergency exercise where it simulated the responses to a new coronavirus infection found at the airport and a case of nuclear radiation discovered in luggage. “The exercise included epidemiological investigation, medical investigation, and temporary quarantine. There are multiple links such as regional setting, quarantine, case transfer, and sanitation treatment,” a Chinese-language article on the Xinhua news site about the drill states. It’s quite a bizarre coincidence that in September 2019, right before the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan occurred, there was a test-drill for this exact situation at the airport.
Eighth, US complicity. After US Senator Tom Cotton went public on Fox News linking the COVID virus to biological warfare, Tom DiNanno—the Acting Assistant Secretary of State—launched a special investigation. Markson writes:
DiNanno’s team obtained a bombshell classified report prepared by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, America’s biodefence labs, which made the case that COVID-19 may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory as a result of synthetic and “serial passage” gain-of-function biological research, while also not ruling out the zoonotic theory … The Lawrence Livermore report, from their intelligence unit Z division, was dated May 27, 2020, yet it had remained tucked away.
What’s more, Markson goes on to further record that:
The single most extraordinary moment during their investigation was when Pease and Asher walked into DiNanno’s office, with Asher waving a classified report. “Have you seen this?” Asher asked. DiNanno had just walked out of a meeting and didn’t know what the pair were talking about. Pease had found freshly issued reporting from classified intelligence that several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had fallen ill in November 2019 with Covid-19 like symptoms. The trail to come of the earliest Covid cases led back to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
At this point, though, they ran into something of a brick wall, their warnings “opening a can of worms”. Why? Markson writes that:
Asher believers that “can of worms seemed to involve the ridiculous fact that the State non-proliferation bureaucracy had cleared the US government cooperation with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and were fearful of being held responsible for, in effect, proliferating dual-use knowledge, capabilities and money to the PRC. Material support from the US government had been used against us to ensnare the NIH, State AID, and Department of Defense folks in a Chinese Communist spider web operation”.
Asher, who has many years of experience following and disrupting Chinese “honey-pot operations” notes that “it would hardly surprise anyone if the PLA ambitions at the WIV included entrapping the naïve US government gain-of-function bureaucracy so as to hold them hostage to contributing to whatever might eventually come out of China’s malevolent dual-use biowarfare designs and programs.
Ninth, the rapid response of Taiwan. According to Time, as early as December 31, 2019, health officials in Taiwan had written to the World Health Organisation asking for more information “about patients falling sick with a mysterious pneumonia in the Chinese city of Wuhan”. Wei Jingsheng—one of Markson’s trusted sources—relayed to her similar concerns. As Markson states:
After the 2019 Military World Games, Wei claims that a Chinese doctor warned his colleagues in Hong Kong about an outbreak of an infectious disease and “Taiwan arranged anti-epidemic measures in advance”. He spoke about athletes who were allegedly hospitalised in Wuhan and could not participate in the competition.
Tenth, obscurification by the WHO. Robert O’Brien, the former National Security Advisor to President Trump, told Markson:
We weren’t getting a lot from China and we weren’t getting much from the WHO either. The WHO was, as it turns out, the instrumentality of the Chinese Communist Party, in our view, and were simply a mouthpiece for whatever China was saying. There was no independence whatsoever.
From the very beginning, it was obvious that the WHO were complicit in a massive cover-up on China’s behalf. What’s more, it soon became known the links between the CCP and WHO were more insidious than anyone had realised:
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had his bid for the role funded by the Chinese Communist Party.
He is a member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front – a ‘Marxist liberation’ party with links to the former Soviet Union. It is listed by the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium as a left-wing terrorist organisation, responsible for 10 acts of terror between 1975 and 1990, including political assassinations and attacks on soft targets. In 2017, Tedros tried to have Zimbabwean dictator and all-round corruptocrat Robert Mugabe appointed a WHO goodwill ambassador!
This explains why when health officials were allowed to visit China on a fact-finding mission from February 10 to 24, Markson uncovered that
…only three WHO officials were allowed to visit Wuhan and only for two days…They did not visit the wet market or the Wuhan laboratories. Instead, their visit included trips to hospitals and they had meetings with officials. The WHO’s excuse is that it was too difficult to visit Wuhan.
Even this visit was only allowed to proceed because Andrew Bremberg, America’s Ambassador to Geneva, had threatened to cut off the WHO’s funding. However, as Markson writes:
Towards the end of the inspection, it became apparent there was a major problem. Bremberg discovered that the WHO had struck a side arrangement with China to change the terms of reference, taking the origins of the virus off the table. The inspectors would simply be learning from China about how to respond to an outbreak.
Incredibly, it would be Australia to declare there was a worldwide pandemic nearly two weeks before the WHO made that announcement. Meanwhile, the WHO consistently advised against travel bans and the wearing of face masks. As Markson writes:
The WHO’s culpability in kowtowing to the CCP and thus allowing the spread of the virus globally cannot be understated. The WHO’s role in spreading China’s disinformation and the cover-up was crucial. WHO Director-General Tedros repeatedly praised China for its “transparency”. It’s extraordinary now to read the WHO press release from January 5. “WHO advises against the application of travel or trade restrictions on China. WHO does not recommend any specific measures for travellers,” it states.
What Really Happened in Wuhan is an extraordinary piece of research. Sharri Markson is to be commended not only for her work, but also for her courage in standing against the consensus of popular progressive opinion that, at every turn, was determined to deflect all attention and any blame from the Wuhan lab. Markson’s concluding paragraph in particular, though, is worth everyone pondering:
The unforgivable failures on so many levels means the world is still in the dark about the precise turn of events that sparked this pandemic, and this of course leaves the world vulnerable to whatever comes next. There is still no evidence that the United States and other Western nations are any more prepared for a future pandemic than we were before this global catastrophe, with gain-of-function experiments still largely left unchecked. The failures of the scientific community, intelligence agencies, international bodies and large sections of the media have all left the world a less secure and less safe place to live.
Mark Powell is a Presbyterian minister and regular contributor
 Markson states that, ‘The technical definition is research that “involves experimentation that is expected to increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens.” This allows scientists to create lethal new viruses that didn’t exist in nature before. Significantly, only two laboratories in the world—there are just over forty—was doing gain-of-function research before the pandemic. One of them being in Wuhan.