Mike McCormick, now a freelance writer, gained valuable insider information and insight from his time as a White House stenographer during the Obama administration. In a recent Substack post, McCormick questioned the Obama administration’s decision to “green light” the resumption of federal funding for gain-of-function research, which seeks to increase the lethality or transmissibility of a pathogen, less than two weeks before former President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
As a result, he revealed a series of pivotal events that happened in the last weeks of Obama’s presidency but went mostly unreported in the media.
Until now, Obama’s administration (at least publicly) gave the impression that he was wary of the potential dangers of GOF study. After a string of “biosafety events” at government labs, he became more worried. In addition, his government suspended all funding for GOF research in October 2014 so that they could evaluate the “possible hazards and advantages” of the field.
On January 9, 2017, the White House Office of Science and Technology began the actions that would ultimately lead to the lifting of the funding freeze.
White House OSTP releases “Recommended Policy Guidance for Departmental Development of Review Mechanisms for Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care and Oversight (P3CO)” To remove the present prohibition on some life sciences research that might increase a disease’s virulence and/or transmissibility and hence develop a possible pandemic pathogen, these proposals must be adopted (an enhanced PPP).
With the release of this policy advice, OSTP and HHS have completed their year-long, collaborative effort to develop this framework.
The media mostly ignored this shocking statement. At that point, Trump’s demise and the media’s attempt to portray him as a Russian agent were the most talked-about stories in the country.
Since it went against concerns from the scientific community, the NIH’s decision to start supporting GOF research again abruptly should have sent off national bells. According to a paper on GOF published in Nature in November 2015, researchers determined that “creating chimeric viruses based on circulating strains [is] too dangerous to proceed, given enhanced pathogenicity in mammalian models cannot be precluded.”
Even Obama’s Homeland Security advisor, Lisa Monaco, thought a “infectious disease” outbreak was “one of the gravest hazards for the incoming administration,” therefore the advice to terminate the prohibition was counterintuitive. Additionally, days after Trump’s election, the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology sent a letter to Obama alerting him to the very real potential of biological assault. The “modification of viruses to overcome existing immunity or to be resistant to current medicines” was a major theme throughout the 16-page letter. In other words, GOF was a major risk to the safety of the country.
The National Institutes of Health, despite these warnings, resumed financing for the GOF in December 2017; they neatly blamed Trump for this mistake.
Officials from the Trump administration and the White House met for a tabletop exercise just four days after Trump was sworn in. What’s up? The best way to deal with “the greatest influenza epidemic since 1918.”
The parallels between this made-up scenario and the real-life epidemic that swept the globe only three years later are eerily eerie. In the White House drill, actors pretended that a deadly respiratory illness was already spreading over major cities including London, Seoul, and Jakarta. In this made-up scenario, hospitals and clinics in the impacted regions were slammed, and some towns had even instituted travel limits.
They had no idea that this hypothetical would one day become the reality of the whole planet.
Well-known American virologist and professor at the University of North Carolina, Dr. Ralph Baric, and his Chinese counterpart, director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Dr. Shi Zhengli, aka the “batwoman,” were working together on a project in China. “a modified coronavirus that was found to be able to latch on human cells and proliferate in lung cells, effectively enough to induce a pandemic,” they write.
Baric and Zhengli’s COVID research was being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab notorious for its inadequate safety practises, thanks to a decision made quietly and unexplainably by the NIH and then-Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci. Keep in mind that Zhengli had a hand in writing the study that came to the conclusion that COVID tests were “too hazardous to undertake.” While we knew this, our government nevertheless paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the WIV.
At first, I thought McCormick was being too alarmist when he referred to this as “Obama’s poison pill.” This is no longer my opinion. According to the historical record, I agree.