Former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon is being linked to the spread of a non-peer-reviewed report claiming that COVID-19 was created in a lab in Wuhan, China.
Circumstantial/fictional findings: The purported study, titled “Unusual Features of the SARS-CoV-2 Genome Suggesting Sophisticated Laboratory Modification Rather Than Natural Evolution and Delineation of Its Probable Synthetic Route,” posits that the novel coronavirus did not come from nature but was instead manufactured in a Chinese lab.
- The report, which supports theories repeatedly put forward by President Trump, was not peer-reviewed, Newsweek reported.
- According to multiple experts in biology and infectious disease, the paper lacks any new information while making unsubstantiated and weak claims.
- University of Bath researcher Andrew Preston warns that the current state of the pre-print report “cannot be given any credibility.”
- Speaking to the Daily Beast, Columbia University’s Dr. Angela Rasmussen noted that the report’s contents are “all circumstantial and some of it is entirely fictional.”
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of Trump administration’s Coronavirus Task Force lead members, has previously stated that the novel coronavirus was not man-made based on all available evidence, according to the National Geographic.
Conspiratorial in tone: The controversial study, which observers have noted to be written in a conspiratorial tone, is reportedly published by the Rule of Law Society and the Rule of Law Foundation, sister nonprofit organizations founded by Bannon.
- The paper was authored by Dr. Li-Meng Yan and three colleagues affiliated with the Rule of Law Society.
- Funded by Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, the “Society” is not known for studies on infectious diseases.
- Wengui fled China in 2014 after an associate of his was arrested on corruption charges.
- “He has campaigned to topple the Chinese Communist Party, making a host of unverified allegations about party leaders,” the South China Morning Post reported.
- Bannon, on the other hand, was recently arrested and charged for fraud by the FBI, according to the New York Times.
- Wengui and Bannon have collaborated numerous times in efforts targeting the Chinese government and businesses, one being the news website, G News, which has published stories claiming that COVID-19 was manufactured by the Chinese military.