Just months before the global pandemic, scientists in Wuhan were planning to unleash concentrated coronaviruses into Chinese bats in the wild.
Researchers submitted plans to release skin-penetrating nanoparticles harboring “novel chimeric spike proteins” of bat coronaviruses into cave bats in Yunnan, China, according to newly leaked grant request documents, according to a report by The Telegraph.
Humanevents.com reports: They also planned to create chimeric viruses, genetically altered to infect humans more easily, and requested a whopping $14 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to complete the work.
Drastic, an investigations team set up to study the origins of the pandemic, released the documents and said in a statement: “Given that we find in this proposal a discussion of the planned introduction of human-specific cleavage sites, a review by the wider scientific community of the plausibility of artificial insertion is warranted.”
The grant proposal also included plans to mix high-risk natural coronavirus strains with more infectious varieties.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency declined to fund the work.
“It is clear that the proposed project led by Peter Daszak could have put local communities at risk,” the agency said, warning that the team had not considered the dangers of enhancing the virus.