Bloom on Fauci & Francis Collins on SARS-CoV-2 origin: this piece in The Atlantic is a must read, fascinating, take what you wish from it but Jesse Bloom is Fauci & Francis Collins greatest nightmare

by Paul Alexander

I include portions in case this is taken down:


I include portions in case this is taken down:

‘On June 18, 2021, an evolutionary biologist named Jesse D. Bloom sent the draft of an unpublished scientific paper he’d written to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the president of the United States. A bespectacled, boyish-looking 43-year-old often clad in short-sleeved checkered shirts, Bloom specializes in the study of how viruses evolve. “He is the most ethical scientist I know,” said Sergei Pond, a fellow evolutionary biologist. “He wants to dig deep and discover the truth.”

…Bloom’s paper was the product of detective work he’d undertaken after noticing that a number of early SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences mentioned in a published paper from China had somehow vanished without a trace. The sequences, which map the nucleotides that give a virus its unique genetic identity, are key to tracking when the virus emerged and how it might have evolved. In Bloom’s view, their disappearance raised the possibility that the Chinese government might be trying to hide evidence about the pandemic’s early spread. Piecing together clues, Bloom established that the NIH itself had deleted the sequences from its own archive at the request of researchers in Wuhan. Now, he was hoping Fauci and his boss, NIH director Francis Collins, could help him identify other deleted sequences that might shed light on the mystery….

Bloom had submitted the paper to a preprint server, a public repository of scientific papers awaiting peer review, on the same day that he’d sent a copy to Fauci and Collins. It now existed in a kind of twilight zone: not published, and not yet public, but almost certain to appear online soon.

Collins immediately organized a Zoom meeting for Sunday, June 20. He invited two outside scientists, evolutionary biologist Kristian Andersen and virologist Robert Garry, and allowed Bloom to do the same. Bloom chose Pond and Rasmus Nielsen, a genetic biologist. That it was shaping up like an old-fashioned duel with seconds in attendance did not cross Bloom’s mind at the time. But six months after that meeting, he remained so troubled by what transpired that he wrote a detailed account, which Vanity Fair obtained.

After Bloom described his research, the Zoom meeting became “extremely contentious,” he wrote. Andersen leapt in, saying he found the preprint “deeply troubling.” If the Chinese scientists wanted to delete their sequences from the database, which NIH policy entitled them to do, it was unethical for Bloom to analyze them further, he claimed. And there was nothing unusual about the early genomic sequences in Wuhan.

Instantly, Nielsen and Andersen were “yelling at each other,” Bloom wrote, with Nielsen insisting that the early Wuhan sequences were “extremely puzzling and unusual.”

Andersen—who’d had some of his emails with Fauci from early in the pandemic publicly released through FOIA requests—leveled a third objection. Andersen, Bloom wrote, “needed security outside his house, and my pre-print would fuel conspiratorial notions that China was hiding data and thereby lead to more criticism of scientists such as himself.”…

Fauci then weighed in, objecting to the preprint’s description of Chinese scientists “surreptitiously” deleting the sequences. The word was loaded, said Fauci, and the reason they’d asked for the deletions was unknown.

That’s when Andersen made a suggestion that surprised Bloom. He said he was a screener at the preprint server, which gave him access to papers that weren’t yet public. He then offered to either entirely delete the preprint or revise it “in a way that would leave no record that this had been done.” Bloom refused, saying that he doubted either option was appropriate, “given the contentious nature of the meeting.”