Remdesivir: The Unexpected Story - part 1

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At the beginning there was a bat? In that case, he had a name and walked around in a white coat.

At the beginning of this article is a video:

In the video, Senator Rand Paul interrogates Dr. Antony Fauci. It is, at first glance, just one of what may be dozens of "interrogations" that will take place. But Senator Paul is prepared well. He's not an expert, but someone has prepared the background material for him. Excellent stuff. The stunned viewer learns a few things, but they need to understand at least a little bit more. Because any attempt to sensationalism will sounds pathetic. The key figure in the "interrogation" is Dr. Ralph Baric. Who is he?

For a better understanding, we add links:

According to Senator Paul, it was Baric who "engineered" the SARS-CoV-2 virus that later (presumably) escaped from the lab. How? The methodology of such constructions is well known. It is generally used. It is used to prepare not only resistant, mutated viruses, but also, say, cytostatic-resistant tumour cells. The only difference is that the tumour cell does not survive outside the petri dish, whereas the virus (as a non-living particle) does. At the beginning, a cytostatic is added to the tissue culture at a concentration that kills a large fraction of the cells. To the small fraction which survives that concentration is allowed to grow (in the presence of the cytostatic). The process is repeated, with the concentration of the cytostatic gradually increasing. In the end, it is possible to obtain a tumour cell line against which the cytostatic is practically ineffective. No, don't worry the line obtained in this way is "viable" only  in the laboratory under special conditions.

It's different with viruses. Baric passaged the original virus (probably SARS-CoV or MERS-CoV) in tissue cultures of human airway epithelial cells (!) at gradually increasing concentrations of GS-5734. And that GS-5734 used for preparation, wonder of the world, the virostatic remdesivir. This produced a resistant virus that was (spontaneously) mutated so that the mutations were/looked like "natural". In other words, the virus was resistant and apparently "new". New properties emerged that gave it a selection advantage. Because it was passaged on human cells, it also acquired a new tropism. That is, ability to infect human cells, whereas the original virus was not infectious to humans, or was very slightly infectious.

It should be noted that the research in the 2018 paper (Coronavirus Susceptibility to the Antiviral Remdesivir (GS-5734) Is Mediated by the Viral Polymerase and the Proofreading Exoribonuclease) was sponsored by Gilead Sciences. Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense of the U.S.A., also had an interest in Gilead Sciences. The same Rumsfeld who shook hands with Saddam Hussein during a visit to Baghdad ( In a paper from as early as 2016(!) (SARS-like WIV1-CoV poised for human emergence), Baric thanks to his colleagues in Wuhan for the plasmid that encodes the well known spike protein: "We thank Dr. Zhengli-Li Shi of the Wuhan Institute of Virology for access to bat CoV sequences and plasmid of WIV1-CoV spikeprotein."

Not bad at all, right? After reading these lines, one gets chills down one's spine. And begins to understand Senator Paul's questioning of Fauci.  A rather long article "For decades, scientists have been hot-wiring viruses in hopes of preventing a pandemic, not causing one. But what if ...?" (For decades, scientists have been "hot-wiring" viruses in hopes of preventing a pandemic, not causing one. But what if?...):

The term hot-wiring can be figuratively translated as "starting a car engine without using the key, especially with the intent to steal the car".

Ján Lakota, M.D., CSc.

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