'Life, Liberty & Levin' on COVID pandemic


This is a rush transcript from “Life, Liberty & Levin” May 23, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARK LEVIN, FOX NEWS HOST: Hello, America. I’m Mark Levin and this is LIFE, LIBERTY & LEVIN.

We have a crucially important program tonight. Our guest is Nicholas Wade. The question is, the origin of COVID-19.

This was brought to my attention by a friend of mine, David Berlinski, one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He’s been on this program a few years back and he said, “Mark, you’ve got to read this article. And you need to have Mr. Wade on your program to talk about this.” That is the origin of the coronavirus.

And Mr. Wade is an investigative science writer. He was formerly “New York Times” science writer, formerly writer with “Nature and Science,” so he knows something about these subjects, and I want to thank you for coming on the program.

The first paragraph sir, of your piece, which is published in something called “The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.” So it sounds like it’s quite legitimate. The first paragraph says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives the world over for more than a year. Its death toll will soon reach three million people. Yet the origin of the pandemic remains uncertain. The political agendas of governments and scientists have generated thick clouds of obfuscation, which the mainstream press seems helpless to dispel.”

So I want to go through some of this, so it’s understandable for all of us, some of the institutions, some of the names, and you can fill it in for us if you don’t mind, sir.

So let’s begin with identifying some of the institutions and actors. What exactly is the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Washington, D.C.?

NICHOLAS WADE, SCIENCE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, that’s a branch of the National Institutes of Health, and these awards grants to scientists in the U.S. and abroad who study matters of interest to Allergy and Infectious Diseases. And in particular, it supports research into animal viruses that seem to have the potential of spilling over into humans, and that includes these bat viruses called coronaviruses.

LEVIN: Is it a big bureaucracy? Is it a heavily funded bureaucracy, do you know?

WADE: I don’t know for sure. But all these components of the N.I.H., the National Institutes of Health have a lot of money to give out. They fund lots of research, it will be hundreds of millions of dollars, if not approaching a billion.

LEVIN: So who is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases?

WADE: Well, that’s Dr. Anthony Fauci.

LEVIN: And he’s been there a long time, about 37 years by my calculation. Now, what is the Wuhan Institute of Virology?

WADE: So that is the leading center in China for studying coronaviruses and it is in Wuhan. And the chief scientist there is called Dr. Zhengli Shi who is an expert on bat viruses.

LEVIN: In fact, in your piece, and others have called her the “bat lady.” That’s how expert she is on bat viruses, correct?

WADE: That’s right. She’s been collecting these viruses from the caves in Southern China and elsewhere, where bats hang out for many years, and she has an enormous collection of them.

LEVIN: Who is Ralph S. Baric?

WADE: Well, Ralph Baric is her counterpart in the U.S., you might say. He is a very distinguished coronavirus researcher. He trained Dr. Shi and many of his techniques, particularly those for genetically engineering coronaviruses, and he is a leader in his field.

LEVIN: And I’m going through this, I want the American people to know so we understand the individuals that you write about, we understand these institutions, and they we can draw some more information out about them and what’s been taking place here.

What is gain-of-function or GOF research?

WADE: Well, this is anything you do to a virus that increases its pathogenicity. So, it’s long been possible with new techniques of genetically — of genetic engineering to make changes in a virus’s genome and to add properties to it that it didn’t have before and that is called gain-of-function, if you make it more pathogenic.

LEVIN: Is this a controversial area of research — getting viruses and making them more lethal?

WADE: Yes, it has been controversial because of its obvious danger.

So from for a period from 2014 to 2017, it was under a U.S. government moratorium on funding such research, and the moratorium was lifted. It was replaced by a sort of reporting system. If you are funding researcher of this kind, you’re meant to report in to the government that you’re doing it.

LEVIN: And what is the theory behind research like this, making viruses more lethal, particularly lethal for human beings?

WADE: Well, that’s right. It sounds crazy at first sight. But the rationale is that many of these viruses are going eventually to jump over animals to humans anyway once they acquire sort of a couple of mutations that allows them to make that jump.

And so if we could define those mutations in advance, we will get a jump on virus or jump on what it was going to do naturally, and that would give us a leg up in trying to predict and prevent future epidemics. That’s the rationale for conferring gain-of-function on these viruses.

LEVIN: So basically, create in a lab more lethal viruses from the original virus so you can try and figure out what to do with it should it become more lethal, and jump into human beings, is that about right?

WADE: Yes, that’s right, with the one exception is you’re not — you’re not always working with the original virus. You’re often swapping into it, bits and pieces from related viruses that may be able to do something better or spread the range of hosts the virus can attack.

LEVIN: Now, this expert, this Chinese expert — scientist — at the Wuhan lab, you say she set out to create coronaviruses with the highest possible infectivity on human cells. Is this what she’s known to do?

WADE: She’s not known just for that, she’s just — she’s known as a sort of general expert on coronaviruses.

LEVIN: Now, I assume if you’re going to be messing around with viruses and making them more lethal, that there’s some level of safety you need to have at these labs. And you say there are four degrees of safety designated BSL 1 to BSL 4 with BSL 4 being the most restrictive and designed for deadly pathogens like the Ebola virus.

And you write, the Wuhan Institute of Neurology has a new BSL 4 lab, but its state of readiness considerably alarmed the State Department inspectors who visited Beijing. Much of her work, gain-of-function in coronavirus, you write, however, was not performed in the highest safety level of BSL 4. It wasn’t at BSL 3. It was BSL 2.

And you get the input from an expert from Rutgers by the name of Professor Ebright, and he says it’s clear that some or all of this work was being performed using a biosafety standard biosafety level 2, the level of standard in a dentist’s office — in a dentist’s office. Well, that raises some issues, doesn’t it, sir?

WADE: Yes, it does. I mean, there are quite — there are other general issues because these were the internationally agreed rules for working on coronaviruses. If you are working on the two coronaviruses that cause the two previous epidemics, the SARS-1 epidemic and the MERS epidemic, you had to research those only in BSL 3.

But if you were working on any other coronavirus, you could work in BSL 2, so Dr. Shi was following the international rules. It’s just that to outsiders, it seems there’s been a lot of illogicality there because if you create a particularly dangerous Coronavirus in BSL 2, your safety precautions may be inadequate, and it may well escape.

LEVIN: So in this lab, the Wuhan lab, they’re working on viruses. I’m putting this in Mark’s plain English. Viruses, they could become more killer viruses, more lethal viruses to human beings. The level of safety in this lab, one, two, three, four — four being the highest is a two, and I want to ask you a couple other questions related to this, sir. Who is Peter Daszak?

WADE: Okay, so Peter Daszak has an important role in this story. He is the president of an organization in New York, called the EcoHealth Alliance, and its main concern is to study animal viruses around the world that might turn into human pathogens.

Now the N.I.A.I.D. as we’ve discussed who gave the grant, it did not do so — it did not give the grant directly to Dr. Shi at the Wuhan Institute, it gave it to Peter Daszak, so he is the prime investigator on this grant and he then subcontracted Dr. Shi to do the work on coronaviruses.

LEVIN: Let me get this straight because this is important, I think to the American people.

Our infection — official Federal infectious disease office, Director Fauci runs it. They gave a grant to this intermediary organization, EcoHealth Alliance in New York, run by Peter Daszak. They in turn gave a grant to Dr. Shi in the Wuhan lab to do exactly what?

WADE: Well her task was, which we know because the abstracts of the grant have been — are a matter of public record. Her task was to explore what made the spike protein, that’s the part of the coronavirus that sticks out and actually attacks its target on human cells or whatever or other animal it may be infecting.

She was to explore the range of infectivity of these spike proteins from, it seems from a range of coronaviruses and she will swap them in one by one to sort of generic coronavirus backbone to see which spike proteins made the virus most infective. That seems to have been her program.

And that’s more or less what Daszak — Dr. Daszak describes in an interview he gave in December 2019, just before the pandemic hit.

LEVIN: So we’re funding in part this lab in China, run by Dr. Shi through a party in New York, run by Peter Daszak. And the purpose of this funding is to increase the lethality of coronaviruses. Theoretically, for the purpose of trying to figure out what to do with these more lethal viruses, should these more lethal viruses become manifested, correct?

WADE: Well, I think that’s basically — I think I will put the emphasis in a slightly different place, and first of all, it was definitely the duty of Dr. Fauci and the N.I.A.I.D. to explore these viruses and see what kind of danger they presented because they had already generated two pandemics. The SARS-1 and the MERS epidemic, so it was a very legitimate subject of research for him, and that was the overall purpose of the grant.

It wasn’t in itself to create the most dangerous virus, it was to explore the infective possibilities inherent in the natural viruses circulating in bats in China.

LEVIN: Would it be the responsibility of a government agency to make sure that a lab that is getting ultimately Federal dollars for this sort of research has the security and safety measures that it ought to have? Apparently, the State Department didn’t think it did.

WADE: Well, I think that’s a very interesting question, and probably we can’t answer it quite yet. I mean, if we — supposing there being a virus escaped from a lab in the U.S., a lab that was funded by N.I.A.I.D., I don’t think we’d immediately say, well, you and N.I.A.I.D. are responsible for that. I think, first of all, we would look to the director of the lab and say, was he following all applicable safety rules? Did he take all necessary precautions?

So I think the responsibility lies first and foremost, with the lab director, and then if you wish to go one step back, in this case, you arrive at Dr. Daszak, he was the principal investigator on the ground. And maybe, though I don’t know exactly how the regulations are written, but just sort of in general terms, you would think he will be the first, so the oversight person responsible for making sure that his sub-grantees like Dr. Shi were working in safe conditions.

But now, if I could take it one step further back than that, as I’ve mentioned, Dr. Shi was working in exactly the same rules as are followed by virologists all around the world. So now, you could argue well, the virologists have set these rules far too low to be easy on themselves. They don’t like suiting up in a bubble suit for the BSL level 4 that that’s what you see the pictures of Dr. Shi around the internet, she is wearing one of these bubbles. Those are not the condition she was working.

So it may be that responsibility is also shared or it should be looked at in terms of what the virology community as a whole was recommending in terms of these safety levels.

LEVIN: Absolutely. We’re going to take a break, but this is a whole world that the American people are utterly unfamiliar with, and perhaps the consequences of this have killed millions of people worldwide and half a million people in the United States. So we have got to know more about this as a people, which is why I’m just trying to figure out more and more of this, quite frankly, thanks to the knowledge that you’ve gained.

And when we return, I want to know a little bit more about Peter Daszak. He is the middleman. He has got this group that funded the Wuhan lab, and what actions he took and others may have taken when the pandemic began to spread.

We’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEVIN: Welcome back. I’m here with Nicholas Wade, who is a well-known writer about science and worked for “The New York Times” and “Nature and Science” Magazines, all these expert sort of areas and wrote a piece that has really drawn my attention and the attention of a lot of people in something called the “Bulletin of Atomic Science.” So it sounds pretty important.

And so I took a look at this and I want to get into this again further.

Peter Daszak like you said, he is the President of the EcoHealth Alliance of New York. He got a grant from our Infectious Disease Federal Department. He used a grant to fund some of the research at the Wuhan lab.

Well, let me ask you this, Mr. Wade. Daszak, there is a publication called “Lancet” and what did Daszak and “Lancet” wind up doing, in turn when the pandemic first broke out?

WADE: Well, when it first broke out, there were two very reasonable scenarios for the origin of the virus and one, it could have jumped naturally from animals and the other, it could have escaped from the lab which after all was right in the middle of Wuhan is the Wuhan Institute of Virology as we’ve said.

But right from the beginning, public perception favored natural emergence over lab escape, and that perception was very much shaped by a letter that appeared in “The Lancet” and derided lab escape as a conspiracy theory, and said that natural emergence, of course, was the way this virus had emerged and we should all stand shoulder to shoulder with our Chinese colleagues on the forefront of fighting the disease.

Now, this letter, it later turned out had been drafted and organized by Dr. Daszak, who, of course, if the virus had indeed escaped from the Wuhan lab, he might certainly be perceived as being at fault for not overseeing it better. So he had a clear conflict of interest, which unfortunately, was not declared to the readers of the “Lancet.” And indeed, his letter ends, “We declare no conflict of interest.”

LEVIN: And this was cited by a lot of the media at the time, as I recall, and people who said, well, maybe we ought to look at the lab and so forth, as you point out, they were dismissed. Some of them were dismissed as kooks.

President Trump said, maybe we should look at the lab, and maybe that had an influence on the media in our country.

Who is Kristian Andersen?

WADE: Well, he’s a virologist and he was the author of a second letter, which also was widely influential in shaping public perceptions. And this second letter also said that the virus could clearly not have been manipulated, and therefore, natural emergence was the best solution.

But in fact, there was no — there was no good scientific basis for his statement. He was assuring the public of something that he could not know for sure, and that is something that in general, scientists, in my view, should not do.

LEVIN: So we have these scientific journals, we have these scientists, we have sort of these groups of scientists in the case of Daszak, he had 20 to 25, actually 35 signatures. We have the second one from Andersen, five signatures. The media basically use these letters as an argument that it had to be from animal jumped to human beings.

Why do you think the media was so incurious? I mean, people are getting ill. This is a pandemic, would you — I mean, if you were back at “The New York Times,” and so forth, wouldn’t you say to your editor, I want to know how the hell this happened?

WADE: Well, I agree, Mark. It’s very puzzling to me why the media headed by the science journalists there on the staff of most mainstream newspapers and networks didn’t run after this story, which by any standards was one of the biggest science stories of the decade, and I am perplexed to know why they didn’t see through the rather large holes in the Andersen and Daszak letters that so much shaped a public opinion.

But with the science journalists sort of going along with the natural emergence theory. Their editors who I guess have depended on their advice went along, too, and in addition, the whole issue became horribly politicized, essentially, by President Trump saying the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab and not providing any evidence.

Now, I’m pretty sure, my guess is that what his Intelligence Service said to him was exactly the same as they’ve been saying under the Biden administration, namely that we cannot rule out the possibility of lab escape, and Mr. Trump, I fear dropped all those caveats and announced it as if it were an outright fact.

So therefore, everyone who was with President Trump sort of favored lab escape and everyone who was against President Trump refused to consider it. It seems to me to be a reflection how sort of politicized our whole public discussion has become that these political attitudes prevailed over what should have been scientific curiosity.

LEVIN: Well, let me say two things about that. If I’m Mr. Xi in Communist China, and if the President of the United States says it came out of a lab, then why would I prevent — provide the data that you indicate in your article that the Chinese have, but they won’t release to prove otherwise?

And I suspect President Trump may have been trying to goad the Communist Chinese into providing that data. He said, it came out of the lab. All the Communist Chinese had to do is say, wait a minute, here’s our data, have access to our lab. Isn’t it interesting that the Chinese will not as you say in your article, release any of the data related to this research?

WADE: Yes, I think it is. I want us to sort of bear in mind that the sort of knee jerk reaction of all authoritarian regimes is to suppress data and the Chinese did suppress data after the SARS-1 epidemic which had a perfectly natural causation.

Nonetheless, I think what we see here is a very systematic and relentless cover up in that all of the records of the Wuhan Institute are being concealed, all the databases of information about bat viruses have been closed down. And I think the trickle of information that the Chinese have let out has been mostly either false or designed to mislead and misdirect.

LEVIN: All right, we’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JON SCOTT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: Welcome to “FOX News Live.” I’m Jon Scott. National Guard troops are pulling out of Washington, D.C. after a five-month stay. More than 26,000 troops had been deployed after rioters broke into the Capitol back in January and invaded the House and Senate chambers.

The Pentagon announced last week an extension had not been requested. The last 2,000 Guardsmen pulled out today. Security will now be left to Capitol Police.

In the Congo, at least 15 people are dead following last night’s eruption of a volcano near the City of Goma. The U.N. Children’s Agency says more than 170 children are missing. UNICEF is organizing transit centers to help unaccompanied children, more than 500 homes are gone, more than 30,000 people are now left homeless.

I’m Jon Scott. We take you now back to Life, Liberty, & Levin.

LEVIN: Nicholas Wade, let me ask you a question. You’re watching what’s going on. I mean, you see your former profession. What caused you to write this article? It’s a very substantial article. What caused you to do this?

WADE: I first got interested in this about a year ago when I read an article posted by a man called Yuri Deigin who is a Russian-Canadian, and he wrote a very long article showing in detail how this virus could have been manipulated. He didn’t say it was, he just said it could have been and that started me reading everything I could find about the situation and gradually accumulating evidence until I’ve found out enough to write a very, very long 11,000-word article.

LEVIN: And why do you think you’re one of the few people who was curious enough and motivated enough to do this? I mean, there are people still at “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post,” there are people at CBS and NBC and ABC. You’re talking about a virus that has killed an enormous number of people, that shutdown our economy, that changed the way we even govern ourselves, and the media will pick up stories on things that are of no consequence whatsoever.

And yet, here you are, I guess you’re semi-retired, and here you are, you’re looking at this thing. You know what? I’m going to get to the bottom of this? I mean, what accounts for that, do you think? You were in this industry a long time.

WADE: Well, I think we see a sustained Chinese propaganda effort at work. But you know, more than that, it was just the blindness, if I could put it that way of, of our media, where we are too polarized to see scientific issues for their own sake without putting a political gloss on them, and everyone was sort of blindsided right from the start by these two letters we have just discussed into thinking that natural emergence was the only possible solution.

In fact, in that two possible scenarios, we have no direct evidence for either of them. So, we must keep our minds open. We don’t know for sure the origin of the virus. It is just we’ve got these two possible scenarios. But if you look at all the evidence and ask yourself, well, which scenario explains all these facts better?

On present evidence, it seems to me at least that the lab escape hypothesis explains it a lot better. So that’s where we are. But it’s a sort of complicated conclusion to arrive at, and I can only assume in answer to your question that the media was blindsided, they didn’t do the work that was necessary. They failed to take off their political glasses and look at just news, which seems sort of old fashioned nowadays, and thus, they failed to at least present the two possibilities in the way I tried to do in the article.

LEVIN: Don’t you think, even though there’s not a direct connection, as you pointed out, don’t you think the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, or the National Institutes of Health, these entities that the American people have had a lot of faith in, they have put a lot of reliance on. I know, I have over the decades that they have a responsibility to try and figure out how this happened. I hear nothing from those institutions about where they think this virus came from other than they dismiss people who have thoughts and comments and so forth.

It just seems to me, if you’re going to be in the business of grant giving, I don’t care if it’s three levels below or whatever it is, at this point, you know something horrific happened. Shouldn’t they have some responsibility to try and get to the bottom of it, including saying, look, we’re trying to get the data, but the communist regime in China won’t give it to us.

WADE: Mark, I think that’s an excellent point. The National Institutes of Health, even more so all the media, surely had a duty to investigate the origin of the virus as carefully as it could, to lay out its role in it, to explain why it continued funding this research, even during a U.S. government moratorium on funding it.

And there are lots of questions that I wish the N.I.H. had addressed a year ago, and being upfront about and invited public comment and scrutiny and just laid out everything they knew and tried to see what had happened and explained it to us, and they haven’t done that. And I share your perplexity at why not?

LEVIN: And even though there are arguments, as you point out, for this gain-of-function, making more lethal these viruses in order to try and figure out how to address them, should they turn out to be as lethal as they are, it seems to me, if we don’t have something in place to watch these labs, and if we don’t hold people accountable for what they’re doing, at least on our side, then maybe this moratorium should be continued.

Now, you said something in your article that I want to get back to after the break. You said this funding occurred even though there was a moratorium in place because of loopholes — loopholes. It seems to me when it comes to this there ought to be no loopholes.

So when we come back, I want to ask you about that. We’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEVIN: Welcome back. Nicholas Wade, this loophole that you write about in your piece that there’s a loophole when it comes to this kind of funding of research. I mean, there was a moratorium, I assume for a reason. Do you know why there was a moratorium?

WADE: Well, there was a moratorium because of the obvious danger of the research.

LEVIN: And yet, there’s a loophole?

WADE: Well, they wrote a loophole into the regulation about the moratorium saying that the head of the government funding agency, now, we’re not sure if that meant Dr. Collins, the head of the N.I.H. or Dr. Fauci, the head of the N.I.A.I.D., the head of government funding agency could invoke this loophole to continue funding the research or funding any research and the reasons for exempting could be national security or extreme threat to public health.

Now, we don’t actually know if Dr. Collins or Dr. Fauci did invoke this loophole, it seemed at first that they must invoke the loophole for the research to have continued. But now, it seems it might have been a question of definition of how you define gain-of-function, because Dr. Fauci told the Senate recently that the N.I.H. had not supported any gain-of-function research, even though the description of what Dr. Shi was doing seems clearly to be gain-of-function, so it seems he may be working, or certainly the EcoHealth Alliance is working with a different definition, and therefore, it’s a matter of definition not of loopholes.

LEVIN: Well, this is fascinating. Now, Dr. Fauci is on more new shows than I can throw a brick at talking about the lack of curiosity by the media, all they have to do is read your article, not that it points at Fauci but it points to the fact that was a moratorium and then there’s this loophole. And then you point out that it would take the head of these agencies, either the head of NIH, the overarching umbrella agency, or the head of Fauci’s agency to permit research or grant to go towards this kind of a gain-of-function activity.

And I like to consider myself relatively intelligent. Don’t we need to get an answer to this? I mean, who was it? Was it Daszak? Was it Fauci? Was it Collins?

You have a moratorium that is set and the moratorium is obviously violated, if it is a semantical issue, it seems to me that’s something we need to know, too, I mean, this is a grave matter. I mean, perhaps this grant should never have been given in the first place, as a matter of fact, under the moratorium, and yet it was.

WADE: Yes, I think all of these are questions to which we need to get answers. As I said before, I’m sorry that the N.I.H. hasn’t addressed them sort of many months ago, so we could all see what was on the table. But we do need to know whether the research continued simply because the N.I.H. considered that this did not involve gain-of-function research, which actually seems to be their present position.

And if that is their position, then we need to see how this squares with everyone else’s understanding of gain-of-function, and in particular, how it squares with the language in the moratorium that doesn’t define it this way, it defines it very broadly — it is anything that makes a virus more pathogenic.

LEVIN: You know, Mr. Wade, it’s not hard to find out the trajectory of this grant, who signed off on it in the bureaucracy. There’s typically a level of sign-offs. And ultimately, if we went to the top and then same with the third-party intermediary, how they conducted themselves, it wouldn’t take a lot to figure this out. It really wouldn’t.

We’re not China, we are the United States. This is the sort of thing where there are paper trails. There seems to be still no interest in this; instead, when you have somebody like Dr. Rand Paul questioning Dr. Fauci, the reporting is more about how they are fighting with each other rather than can we figure out exactly what’s taking place here and Dr. Fauci made the definitive statement, unequivocal that we did not and do not fund gain of function.

And yet the Wuhan law lab, this is in a significant way, what they do. Now, if there are third parties that the Federal government is giving money to that then gives money to these entities that do in fact do gain-of-function research, they would know more about that than you and I. We are the outsiders.

I mean, even though you’ve written a fantastic piece on this, they know if they’re giving money to gain of function activity, and if they don’t, isn’t that an incredible admission?

WADE: Well, they should certainly lay out their thinking, which at present is very obscure. You know, these grants they all begin with peers of other virologists who will review a grant proposal and decide whether or not it should be funded, and they will also look into these safety issues and these definitional issues.

So in a way, it’s the system that has produced this grant proposal, not primarily the head of N.I.A.I.D. or N.I.H., but nonetheless they sit on top of those of the sort decision making apparatus and they are or others should really be giving us answers to all the very good questions you’re raising about this.

LEVIN: All right, we’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEVIN: Welcome back. Nicholas Wade, you do point out in your piece, which is again superb? You say, look, I can’t tell you exactly how this happened. What I can tell you is one scenario that seems more logical and rational than another. But where do we go from here, Mr. Wade?

WADE: What I would like to see happen is for more and more people to consider the evidence, follow the chain of argument I’ve presented and come to the conclusion that on present evidence, it is more likely that the virus escaped from a lab. Now, I have a lot of people start saying that particularly eminent scientists, that for the first time would put pressure on the Chinese to bring out their evidence and try and tell us what really happened.

Up to now, they’ve had a free ride because everyone has been saying it is natural emergence, so the Chinese just sort of grin and say nothing, they didn’t have to say anything. If we could put pressure on the Chinese to tell us what really happened, then we’d be a lot — we would be a lot further forward.

And I think one could point out there’s a — this is maybe far too optimistic, and Pollyannaish, but there is a potential face saving formula here, which is that even though the Chinese presumptively let the virus escape, he was the U.S. that funded the research, so there is a little bit of blame to go around on both sides.

And if both sides could agree to that, then they could focus on trying to find out how to make sure this kind of thing never happened again.

LEVIN: You happen to know, is there a moratorium now on this gain-of- function research? And if not, shouldn’t there be?

WADE: Well, we should certainly discuss it a lot, and the people who say this research is very beneficial should make their case as best they can. And then someone, maybe an independent body should tell the virologists, what is the appropriate safety level for each kind of research? You know, the virologists don’t like to work in BSL 4 labs, no one does. It’s very cumbersome. It takes — everything takes twice as long.

So I think people may decide after review that the safety level should be significantly raised for certain kinds of research. That’s the kind of review I think we should have.

LEVIN: Do you think the government is going to want to investigate — the government here — do you think these agencies that are supposed to be looking out for our health and welfare are going to want to be doing this so far, because so far, as best I can tell, they haven’t moved an inch?

WADE: Well, these are very responsible agencies. They’ve been responsible for funding biomedical research, which has been one of the great glories of American science, and I think we should retain our faith in them to investigate themselves fully and fairly and lay out what has happened. They are not the villain here. They seem to have been a party to what made it to be a terrible oversight, if indeed, the virus did indeed escape from the lab, but then I think we can reasonably look to them to try and find out what might have happened and put things right and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

LEVIN: Let’s hope they start that process relatively soon. It’s been over a year and we’ve lost half a million people. It would be nice to get to the bottom of this.

WADE: Absolutely.

LEVIN: Nicholas Wade, you’ve made an enormous contribution to the public dialogue here. You’ve opened my eyes and the eyes of a lot of other people, and I want to thank you very much. God bless you, sir.

WADE: Thank you, Mark. Thanks so much.

LEVIN: We’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEVIN: Welcome back, America. You know the irresponsibility of Inspectors General, the Department of Justice, the United States Congress to investigate and get to the bottom of what caused this pandemic is really monumental. It’s unbelievable. And at the same time, we have Joe Biden who has, in our discussion with the President for life, the dictator, China’s Xi, and never once brings this up. Not once. That is really a disgrace.

Meanwhile, the government gets bigger and bigger, the debt gets bigger and bigger, the borders are open. We have inflation starting to go through the roof. This administration is at war with our energy production. We see the price of everything going up. We see this notion of critical race theory and critical gender theory and critical immigration theory as the government gets bigger and bigger, more and more incompetent, and yet more and more authoritarian.

I want to encourage you if you can, to think about getting a new book that I wrote. It’s a book that I’ve written over many months, it is probably the most important I’ve ever written. And yes, I write and research my own books. It’s the longest book I’ve ever written.

Again, I think it’s the most important book I’ve ever written. It just went to the printer. So I don’t even have it. But I have this. It’s called “American Marxism.” I would like to encourage you, as many of you as possible to preorder your copy, you can go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble, Walmart or whatever you’re comfortable with because I want to inform as many Americans as possible from sea to shining sea as we did during the Tea Party, the Reagan Revolution, the Trump Revolution, all these patriotic movements, about what’s happening to the country in ways that you may not know who’s behind it, what entities are behind it. And we need to know that for confront it and defeat it.

In the last chapter of the book, I provide many ideas on what we can do. It’s time for patriots to push back before it’s too late.

I’ll see you next time on LIFE, LIBERTY & LEVIN.

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