Gain-of-Function Research Must Be Banned: The Faucis of the World Cannot Be Trusted with a Moratorium

Gain-of-Function Research Must Be Banned: The Faucis of the World Cannot Be Trusted with a Moratorium
James Lyons-Weiler | January 4, 2024

“It’s now obvious that Covid started as a lab leak. That fact was deliberately suppressed by Anthony Fauci and his cronies, with the complicity of the bioweapons research community. We have to stop this kind of research NOW.”
– RFK Jr., independent candidate for president

On December 22, 2023, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists raised the alarm, based on new findings, that between 2000-2021 there were 309 infections from labs involving 51 different escaped pathogens, including one that led to a new transmission chain of SARS-Cov-1 after the virus had died out.

Gain of Function (GoF) pathogenic manipulation studies have a poor safety record, with lab escapes occurring at a significant rate, often with fatal outcomes. In 2014, USA TODAY revealed an alarming number of lab mistakes and safety violations. As reported by Steven Salzburg in Forbes, in 2022, researchers at Boston University created a SARS-CoV-2 strain with an 80% kill rate in the mice. A January 2023 report in The New York Times, cited Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) findings that reinforced concerns about the federal government’s system for monitoring GoF research.

One in three people in the U.S. live within 100 miles of a level 3 or level 4 biosafety lab (BSL) biocontainment facility. A BSL-3 facility is required when working with indigenous or exotic, potentially lethal airborne microbes, such as tuberculosis. A BSL-4 facility is required when working with microbes with a high risk of aerosol transmission causing infections that are frequently fatal, such as Marburg or Ebola.

In 2014, calls by the Cambridge Working Group for a moratorium on gain-of-function research led the U.S. government to pause funding for research that could enhance the pathogenicity and/or transmissibility of influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses. This pause included research on naturally occurring viruses if they risked increased transmissibility or pathogenicity.

Despite these precautions, Dr. Anthony Fauci and colleagues chose to continue funding and conducting GoF research on SARS viruses. There were some objections from the White House and efforts to control National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) with Congressional oversight, which could have been a genuine attempt to stop out-of-control NIH and NIAID directors, or it may have been just an attempt at political distancing. Either way, the research should not have been conducted while the pause was in effect and lifting the GoF research moratorium in 2017 appears to have been a cynical attempt to legitimize past offenses.

A rogue group of bureaucrats at NIAID, intelligence community members, and scientists, acting on their own authority, forced the world to learn the hard costs of GoF research. The former NIAID Director’s lies and distortions have been met with silence from the Executive Branch, no matter who is in office, and insufficient investigations by the US Attorney General’s office.

Facts and data reviewed by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic point to a laboratory origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the Wuhan Institute for Virology (WIV), likely involving both direct genetic manipulation and serial passage in humanized mice. The evidence for intentional pathogenicity enhancement is suggested by multiple simultaneous genomic changes. Altogether, the official narratives suggest that individuals acted unilaterally to advance China’s technological capabilities, empowering military labs for bioweapons research.

File:NIAID Integrated Research Facility - Positive Pressure Personnel Suit.jpg

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

There’s been no transparency from China or the WIV regarding an accidental release. No improvements in biolab safety or new safeguards against accidental pathogen releases have been developed, emphasizing the need for an enforceable ban on GoF research worldwide.

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GoF Research: Mortal Risk Outweighs Perceived Benefit

The fact that 1 in every 3 Americans live within 100 miles of GoF lab facilities means that the cost of errors with potential pandemic pathogens (PPP), particularly respiratory viruses and bacteria, far outweighs any potential gains.

This is not merely a problem of standardized reporting or even adherence to BSL protocols. Time and experience has shown that those handling these pathogens make mistakes that imperil all of us. Hearings and proceedings have not yet found means to hold researchers accountable, and the development of bioethics with a spine against the inevitable fatal lab leaks lags behind technological advancements.

The crisis created by SARS-CoV-2 has shown that bioweapons readiness rationales are flawed. The pandemic revealed a lack of ethical and tactical readiness – in spite of massive funding following the Ebola outbreak of 2014 – with some countries resorting to police-state tactics and others seizing unconstitutional powers.

Given their entangled loyalties and profit motivations, public health can no longer be trusted to maintain fidelity to reality. Therefore, we must ban all GoF research. Drs. Peter McCullough and Sin Han Lee concur with this declaration.


I ask all ethical physicians and scientists to join me in this declaration:

We demand that all governing bodies enact an absolute ban on research to increase transmissibility or pathogenicity of any pathogen in a laboratory setting and codify sanctions against governments refusing these bans. We declare that the actions of all scientists continuing to work on enhancing transmissibility and pathogenicity of pathogens should henceforth be viewed as committing crimes against humanity.

We ask scientists involved in such research to stand down immediately, support staff to strike, and journal editors to refuse supportive activities for gain-of-pathogenicity and -transmissibility research.

We commit to supporting public office candidates who will improve public safety against lab-origin pathogens. We urge all areas of the political spectrum to enforce these actions by law. First, scientists worldwide must halt such research, followed by legal and political actions to ensure safety.

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James Lyons-Weiler is CEO and President of IPAK, the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, and founder of, an online institute of advanced learning where the public can learn objectively presented courses on topics that truly matter.

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