David Asher, who led the Trump administration’s investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, told Fox News on Thursday that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) was up to “some very hairy stuff with synthetic biology” and that biostatisticians from the U.S. government calculated that the odds of the coronavirus evolving naturally was one-in-13 billion.
Asher said that the U.S. government’s probe was finding “that there was almost no evidence that supported a natural, zoonotic … evolution, or source of COVID-19 … the data disproportionately stacked up as we investigated that it was coming out of a lab or some supernatural source.”
Asher said that the Chinese military was involved in research in the lab and that “they were up to some very hairy stuff with synthetic biology and so called gain of function techniques.”
Asher said that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was doing gain of function research to enhance “the pathogenicity or the virulence of coronavirus vectors that were radically unnatural.”
“They were not similar to anything that resembled what could occur a natural evolution,” Asher said. “In fact, I had biostatisticians at one of our national labs calculate the odds of this evolving in nature. And it was like one in 13 million, and then they later revised it to about one in 13 billion. So you know, to say this came out of a zoonotic situation is sort of ridiculous.”
Theories that the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan lab were largely dismissed by key voices in the scientific community, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, and mainstream fact-checkers, for over a year. But as FactCheck.org documents, the public debate has shifted dramatically over the last few months, with prominent figures, including Fauci, now stating that evidence indicates that a lab leak is a possibility.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS: All right, Sandra, back now to our top story, the growing calls for transparency in the investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior fellow at the Hudson Institute David Asher joins us now. He is a former State Department official who led a probe into the pandemic under former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. David, good to see you, just to set this up for the folks at home, this is the investigation that we were reporting on yesterday that was shut down in the Spring by the Biden administration. You left that investigation about the end of January or so. What was that investigation finding?
DAVID ASHER, FORMER TOP PANDEMIC INVESTIGATOR: Well, we were finding that despite the claims of our scientific community, including the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Fauci’s NIAID organization, that there was almost no evidence that supported a natural, zoonotic, you know, evolution, or source of COVID-19. I came into an investigation, doing a compliance report related to the bio weapons treaty. And we said, you know, okay, let’s look at the both sources of evidence, natural zoonosis, as they call it, you know, it came out of nature, or did it come out of a lab, and the data disproportionately stacked up as we investigated that it was coming out of a lab or some supernatural source.
ROBERTS: But at that point in time, the person who was overseeing this, the Undersecretary for non proliferation, Chris Ford, you say didn’t really want to entertain this idea.
ASHER: No. No, he seemed disinterested. He said, even if we came to it, how do we know where it came out of? What lab? I very rarely in my in my life in government have ever encountered someone who’s more of a [inaudible] less a bureaucrat than that individual. I rarely say that I encountered disgraceful behavior in government. But I did actually in this occasion … he’s very bizarre.
ROBERTS: You say that you were looking into compliance in terms of weapons of mass destruction of arms control. Was there a military component to this?
ASHER: Of course, I mean, we were trying to assess the entire biological weapons program of China. And I have a background in biotech investing. And it’s why I came back as a contractor because I couldn’t afford to come back in the government as a regular official this last time, but I still had a official capacity more or less. And I knew a lot about synthetic biology. And I rapidly zeroed in on the Wuhan Institute of Virology not just because of the Secretary of State’s previous statements about it, but because that was the center or the epicenter of synthetic biology in the People’s Republic of China. And they were up to some very hairy stuff with synthetic biology and so called gain of function techniques.
ROBERTS: So what do you believe through the intelligence that you gathered, your taskforce gathered, that the Chinese were doing at that Institute when it comes to Coronavirus?
ASHER: Well, they were doing a wide variety of things. It’s interesting until 2015, the Chinese as members of the biological weapons convention, declared that they were engaged in coronavirus related research. And then in 2016, they stopped declaring that and this is for bio defense purposes extensively. So why did they stop declaring it? Well, as we unveiled in our declassified statement from the Secretary of State and DNI on January 15, they had kicked off in 2016, at the exact same time a classified program involving the People’s Liberation Army, and to coronaviruses with a biological weapons element, obviously present.
ROBERTS: Now, Dr. Fauci has maintained from the NIH that American money was not used to fund gain of function research at Wuhan. You suggested that they were involved in gain of function research there at that laboratory. Did you find anything to connect the dots between NIH funding and what was going on at the lab?
ASHER: Yeah, you know, I mean, I wasn’t involved in researching the … US government’s involvement in gain of function research. I was getting the Chinese government’s but the looking at the Chinese side of this, but the Chinese most certainly felt that NIH was supporting their gain of function research and to enhancing the pathogenicity or the virulence of coronavirus vectors that were radically unnatural. They were not similar to anything that resembled what could occur a natural evolution. In fact, I had biostatisticians at one of our national labs calculate the odds of this evolving in nature. And it was like one in 13 million, and then they later revised it to about one in 13 billion. So you know, to say this came out of a zoonotic situation is sort of ridiculous.
ROBERTS: So just very quickly, because I’ve only got a few seconds left here, David, when all is said and done with this 90 Day Review by the Intelligence Committee community, what do you believe they’ll find? What do you think they’ll conclude?
ASHER: I have a lot of confidence the Intelligence Committee at this stage, I think they finally got their heads around this situation, I think they’ll find a lot. Whether they’ll say much, is a different matter. We made a big effort Under Secretary Pompeo’s leadership to declassify critical information. I certainly hope and I know that Congress endorses this bipartisanly that this administration will do the same. We need to find out truth for the sake of our future, and humanity.