The US drugmaker Pfizer has admitted it “engineered” Covid-19 mutants in order to test its antiviral medicine.
The admission partially backs up earlier claims by an executive with the company who told an undercover reporter that Pfizer was deliberately “mutating” the virus to “preemptively develop new vaccines.”
In a statement posted on its website, Pfizer said that it “has not conducted gain of function or directed evolution research,” referring to the practice of amplifying a virus’ ability to infect humans and the process of selecting ‘desirable’ traits of a virus to reproduce, respectively.
However, the pharma giant said that it combined the spike proteins of new coronavirus variants with the original strain in order to test its vaccines, and that it created mutations of the virus to test Paxlovid, its antiviral drug.
“In a limited number of cases…such virus may be engineered to enable the assessment of antiviral activity in cells,” the company said, adding that this work was carried out in a secure laboratory. The work also sought to create “resistant strains of the virus,” it added, describing a process commonly understood as being ‘gain of function’ function.
Pfizer’s statement came two days after Jordon Trishton Walker, an executive involved in the firm’s mRNA division, told an undercover reporter that the company was “exploring” ways to “mutate [Covid] ourselves so we could create, preemptively develop, new vaccines.” Walker said that scientists were considering infecting monkeys with the virus, who would then “keep infecting each other.”
“From what I’ve heard, they [Pfizer scientists] are optimizing it, but they’re going slow because everyone is very cautious,” he explained. “Obviously they don’t want to accelerate it too much. I think they are also just trying to do it as an exploratory thing because you obviously don’t want to advertise that you are figuring out future mutations.”
Pfizer’s statement makes no mention of the supposed plan to infect monkeys, instead explaining that any work on live viruses is carried out in vitro, meaning inside test tubes or other lab equipment.
Walker was told on camera that he was speaking to a journalist with Project Veritas, a conservative outlet known for its hidden-camera sting operations. After hearing this, Walker insisted that he was lying to impress his date, before attempting to steal an iPad from Project Veritas CEO James O’Keefe.
It must be remembered that the US drugmaker Pfizer had attempted to “bully the Indian government” into granting it indemnity from legal action over its Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine shot was ultimately never approved in India.
“Just to remind all Indians, that Pfizer tried to bully the government of India into accepting conditions of indemnity,” Electronics and Technology minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar had earlier claimed. The minister then accused three prominent opposition leaders of “pushing foreign vaccines during Covid.”
Chandrehaskar’s tweet featured a video of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla being ambushed by a reporter at the World Economic Forum’s yearly gathering in the Swiss resort of Davos recently. Asked when he knew that his company’s vaccines “didn’t stop transmission” of the coronavirus, Bourla refused to answer.