About that Project Veritas scoop
Last week, Project Veritas released secretly recorded video of a Pfizer employee named Jordon Trishton Walker. As in other cases, Project Veritas appears to have approached Walker with a potential romantic partner (likely a sex worker paid by Project Veritas), who gradually gained his trust over a period of days. On his third date at a New York City restaurant, Walker made the following four statements about virus research at Pfizer, at different moments in the conversation:
One of the things we’re exploring is like, why don’t we just mutate it ourselves so we could create – preemptively develop new vaccines, right? So, we have to do that. If we’re gonna do that though, there’s a risk of like, as you could imagine – no one wants to be having a pharma company mutating fucking viruses.
Don’t tell anyone. Promise you won’t tell anyone. The way it would work is that we put the virus in monkeys, and we successively cause them to keep infecting each other, and we collect serial samples from them.
You have to be very controlled to make sure that this virus that you mutate doesn’t create something that just goes everywhere. Which, I suspect, is the way that the virus started in Wuhan, to be honest. It makes no sense that this virus popped out of nowhere. It’s bullshit.
From what I’ve heard is they are optimising it, but they’re going slow because everyone is very cautious – 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.
Although Walker is clearly drunk and a little incoherent in the video, none of these remarks are improbable or surprising. Directed evolution of viruses is a real thing that virologists do. Rhesus and macaque monkeys are standard animal models in SARS-2 research.
What this actually reveals, is that the Pfizer/BioNTech bivalent vaccine has been a total flop. Uptake is lower than ever, and within months of its rollout, BA.5 infections receded in the face of what will probably soon be the new dominant lineage, XBB.1.5. Because it takes so long to research and produce updated vaccines, you’re always vaccinating against yesterday’s variant. Vaccinator hysteria, however, has created an enormous global market for on-target Covid boosters, so you’d better believe that there are people out there right now trying to get ahead of the evolutionary curve. One way to do this, would be to infect bivalent-vaccinated animal models with current virus lineages, and observe which escape mutations emerge. Walker appears to say that Pfizer is considering a research programme along these lines, and that other scientists are already doing this work.
I’ll be honest: I don’t think what Walker describes is necessarily dangerous. The virus is already training itself against vaccine-elicited antibodies in billions of people. That’s a powerful force that I’m not sure Pfizer’s scientists have any hope of outpacing. Were such a tweaked virus to escape a laboratory, it would just have the antibody-evading properties of many other strains; we might not even recognise it as a lab product. Still, Walker’s revelations are significant, for they reveal how easily demand for vaccines becomes pressure to tinker with viral evolution. Similar research on potential pandemic pathogens that are poorly adapted to humans would indeed be truly dangerous.
Hours after Project Veritas released the video, Jordon Walker was thoroughly scrubbed from Google search results and social media. This was the first tell that their work had embarrassed the pharmaceutical giant. Aside from this tepid debunking at Newsweek and segments on Tucker Carlson Tonight, the story has been totally ignored by the American press, which is a second important clue. The general blackout has encouraged both the Twitter Pfizer fanclub and many on our own side of the debate to argue that the event was staged, or that Project Veritas has fallen victim to some kind of disinformation trap. The most common objections, however, simply don’t hold water:
1) Jordon Walker’s identity and his affiliation with Pfizer are easily verified.
2) Walker’s title (Director, Worldwide R&D Strategic Operations and mRNA Scientific Planning) does not indicate that he’s a senior Pfizer executive or even that he’s especially important. He’s a midlevel functionary with a consultant background. That said, his idiocy and lack of self-control should surprise nobody, given the stunning and ongoing incompetence of the entire mass vaccination effort.
3) The partnership between BioNTech and Pfizer nowhere stipulates that Pfizer will not conduct research on the SARS-2 virus. Pfizer has far more extensive laboratory facilities than BioNTech and a serious financial interest in their mRNA Covid jabs, so it makes sense that they’d contemplate this work.
4) Walker’s fairly hilarious reaction upon being confronted by James O’Keefe with his secretly recorded statements, far from suggesting that this is fake or staged, does a great deal of damage to theories that this is a twelve-dimensional misinformation operation by Pfizer itself.
Yesterday, Pfizer issued the following non-denial denial:
Allegations have recently been made related to gain of function and directed evolution research at Pfizer and the company would like to set the record straight.
In the ongoing development of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer has not conducted gain of function or directed evolution research. Working with collaborators, we have conducted research where the original SARS-CoV-2 virus has been used to express the spike protein from new variants of concern. This work is undertaken once a new variant of concern has been identified by public health authorities. This research provides a way for us to rapidly assess the ability of an existing vaccine to induce antibodies that neutralize a newly identified variant of concern. We then make this data available through peer reviewed scientific journals and use it as one of the steps to determine whether a vaccine update is required.
Note that Pfizer do not deny Jordon Walker’s statements, which were not about past work, but about possible future research. Nor do they deny that Walker was their employee, or directly address anything else that he said.