Gain of Function Research of Concern (GOFROC) increases the pandemic potential or lethality of human pathogens. It is carried out by only very few laboratories all over the world, and many scientists have repeatedly said that we must end this research, as even tiniest mistake here could result in millions of deaths. This page aims at providing an overview on the history of GOFROC, biosafety accidents and the scientific evidence that points towards synthetic origins or potential synthetic origins of recent viral outbreaks.
this blog is still under construction and continuously updated when I find the time
I recommend reading the subpages on SARS-CoV-2, Omicron and Ebola first before coming back here for more general information.
Lab leaks happen at all safety levels. All the time. Everywhere.
Lab leaks have always happened, at all safety levels. The first lab leak that caused a pandemic killing about 700.000 people happened in 1977.
Or this one: "Airborn pathogen kills many near biosafety lab. Ruling communist party blames local meat market. Overwhelming data points towards lab leak. Western experts are denied to have on-site access, still confirm natural origin."
"Leak admitted by president."
What? Yes, we are talking about Sverdlovsk, 1979.
But we must have gotten better since then, right?
No, rather the opposite. while public suggest there is about one potentially lethal lab leak every 6 months, internal investigations show that these happen about every second day.
Unlike in the aviation industry, the common strategy is to just pretend nothing happened. However, technological advances are now enabling many more people to modify or completely generate lethal viruses. And unlike natural viruses, those adapted to human cells or receptors can both leak more easily and then spread around the world in months. Adaptation to human receptors, which may take years out there, can be achieved in weeks in lab. In theory, a virus that could eliminate half of the worlds population could be build according to published protocols, in a basic lab, with a few hundred dollars and a week of hands on work.
Examples of gain of function research on viruses in the EU
Siena, Italy: Breeding of vaccine-resistant SARS2 variants
Highest biosafety level: No
Risk level: high, similar to SARS2 in an unvaccinated populations or Omicron
Berlin, Germany: adaptation of MERS to human receptors increases replication
Highest Biosafety Level: No
Risk level: very high, 40x more lethal than SARS2
Rotterdam, Netherlands: breeding human adapted H5N1 variants transmissible via aerosols
Highest Biosafety Level: Yes
Risk level: absolute nightmare, >80x more lethal than SARS2
When will this pandemic end? My perspective
These examples are only a fraction of the viral gain of function experiments carried out everyday, all over the world. Based on their public statements, frequency of accidents and reluctance to even discuss any lab origin hypothesis, the majority of experimental virologists seems to be in a complete, almost cult-like denial of the enormous risks associated with their work. Psychologically, this behaviour is understandable when considering the amount of suffering that was caused by SARS2. We have seen similar behaviour in the cathlic church with regards to child abuse or in car companies with regards to emission cheat devices. People involved hardly ever step up to warn the world about the damage they cause. Most of them don't risk their reputations or careers and rather find excuses like not wanting to "cheat" on their colleagues.
Synthetic virology is a very young field, its threats are very new, we thus haven't yet evolved an appropriate risk awareness. But we cannot afford to just wait and see.
With almost absolute certainty, this pandemic was started by a synthetic, yet less than 1% lethal virus, which still caused millions of deaths and brought the health care systems and supply chains of the richest countries to the brink of collapse. Developing nations where hit even much harder.
We didn't react, didn't properly investigate the origin, didn't even have an honest discussion.
The virus tinkering continued.
Antibody-resistant variants were bred, polymutants were designed, risky clinical trials were initiated.
We then got Omicron, Which also likely a synthetic variant of a synthetic virus. No virologist was capable of predicting Omicron, as zoonotic studies, mutation rates, natural viral evolution or experience from older pandemics don't help with synthetic viruses.
What will happen if we do not react, again?
If we give in to the feeling that this is to complex for us to judge?
That we can't change anything anyway? If we just don't look up?
The virus tinkering will continue.
After 2 synthetic pandemics in 3 years, the next pandemic will most likely also come from a lab, and could be up to 80x deadlier that SARS2
If we don't come together to end gain of function research on pathogens, this research could any day end us.
Chinese virologists have just enabled the receptor of the ~30% lethal MERS to use human ACE2, the same receptor as SARS2, by only introducing one mutation. This highlights how unpredictable GOFROC is. European virologists have already adapted the ~60% lethal H5N1 virus so it can spread easily from human to human. H5N1, H5N7 or Nipah viruses would all most likely kill you or leave you incapable of leading a normal life.
And lab leaks happen at least about twice a year. And what if it isn't an accident next time, but some terrorists that just copy the protocols we have paid for and uploaded for everyone to see?
Two terrorist groups already tried making biological weapons.
So what to do?
First, don't blindly trust me, double-check the things I wrote. But don't ask a virologist for his gut feelings. Look up synonymous and nonsynonymous mutations. Ask someone you really trust if natural evolution can precisely and exclusively introduce ~25 sequential published nonsilent mutations without any "noise" like synonymous mutations.
Next, do everything you can do to help stop such highly risky GoF experiments:
If you are a fellow scientist, raise your voice, give interviews, explain, warn, BE HONEST.
If you are a journalist, start investigating and questioning scientists and GoF research.
If you are a lawyer, explore legal options, draft reasonable regulations or start investigations.
If you are a politician, please stop or at least strictly regulate this sort of research.
Anybody can share this information, translate this web page (feel free to copy my cotent), or write a letter to a local politician or a synthetic virologist.
Anybody can sign my petition or start a local one.
We need an immediate stop on all gain of function research on pathogens,
at least until we can establish an international oversight agency similar to the IAEA.
This problem is extremely important, but comparatively easy to solve.
Please always remain civil and don't lose hope. A better future is possible.
HAMBURG DECLARATION 2022
This declaration summarizes why many scientists and doctors are convinced that we must immediately end extremely risky GOFROC, as it could kill billions of people while thus far not providing any significant benefits for mankind.
Call for a Global End to High-Risk "Gain-of-Function" Research on
Potential Pandemic Pathogens
Conscious of the mission and responsibility of science and research to serve the welfare of
humanity, to strive for truth, and to communicate the knowledge gained to the general public,
the signatories of this statement wish to call attention to a major threat to human existence that
has arisen in recent years as a result of novel bioengineering techniques to modify dangerous
Through what is generally understood as "gain-of-function" research, naturally occurring
viruses are artificially adapted through changes in gene sequence to facilitate their entry into
human cells, either via direct gene editing or simply via accelerated evolution in a process
called passaging. This creates an enormous potential for a human pandemic, which
responsible scientists and researchers have repeatedly pointed out over the past decade. In
recent years, such research has been conducted on various highly dangerous pathogens such
as avian influenza viruses and SARS-type coronaviruses. Much of this work has been done as
part of publicly funded research projects.
The current coronavirus pandemic clearly shows what happens when pathogens are extremely
easily transmitted from person to person. Millions of people have died and the livelihoods of
billions of people are threatened or have been lost altogether. This enormous devastation
occurred even though the mortality rate of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is comparatively low, at a
level of around one percent. However, experiments are currently underway in various
laboratories around the world in which much more dangerous viruses such as MERS, Ebola
or Nipah viruses are being manipulated via gain-of-function.
Unfortunately, no biotechnology laboratory in the world is safe enough to guarantee that such
enhanced viruses will not escape, especially given the functions that may be purposely or
accidentally gained and which are often difficult to predict. A catastrophic biosecurity breach
with such viruses could be fatal for a substantial proportion of the world population, especially
if the transmissibility of highly dangerous viruses via the human respiratory tract is facilitated
by genetic modification or some other means.
We as scientists are well aware of the importance of the freedom of science and research, but
we nevertheless appeal to all governments in the world to stop such dangerous "gain-of-
function" experiments. The risk of a global pandemic associated with this extreme type of
research and the potential for the extinction of large portions of the world population is simply
not tolerable and never should have been. Additionally we demand that such termination be
supervised and continuously monitored by an independent international regulatory agency.
Regardless of the particular form of constitution and government a country may have, every
leader must act responsibly and contribute not only to the welfare of the population of his or
her own country, but also to that of mankind as a whole. Human beings have learned to
intervene in the basic molecular building blocks of nature; this creates many opportunities to
preserve lives, but also new ways to terminate them accidentally. Let us take this responsibility
seriously before it is too late.
Roland Wiesendanger, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c., Nanoscientist, University of Hamburg, Germany (Organizer)
Hiroshi Arakawa, Dr., Institute of Molecular Oncology, IFOM, Milan, Italy
Ute Bergner, Dr., Physicist, Jena, Germany
Valentin Bruttel, Dr., Immunologist, University of Würzburg, Germany
Colin Butler, Hon. Prof. Dr. Dr., Epidemiologist, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Lounes Chikhi, Dr., Population Geneticist, CNRS, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France
Jean-Michel Claverie, Prof. Dr., Dept. of Medicine, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France
Fabien Colombo, Communication and Sociology of Science, Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France
Malcolm Dando, Prof. Dr., Section of Peace Studies and International Development, University of
Bradford, United Kingdom
Étienne Decroly, Prof. Dr., Member of the Board of Directors of the French Virology Society, CNRS
Director of Research, AFMB lab, UMR7257, Aix Marseille Université, Marseille, France
Gilles Demaneuf, Engineer and Data Scientist, Auckland, New Zealand
Richard Dronskowski, Prof. Dr., Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, RWTH Aachen, Germany
Lucia Dunn, PhD, Professor of Economics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA
Frank Fehrenbach, Prof. Dr., Faculty of Humanities, University of Hamburg, Germany
André Goffinet, Prof. Dr., Neurobiology, University of Louvain, Belgium
Ingrid Gogolin, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult., Department of General, Intercultural and International
Comparative Education & Educational Psychology, University of Hamburg, Germany
Mai He, Prof. Dr., School of Medicine, Washington University, St. Louis, USA
Martina Hentschel, Prof. Dr., Institute of Physics, TU Chemnitz, Germany
Michael Hietschold, Prof. Dr., Institute of Physics, TU Chemnitz, Germany
Burkard Hillebrands, Prof. Dr., Dept. of Physics, TU Kaiserslautern, Germany
Florence Janody, Dr., i3S-Institute for Research and Innovation in Health, University of Porto,
Bernd Kaina, Prof. Dr., Institute of Toxicology, University of Mainz, Germany
Hideki Kakeya, Prof. Dr., School of Science and Technology, University of Tsukuba, Japan
Bernd Kretschmer, Dr. h.c., Physicist, Freiburg i. Brsg., Germany
Franz Kreupl, Prof. Dr., Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, TU Munich, Germany
Jonathan Latham, PhD, Executive Director, The Bioscience Resource Project, Ithaca, New York, USA
Milton Leitenberg, Senior Research Fellow, Center for International and Security Studies, University
of Maryland, USA
Alexander Lerchl, Prof. Dr., Biology and Ethics of Science & Technology, Jacobs University Bremen,
Alexander Lichtenstein, Prof. Dr., I. Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of Hamburg, Germany
Steven Massey, Prof. Dr., Dept. of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Paul-Antoine Miquel, Prof. Dr., Contemporary Biology, Toulouse 2 University, France
Sven-Olaf Moch, Prof. Dr., II. Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of Hamburg, Germany
Michael Morrissey, Dr., Lecturer for English Studies, University of Kassel, Germany
Peter Oppeneer, Prof. Dr., Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University, Sweden
Anja Pistor-Hatam, Prof. Dr., Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Kiel, Germany
Arnaud Pocheville, Dr., CNRS Researcher, Evolution and Biological Diversity Laboratory, Paul Sabatier
University, Toulouse, France
Steven Quay, MD, PhD, Former Facility, Stanford University School of Medicine, USA
Monali Rahalkar, Dr., Microbiologist, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune, India
Bahulikar Rahul, Dr., Plant Genetics and Taxonomy Expert, Development Research Foundation, Pune,
Jürgen Schmitt, Prof. Dr., Dept. of Physics, University of Hamburg, Germany
Nariyoshi Shinomiya, Prof. Dr., President of the National Defense Medical College, Saitama, Japan
Michael Stuke, Prof. Dr., Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany
Günter Theißen, Prof. Dr., Geneticist, University of Jena, Germany
André Thess, Prof. Dr., Engineering Sciences, University of Stuttgart, Germany
Ronny Thomale, Prof. Dr., I. Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of Würzburg, Germany
Michael Thorwart, Prof. Dr., I. Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of Hamburg, Germany
Rémi Tournebize, Dr., Genetics and Human Evolutionary Biology, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência,
Frank Wilhelm, Prof. Dr., Clinical Psychology, University of Salzburg, Austria
Allison Wilson, PhD, Science Director, The Bioscience Resource Project, Ithaca, New York, USA
Michael Winklhofer, Prof. Dr., Institute for Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of