Fact Check: CDC Interim Final Rule Re: Chimeric Viruses Does NOT Confirm COVID-19 Is Man-Made Virus

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: CDC Interim Final Rule Re: Chimeric Viruses Does NOT Confirm COVID-19 Is Man-Made Virus Not Manmade

Does a CDC rule concerning chimeric viruses confirm that COVID-19 is man-made? No, that's not true: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the rule cited by the Hal Turner Radio Show has nothing to do with the origin of SARS-CoV-2.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by the Hal Turner Radio Show website on January 3, 2022, titled "CDC Rule CONFIRMS: SARS-CoV-2 is 'Chimeric Virus' -- made by joining two viruses together to form new organism. It IS Man-Made!" It opens:

The centers for disease Control (CDC) have issued an interim final rule about SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19, which declares the following:

This is what the post looked like on the Hal Turner Radio Show website on January 6, 2022:

Chimeric Virus.png

(Source: Hal Turner Radio Show website screenshot taken on Thu Jan 6 23:58:33 2022 UTC)

The rule cited in the article is part of the CDC's Import Permit Program. This is how the agency's website describes it:

The CDC Import Permit Program, or IPP, regulates the importation of infectious biological materials that could cause disease in humans in order to prevent their introduction and spread into the U.S. The program ensures that the importation of these agents is monitored and that facilities receiving permits have appropriate biosafety measures in place to work with the imported agents.

This is how the IPP works for COVID-19:

COVID-19 Update:

Requesting permits to import Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) requires a CDC Import Permit application to be submitted electronically using the eIPP system (https://eipp.cdc.gov/). Subsequent transfers of previously imported material containing SARS-CoV-2 within the United States also require a CDC import permit.

Permit Required

  • Import isolates or cultures of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Import infectious substances (e.g., blood, bodily fluids, tissues) that are reasonably expected to contain SARS-CoV-2.
  • Import nucleic acids capable of producing SARS-CoV-2 (i.e., full-length genomic RNA extracted from SARS-CoV-2).
  • Samples from experimentally infected animals that were infected with SARS-CoV-2 have not been inactivated or tested negative for the virus.

A permit is required to transfer SARS-CoV-2 materials described above within the United States.

Although the headline for the Hal Turner Radio Show article said the CDC rule confirms the COVID-19 virus is man-made, the federal agency says otherwise. Here's what the CDC said in a January 7, 2022, email to Lead Stories:

CDC's Federal Register Notice (86 FR 64075) published on November 17, 2021 has nothing to do with the origin of SARS-CoV-2. This Notice pertains to laboratories that work with both SARS-CoV and SARS-COV-2 viruses or portions of their genomes, indicating that certain work (i.e., work that involves any deliberate manipulation of SARS-CoV-2 to incorporate nucleic acids coding for SARS-CoV virulence factors or vice versa) is regulated under the federal select agent regulations. For more information, please see the Interim Final Rule, published at https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2021-25204

The CDC rule refers specifically to "SARS-CoV/SARS-CoV-2 chimeric viruses resulting from any deliberate manipulation of SARS-CoV-2." The rule isn't defining SARS (SARS-CoV) or COVID (SARS-CoV-2) as chimeric viruses, but is instead describing the "chimeric viruses resulting from any deliberate manipulation of SARS-CoV-2."

Chimeric viruses can be the result of natural recombination or human intervention in a laboratory, scientists say. To happen in nature, two different viruses must infect the same animal or organism at the same time.

Lead Stories has debunked previous claims that COVID-19 was made in a laboratory. There is no evidence to prove that it was (here and here).

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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