A longtime research partner of Dr. Ralph Baric – a Wuhan Institute of Virology collaborator who’s advised on how to “make money” from pandemics – remains on the Lancet journal’s COVID-19 commission.
Dr. Timothy Sheahan’s position on the Vaccines and Therapeutics committee of the Lancet task force, which recently recused EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak, represents yet another conflict of interest for the Chinese Communist Party-linked commission.
Sheahan has worked alongside Baric for nearly two decades, including working at his lab while in graduate school and later teaching at the same institution: the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health.
“In 2003, he came to UNC Chapel Hill for graduate school joining the laboratory of Ralph Baric to study how the recently emerged SARS coronavirus had jumped from wild animals into humans,” Sheahan’s bio notes. After working for pharmaceutical industry giants such as GlaxoSmithKline, Sheahan returned to UNC to serve as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, where Baric also teaches and conducts “gain-of-function” research with his “longtime collaborators” at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“Long before the novel coronavirus began its spread across the world, Ralph Baric and Timothy Sheahan were suiting up in full-body protective equipment,” a profile on the researchers notes. The October 2020 article documents the pair’s robust collaboration on coronavirus research and joint “partnerships” with pharmaceutical companies:
Sheahan has been interested in coronaviruses for a long time as well. The 2002 SARS outbreak caught his attention while working as a lab technician at Harvard Medical School and Mass General Hospital. At the time, he’d already been researching graduate schools and soon stumbled across the Baric Lab. He began working there as a Ph.D. student in 2003. Now an assistant professor, Sheahan continues to collaborate with Baric, studying coronaviruses and, specifically, striving to create vaccines and drugs to stop them.
Thanks to a partnership with biotech company Gilead Sciences, Baric and Sheahan were already testing a drug to combat coronavirus replication before the one that causes COVID-19 hit the world. Remdesivir was first used as an antiviral to treat patients with Ebola virus, and it was Sheahan and Baric who discovered that it could also work against all coronaviruses they tested, including SARS-CoV-2. Their studies supported the use of remdesivir in the first U.S. COVID-19 patient.
Beyond Sheahan’s ties to the pharmaceutical industry appearing to pose a conflict of interest, his longstanding relationship with Baric also calls into question his role on the Lancet committee.
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The National Pulse unearthed video of Baric lecturing conference attendees on how to “make money in the next pandemic.” Speaking over a slide labeled “Global Catastrophe: Opportunities Exist,” Baric details stocks and industries that surged during the Ebola outbreak:
“I wanted to give you good news. There are winners out there, right? So if you ever want to be prepared and make money in the next pandemic, if that’s what you want to do, buy stock in Hazmat suit makers and protective clothing or companies that make antiviral drugs for that particular pandemic.”
“Some products do well. 1918 including masks, same thing today,” he advises in the 2018 speech.
Baric also posits that “pandemics really are times of opportunity” before reiterating “there is an opportunity for people to have political gain, financial gain, and personal gain during times of social upheaval, and that will probably occur.”