The claim of an exposé, delivered as a speculation

“The Truth About Wuhan: How I Uncovered the Biggest Lie in History” by Andrew G. Huff

First, the claims/hypotheses in this book: “This is the first truth about Wuhan: there is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 naturally emerged.” And “The second truth about Wuhan is that the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 is clearly not all China’s fault.”

The background of the accusations in the book: “The GoF work managed and conducted by EcoHealth Alliance, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and Dr. Ralph Baric at the University of North Carolina, which resulted in the creation of SARS-CoV-2, was the most sophisticated, complex, and complicated GoF research and engineering known to man.” And then “In the proposal, USAID is credited by both American and Chinese researchers listed in the proposal as providing the funding to form the relationship between American and Chinese scientists, and to collect the necessary biological samples from bats to obtain coronaviruses. Without USAID’s funding, the relationship between EHA, the WIV, and UNC would not have occurred, Dr. Baric’s advanced methods and sophisticated biotechnology would not have been transferred to China, and, without USAID’s funding, they would not have collected the first bat coronavirus samples in China.”

And another big accusation: “In 2020, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines received emergency authorization from the FDA under artificial conditions due to the US government’s suppression of other effective treatments. According to FDA regulation, an emergency use authorization is only warranted if “there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.” On February 21, 2021, there was a complete match found between Moderna’s 2016 patent application and the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in humans. This would have been virtually impossible unless the Moderna vaccine from 2016 and the pathogen that emerged in China were co-developed.”

But then the methodology to figure out the truth: “To get to the truth about whether SARS-CoV-2 was leaked or intentionally released, I like to use scenario analysis to determine which scenarios are the most likely. Then, I use qualitative or quantitative methods to make objective comparisons between the scenarios. As before, the first step is developing or imagining all the potential scenarios and trying to eliminate as many as possible with logic.”

Hence, the tl;dr conclusion: The data presented by this book are incredible at a first glance, but if we look closer there are nothing wrong with the data if viewed separately, and only “seems” problematic if we read the narration surrounds it. Hence, this is not a whistleblower exposing what had happened and presents us with the hard evidence. But instead, this is a supposedly insider being suspicious and then speculate on what could have possibly happened. There’s a huge difference between the two. And for a book that have big claims, the author sure uses these words a lot in his narration: “likely”, “I’m guessing”, “I would suspect” and “I feel”, as well as the mother of all sentences in chapter 19: “I have some ideas as to why, but only a formal investigation will provide us with the real reason.”

Now the longer version of the review:

This book promises so many but after screening out the noise, it eventually delivers so little. It was supposed to be a groundbreaking tell-all exposé about one of the main problems in the world right now: the origins of the COVID-19 virus, and who leaked it.

But instead, it took the first 6 chapters (chapter 2-7, after introduction in chapter 1) as a memoir on who Dr. Andrew G. Huff is, which is way too long involving not the relevant information about his background but instead dwelling on his time at school then US military deployments in first Honduras and then in Iraq.

It was only after 26% of the book that it started to tell about the time he worked at EcoHealth Alliance (EHA), a lab that allegedly work together with the Wuhan institute of virology to create SARS-CoV-2. However, instead of getting straight into the scandalous decision makings, Dr. Huff complains about how his co-workers in EHA were all, in his own words, “useful idiots.” And proceeded to rant about the long list of stuff he seems to be keeping inside for quite some time, which had nothing to do with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and a lot to do with the list of personnel and the office politics.

But I still gave the benefit of the doubt, because after all context is king. For example, his US military deployment to Honduras, where he met with spies and narco traffickers, could teach him early on about international politics. A background understanding that would make him well versed when it comes to Wuhan problem. And perhaps the context of working in the EHA environment will provide further clue on the incompetency level in dealing with the deadly new virus. But sadly, if there is a point in all of his rants, it was still buried among the unnecessary stories, even in chapter 11 (out of the total of 22 chapters).

Now, when chapter 12 comes, Dr. Huff is starting to dwell on how EHA is funded, but instead of laying out the precise structure in a concise manner, we get “At the annual charity event that I attended; I was asked to court male billionaires that were gay by Anthony. I am a straight man—not that it matters—but I have been told by gay men, including my friend and former colleague Anthony Ramos, that my fashionable dress attire, personal grooming, and overall appearance causes gay men to find me attractive.” Another wasted space focusing on the wrong side of things.

Indeed, after 50% on the reading progress, this becomes one of those books that instead of telling it straight who are the people involved and what they did / are doing, the author write this instead: “If you take a quick look at the current EHA board of directors and search for their names on an internet search engine, you will find that many of them are part of the ultra-wealthy elite, and many have strong ties to the petrochemical, pharmaceutical, agricultural, and food production industries. Some of these companies have long histories of polluting and destroying the planet; namely putting profits over people.”

But hold on, while he made that bold claim and ask us to search it ourselves in search engine, Dr. Huff then elaborate by saying “You shouldn’t use Google to search due to their involvement in funding EcoHealth, and others have suggested that their search algorithm has been manipulated to information tied to the COVID origin story. Some of these wealthy people were Democrats and some were Republicans. Regardless of party affiliation, I believe that their main concerns in life were maintaining or increasing their wealth.”

Yes, this whole exposé looks like not an exposé after all, but rather an allegation with unclear facts. And as I read on, the book increasingly feels more like of a narcissistic autobiography (70%) wrapped with the promise of an exposé that are in truth looks more like borderline conspiracy theories and suggestive narratives (30%). Seems like a huge opportunity missed here, because he can state that “It is only with these powerful and ultrawealthy donors that EcoHealth had enough funding to remain solvent and create SARS-CoV-2 over a period of roughly six years. From 2014 to 2016, EcoHealth Alliance finally figured out how to obtain large US government contracts” without further elaboration on who exactly the donors are and why is it a crime for them to fund the EHA. Because without further proof that this is actually something wrong, this sentence is only baiting people to think in a conspiracy way.

It wasn’t until chapter 15 that it finally get down to its main topic, with chapter 1-14 can actually be scrapped from the book and chapter 15 can serve as the introduction instead, with all the explanation of US involvement in the research of bioweapons.

Chapter 16-17 are where Dr. Huff really presents his core arguments for this book. In particular this sentence: “These discussions resulted in publications indicating that Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, was working with the CIA, and that the biological agent commonly known as COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) had been in development at EcoHealth Alliance since 2012, and other evidence suggested that SARS-CoV-2 began earlier than 2012. The development of SARS-CoV-2 included several prominent US-based scientists and US academic institutions that received funding from numerous federal government agencies and private non-governmental organizations to complete the gain of function work on SARS-CoV-2.”

Furthermore the list of sequences after the COVID-19 became a pandemic is the closest thing as a hard proof data that looks hard to refute, with Dr. Huff’s conclusion as follows: “In my opinion, many of the people listed in this chapter behaved like a pharmaceutical pseudoscience mafia entrenched in the halls of the medical military industrial complex.”

But that’s just it, his opinion. The book promises to reveal but can only speculate, very convincingly, I must say. But after a second and third glance, the hard data still do not directly linked while the proof-less allegations are treated like facts. Hence, the book remains one of those journalism coverage or documentaries that have existed in the past 3 years, adding only to the noise and not providing a closure to the conspiracies.

And it gets weirder. In chapter 17 Dr. Huff is attempting to figure out how and why the virus was leaked by Wuhan Institute of Virology, through few different possible scenarios and then he guides us one by one to eliminate the possibilities and narrow down the conclusion. Yup, speculation after speculation, while not providing any proof on what happened. If you must know, the nominees include: global corporate greed, attempt to damage president Donald Trump, and an event that he thinks is similar like the Chernobyl incident in Soviet union in 1986 and the “Communist government’s” attempt to hide it.

So, after all of this, the big question remains: is he telling the truth? Chapter 20 serves as a bizarre attempt to validate himself as a whistleblower where he claims to be subjected to illegal psychological operation by the government, in order to shut him up. This includes drones spying above him, series of trespassers, hackers, wiretappings, and cars following him. The chapter itself is 30 pages long, almost 10% out of the total book. So, it must be true then? You know what, after finishing the book, I still don’t know. I guess nobody knows for sure except him.

Because, to be perfectly fair, let’s take a look at the counter-arguments made by the institute that Dr. Huff accuses, the EHA, in response of the book. Read it and judge it yourself.

Carl Sagan once said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. To this regard, he did presents a lot of data, but the data are actually not direct evidences to anything. And instead, he creates a narration around the data to make a calculated speculation. It’s such a pity that he fails to elaborate on these extraordinary claims and fail to back it up with solid and clear evidence. Had he done this, this could be a massive game changer.

And in the end of the day if the intention was to tell the truth, I believe it could’ve been just done through a long article instead of a whole book filled with unnecessary gimmicks. But to his credit he did write an article about this but was rejected for publication in all the leading health policy and health economics journals. I wonder why.