Scientists Present New ‘Roadmap’ for Addressing Future Coronavirus Threats

In late February, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) released their Coronavirus Vaccines R&D Roadmap. The document, compiled by over 50 scientists and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMFG), presents a controversial plan for the future of coronavirus vaccine research.


“The COVID-19 pandemic marks the third time in just 20 years that a coronavirus has emerged to cause a public health crisis,” Prof. Michael Osterholm, director of CIDRAP, said in a press release.

“Rather than waiting for a fourth coronavirus to emerge—or for the arrival of an especially dangerous SARS-CoV-2 variant—we must act now to develop better, longer-lasting, and more broadly protective vaccines,” added Osterholm.

The Roadmap is surprisingly frank in its admission of the limitations of the current COVID vaccines and boosters:

“The limited durability and immunologic protection of currently available SARS-CoV-2 vaccines further highlight the crucial need for a new, proactive approach to develop coronavirus vaccines that provide better and longer protection against both circulating and future SARS-CoV-2 variants and other coronaviruses that have not yet emerged.”

The authors point out that extant strains of SARS-CoV-2 other than COVID have proven far more lethal, such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in 2012, with a case fatality rate of 35 percent.

This rate may be compared with COVID-19’s mortality rate of 1.08 percent, though data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covering the second quarter of 2022 show a mortality rate of fewer than 22 deaths per 100,000 or 0.022 percent.

David Bell, senior scholar at the Brownstone Institute, and a public health physician who previously worked for the World Health Organization, told The Epoch Times in an email, he thinks the Roadmap exaggerates the coronavirus threat:

“Essentially, they are massively inflating a historically minor health issue (two coronavirus outbreaks since 2020—far more people die every year from heart disease in the U.S., or from cancer, and at a younger age, than the highest annual COVID mortality, which is likely two to three times the true rate). Mortality [for these viruses] was historically minimal, about 1/500 of normal annual flu mortality.”

Considering the SARS-CoV-2 threat, the Coronavirus Vaccines R&D Roadmap proposes five areas for intensive research:

  • Virology: Emphasizing the need for further research to “collect, characterize, and share viral information from the full range of wild and captive animal reservoirs worldwide.”
  • Immunology: Focusing on the need to expand the reach and endurance of immunity from vaccines and natural infection.
  • Vaccinology: Developing new vaccine technologies that “expand breadth of coverage, durability of protection, and feasibility of use worldwide, including in low-resource [developing world] settings.”
  • Animal and human infection models: Developing more accurate models for testing vaccine outcomes within animal and human trials.
  • Policy and Financing: Arguing that successful development and widespread availability of broadly protective coronavirus vaccines will require reinvigorating and sustaining a high level of political commitment and investment in vaccine R&D, surveillance, and global manufacturing and distribution.

Fauci’s Admission of Vaccine Deficits

The admissions of the relative failure of the current vaccines were echoed in a paper published in January 2023—with surprisingly little mainstream media coverage—in Cell Host and Microbe. One of whose authors was Dr. Anthony Fauci:

“Attempting to control mucosal respiratory viruses with systemically administered non-replicating vaccines has thus far been largely unsuccessful, indicating that new approaches are needed.”

The paper, co-authored by the recently retired director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, further admits the relative failure of flu vaccines over the last several decades and suggests the COVID vaccines, thus far, are suffering a similar fate:

“As of 2022, after more than 60 years of experience with influenza vaccines, very little improvement in vaccine prevention of infection has been noted. As pointed out decades ago, and still true today, the rates of effectiveness of our best approved influenza vaccines would be inadequate for licensure for most other vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Even decades-long efforts to develop better, so-called ‘universal’ influenza vaccines—vaccines that would create more broadly protective immunity, preferably lasting over longer time periods—have not yet resulted in next-generation, broadly protective vaccines …

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the rapid development and deployment of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines has saved innumerable lives and helped to achieve early partial pandemic control. However, as variant SARS-CoV-2 strains have emerged, deficiencies in these vaccines reminiscent of influenza vaccines have become apparent.”

Nonetheless, Fauci and his co-authors promote developing next-generation vaccines against these viruses, in consideration of several variables such as vaccine antigen configuration, dosing, route and timing of vaccination, vaccine boosting, adjunctive therapies, and options for public health vaccination policies.

It’s worth noting that the paper also points out that against respiratory viruses, live virus-based vaccines have been the most effective, but they have been de-emphasized due to “expense, potential safety, and adapting to antigen drift.” The paper calls for more research into this class of vaccines.

The current COVID shots based on mRNA or adenoviral technology do not use live viruses in any form. 

Critics Underline the Failures of the Pandemic Policy

Dr. Meryl Nass, vaccine expert and frequent critic of the COVID-19 vaccines, finds the University of Minnesota Roadmap to be a thoroughly compromised document, based on false assumptions and financial incentives.

Summarizing the document for The Epoch Times, Nass pointed out that it assumes that the source of COVID-19 was a spillover from zoonotic reservoirs, even though statements by governmental departments, such as the Department of Energy and the State Department, as well as a growing body of independent experts, suggests that a Wuhan lab leak is the more likely culprit.

Nass notes that the document, whose contributors include a host of researchers already heavily involved in the research and development of the current COVID vaccines, predictably calls for major financial investments to support more research and development along the same lines.

“The bottom line for them is the money,” wrote Nass.

In addition to the BMGF, the report received funding from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention Institute.  The Foundation notes in a press release that the authors included “fifty-three leading scholars and experts—including six of President Biden’s sixteen-member COVID-19 Advisory Board, advisors to Democratic and Republican presidents, and some of the world’s leading infectious disease researchers.”

pre-pandemic study from the Global Policy Forum, “Philanthropic Power and Development: Who Shapes the Agenda?,”  noted the increasingly influential rise of both BMFG and the Rockefeller Foundation in setting global health policy:

“Through their multiple channels of influence, the Rockefeller and Gates foundations have been very successful in promoting their market-based and bio-medical approaches towards global health challenges in the research and health policy community—and beyond.”

The report also questions the Gates foundation’s substantial investments in companies like Monsanto and Bayer.

“In addition to its grant-making activities,” the report states, “the Gates foundation has recently stepped up its support for the biotechnological industry directly.” In 2015, the foundation took a $52m equity stake in CureVac, a German bio-pharmaceutical company.

Nass said that until the financial relationship between these philanthropic powerhouses,  researchers and the pharmaceutical industry is untangled, such roadmaps must be considered suspect when it comes to providing safer and more effective vaccines.

Bell in an email to The Epoch Times agreed:

“This [roadmap], like most research, is driven by money. Health scientists generally do what their sponsors want—otherwise, they have no job. Sometimes their sponsors may be trying to do some broad good—usually they are trying to make a profit. Occasionally those two aims coincide, but usually, it’s about making a profit. Scientists exaggerate need, or avoid relevant context, because this pleases their sponsors and helps gain future funding, and because they need to justify what they are doing to themselves.”

“If we were really trying to reduce deaths from coronavirus outbreaks,” he added, “the first priority would be to improve population health and fitness since immune competency (absence of obesity and metabolic syndrome, adequate vitamin D and micronutrient levels, etc.) is probably the most important survival factor for COVID-19, after age. This also has broader societal benefits, rather than the negative impacts of wealth concentration seen through the over-emphasis on vaccination to address COVID.”

About the Author: David Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a freelance journalist who has also taught literature and writing at the college level for 25 years. In addition to The Epoch Times, his work has appeared in The Defender, Medium, and other online and print platforms. A staunch advocate for medical freedom, he lives and works in Pasadena, California.



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