In Search for a Lost Virus

Helena Dearnell
15 min readJul 17, 2020


RNA Strands in a Microscope

Do you remember the pandemic of 2003, Coronavirus SARS COV-1? 2003 seems far away, but I think it would be very clear in our minds if our lives and economies had been disrupted and our brains filled with fear like it is happening now. Instead of a pandemic, the event that was salient in 2003 was the Iraq war that started in March. I was in New York and I remember going to the anti-Iraq war march in Manhattan; according to the WHO and CDC, we were in the middle of a novel Coronavirus SARS COV-1 or COVID 03 pandemic, but nobody was wearing a mask or observing social distancing. The police couldn’t have cared less; they were more interested in crowd control. What about the US military? Troops were deployed to Iraq and the media never reported anything about how the Pentagon’s generals were worried about the toll COVID 03 would have on the troops. The media was full of reports of the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the bombing of Iraq, but the screens never flashed with the numbers of new COVID 03 cases or an alarming mortality rate.

In 2009 we had another pandemic that we weren’t aware of, this time the culprit was the H1N1 influenza virus or swine flu. This pandemic is important because it was the year when the World Health Organization relaxed the criteria for declaring a level 6 pandemic, deleting the “severity of illness” requirement. Since then, it has been easier to declare a global pandemic, the severity of symptoms, and the mortality rate don’t matter anymore. This has been a boon for the pharmaceutical companies, who thanks to the WHO’s new guidelines, can make greater profits by selling more vaccines and drugs to governments than on a normal year.

With this precedent of pandemics in the 21st century in mind, we forward the clock to 2020 when the WHO declared an Emergency of International concern on January 30th, baptized the supposed novel virus Coronavirus SARS COV-2, or COVID 19, and declared a pandemic on March 12. The naming of the virus implies that the 2019 one is the follower of the 2003 virus and they both produce SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

Since these two viruses are related, COVID 03 is useful to put COVID 19 in context. In 2003 the WHO declared the pandemic asserting there was a novel Coronavirus responsible for a new disease called SARS. To elucidate the truth in this assertion it is useful to put all respiratory illnesses in context and understand a bit about the virus. Though we usually don’t hear much about these viruses, they nevertheless appear every year during the flu season and form part of the yearly cocktail. According to the epidemiology lab at Health Protection Scotland in Glasgow, coronaviruses conform 5 to 15% of the viral mix, causing respiratory illnesses in the winter months, mostly in the spring. It is an RNA virus, just like the flu, which means it is quite unstable. It also, just like the flu, spreads from person to person in an aerosolized fashion.

According to the CDC and the WHO, the onset of the SARS COVID 1 and 2 is characterized by cold-like symptoms that include upper and lower respiratory problems, the same as for Influenza, pneumonia, or bronchitis. Once you get a fever, it is no longer a cold and if the symptoms remain in the nose, throat, and lungs it can be influenza. But once the symptoms are limited to the lungs, it can be pneumonia or any of the respiratory infections caused by a myriad of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and, according to the WHO, the novel SARS. The symptoms of pneumonia and other respiratory infection are quite similar and when the respiratory trouble becomes severe, patients can develop ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome).

What is very strange is that the symptoms corresponding to ARDS until 2003 were suddenly changed to SARS by the WHO for the COVID 03 pandemic. If we compare the symptoms of ARDS and SARS, they are almost identical; they cause high mortality in the elderly, critically or chronically ill. They both cause shortness of breath, cough, fever, and aches. In your lungs, they produce fluid build-up in the alveoli making the patient feel as though they don’t have enough oxygen. If very severe, the conditions can deprive the organs of oxygen and some patients may need ventilators. The survivors often present scarring of the lungs and difficulty breathing.

If these two diseases have very similar symptoms and results, why did the WHO call it a ‘novel’ disease produced by a ‘new’ Coronavirus in 2003? A July 16th, 2003 article on the JAMA network, a set of journals published by the American Medical Association, titled “Is SARS just ARDS?” explains how there is no difference whatsoever. The article describes the case of a woman who arrived at a hospital with cold and bronchitis symptoms, was sent home, but a few days later returned with high respiratory distress or ARDS symptoms. The doctors labeled the disease as ARDS as they had always done, but were surprised when they were told that it had to be labeled instead as a new disease, SARS. The only difference was that the woman had been to Hong Kong a few weeks before. See the article at:

If two diseases have similar symptoms and outcomes, they are the same disease. The only difference here is a change in acronyms from ARDS to SARS and the addition of the label ‘novel’. The WHO called it a novel disease in 2003 and declared a pandemic, but the response to this first Coronavirus was very different: extensive testing was discouraged, arguing that it was only needed in clinical settings in the few countries affected (Guangdong, China, Korea and Hong Kong); travel restrictions to these areas were imposed as were the quarantine of patients for 10 days, plus the common sense hygiene rules like washing hands and covering your nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing. The world’s institutions’ very different response to two viruses that follow each other and are supposed to cause the same disease creates problems for the logic of the status quo narrative. This is especially salient if you notice that SARS COV-1 in 2003 only had 774 deaths, while the current COV-2 has thousands of deaths even if most of the world was put under lockdown, quarantining everyone, stopping work and travel, and forcing people to wear masks.

The most evident difference is the fear campaign that we have been bombarded with, the mind-numbing repetition of frightening pictures, videos, and articles that accompanied COV-2, but were completely absent during COV-1. The difference in the number of cases reflects the WHO’s difference of policy (very limited testing in 2003), but the difference in mortality betrays another big problem with the logic of the narrative related to both viruses, SARS COV-1 and COV-2.

This status quo narrative breaks down not only when we find that SARS is not a new illness, but when we question the truthfulness of their assertions about the virus. If COVID 19 is a new Coronavirus, the standard epidemiological procedure requires that the virus be isolated and purified. Purification of the virus means it must be separated from all other pathogens so that it can then be re-injected in a host to prove it produces the disease associated with it. If you don’t have the purified virus, you can’t prove with any certainty that it is that virus that causes the illness, the culprits could be many other pathogens.

The standard postulates for proving the existence of a novel pathogen were developed by 19th-Century German epidemiologist Robert Koch. His four postulates have changed over time and they were revised by epidemiologist T.M. Rivers in 1937. I will use Koch’s postulates as a base to test the status quo assertions and add comments or additions by Rivers when needed.

1. Pathogens must exist in all organisms with the disease, but not in healthy organisms.

a. To prove this, first, you have to establish a set of well-defined symptoms for the disease that would distinguish this virus from the rest. In this case, this is impossible, since the symptoms coincide with many other respiratory seasonal illnesses caused by both bacteria and viruses that can all evolve into the most severe cases of ARDS or SARS.

b. Rivers changed this postulate to only require that the pathogen is not present in healthy people. As the media has reported widely, almost 80% of the positive cases in 2020 are asymptomatic, especially among the young and healthy. As for the outbreak in 2003, it is difficult to prove, since very few people were tested; still, the mortality was so low, it is evident that if there was a new virus responsible, most people were asymptomatic too.

c. In conclusion, Koch and River’s postulate 1 was not met for COVID 1 or 2.

2. Pathogen can be isolated in the organism and grown in pure culture.

a. The correct procedure for the isolation and purification of a virus is as follows:

Correct Procedure for the Isolation and Purifying of a Virus

b. The successful isolation of the pathogen is the basis for creating a golden standard that can then be used to develop tests for it. Without this golden standard, you can’t prove the relation of the virus to any specific disease, and any test developed will be quite meaningless. Without a reliable test, the case number also becomes senseless.

c. Unfortunately, there was no isolation of COV-1 nor COV-2 that has followed the correct procedure as outlined in the graphic above. Instead, all the claims for a new virus are based on the PCR (Polymerase chain reaction), procedure invented by Kary Mullen in 1983. The PCR probe was designed as a manufacturing technique to amplify DNA and RNA sequences, but not to detect viruses, according to its inventor. Regrettably, in this new fashion in epidemiology, the PCR probe is used not just to find the supposed gold standard for the virus, but also as the test for COVID 1 and 2. Needless to say, it is not scientifically sound to use the same PCR probe as both gold standard and test.

d. The following PCR procedure was used by most papers to prove the existence of COV-1 and COV-2 and is outlined below:

PCR Probe Method for Virus Detection

e. Continuing with the second part of point 2 of Koch postulates, the purified pathogen, should then be grown in pure culture. Viruses can’t be cultured because they are technically not alive; they can’t reproduce by themselves nor manufacture their proteins. Instead, they have to be introduced into a living host to see if it grows. I will outline here some of the key papers used to declare SARS COVID 1 or COVID 03 a new virus and link it to a new SARS. All the researchers used the PCR method outlined above:

These papers claimed to prove the existence of COV-1 as a cause for SARS, but none found a Coronavirus.

f. In sum, the above papers and many others were used as the basis to prove the existence of a Coronavirus that produced SARS in 2003, though they couldn’t even find the virus; only bacteria, other viruses, and RNA sequences that could not even approximately be compared to a Coronavirus. Koch’s postulate 2 was not proven. The papers for COV-2 will come later.

3. Cultivated pathogen should cause disease when reintroduced into a healthy organism.

a. The lack of the successful isolation and purification of a Coronavirus related to SARS precludes any possibility of proving this postulate. It is impossible to link a disease to a non-purified virus, the symptoms could be the result of other viruses or bacteria.

b. A Nature paper called “Koch’s Postulates Fulfilled for SARS Virus”, published on May 15, 2003, claimed it on the title but didn’t provide proof in the article. They followed the PCR probe method, which means they didn’t isolate the real virus, just some RNA. The RNA was then reintroduced into two monkeys, one had mild respiratory symptoms, and the other one had a rash on his skin and different lung pathology; neither had SARS.

4. The pathogen must be re-isolated from the inoculated host and identified as identical to the original.

a. Another postulate impossible to prove if you haven’t isolated the real virus.

b. The PCR probe used is very sensitive and can find a great variety of DNA and RNA strands, but can’t determine where they came from. The test must be calibrated with a preconceived idea, in this case, an RNA virus since the researches thought it was a Coronavirus. Without the real virus, there is no gold standard virus to compare to.

c. This is why many countries have experienced wild differences in testing results. For example, Singapore tested 18 patients daily for a week, sometimes even many times during the same day. predictably, the test results varied from positive to negative and back within even the same day.

5. Proof of Filterability:

This is an extra postulate created by Rivers that Koch didn’t include. None of the papers above were able to prove filterability, which means that you can use a sieve to purify the sample and ease the identification of a possible pathogen.

6. Detection of a specific response to the virus:

The last of River’s postulates that could not be fulfilled either. Once again, without the purified virus, any response can’t be attributed to just one virus.

Though the above papers and many others more have claimed to have fulfilled Koch and Rivers postulates for Coronavirus SARS COV-2 in 2003, it is evident that it remains just a claim in the title of the article, not a proven fact in the article itself. These claims have been used to set a credible basis for COVID 19, but if you look closely, they have no proof.


Now I continue with the grand entrance of the star of the show of all pandemics: Coronavirus, SARS COV-2 COVID 19, the follower of SARS COV-1 COVID 03. The inability to purify and isolate the real virus in 2003 means the same for COV-2 since as we will see, the experts used the same PCR probes as for COV-1,with the same inconclusive results. In 2020, the WHO and CDC called SARS a new disease even though they had called it a new disease already in 2003.

I am going to dissect a little bit the present claims for COV-2, the follower of the one they couldn’t find. As we saw with COV-1, if you can’t purify the virus, you can’t prove Koch’s or Rivers’ postulates.

COVID 19 was reported first in Wuhan China at the end of 2019 and by 15 January 2020, Dr. Christopher Drosten from Charite Clinic in Berlin had the PCR test ready for this supposedly new virus. This expedient test was then used by the WHO as the standard for this pandemic. Dr. Drosten was one of the experts who was unable to isolate and purify COV-1 in 2003, finding instead only paramyxoviruses.

Dr. Drosten claimed he had followed the correct procedure for the test, meaning that he had isolated the virus, but when a group of epidemiologists sent him a letter asking if he had isolated and purified the virus to use as the golden standard for his test, he didn’t reply. He finally answered on June 18th, after being prodded into complying by Viviane Fischer, a lawyer hired by the scientists. His response was very predictable: No; once again, Dr. Drosten only had strands of RNA from the PCR probe that were construed as a possible coronavirus, responsible for this new SARS.

Below are some sample studies used by the world institutions to prove the existence of COV-2 and associate it with SARS.

Three examples of studies used to prove the association between a virus that wasn’t even isolated to an old disease labeled as new.

The above papers plus many others boast about finding the COVID 19 virus that can be linked to SARS, but none proves the direct association. Kim’s paper (*Osange Public Health Journal of the Korea CDC) is the boldest. Kim claims a strong link between COVID 19 and SARS in the introduction but bases his assertions not on his findings, but on another paper that doesn’t prove it. Kim then concludes with an admission of a complete lack of causative proof, no link between the RNA he found and SARS.

I will dissect a bit more another important study that also claims to have isolated COVID 19. It was published by The Lancet on January 29th, 2020 and it was called: “Genomic characterization and epidemiology of 2019 novel coronavirus implications for virus origins and receptor binding” by Roujian Lu, Xiang Zhao et al.

The samples of nine patients with pneumonia from Wuhan, China were put in cell culture and checked for cytopathic effects with a light microscope, meaning they looked to see if any virus had changed the structure of the cells. They then did the RNA amplification in the PCR probe and found RNA strands that they tried to study in an evolutionary and epidemiological way by comparing it with the samples of COV-1, MERS, and other respiratory viruses.

Though they don’t admit it, it is clear even from the title that they never isolated the virus using the correct method that I outlined above, so just like with COV-1, they didn’t have a gold standard to compare with their samples.

Their first conclusion stated that the 9 patients had very similar RNA strands and inferred that the RNA was the cause of their illness. As they pointed out themselves, the patients had pneumonia which can be caused by various viruses and bacteria so there was a high probability for finding very similar RNA strands among the samples. Pneumonia isn’t either a weird new disease that can be attributed to a new virus. In reality, they didn’t prove the existence of a new virus linked to any new illness.

In another conclusion, the authors claimed to have proof of COVID 19 as a new virus because it differed by 21% from COVID 03. As we proved above, COV-1 wasn’t isolated nor purified, so their comparison was limited to the RNA strands that experts found in patients from Guangzhou, China in 2003 to the RNA strands that the authors found in Wuhan China in 2020. This constitutes no proof of a new virus that causes a new disease. The authors spent a lot of time going around the issue and claiming a non-existent proof.

The mountain of papers claiming proof of COVID 19 as a new disease caused by a new virus all repeats the same procedure, without noticing the elephant in the room, nobody has purified the real virus. Some papers dare to claim success in the proof, the majority admit only finding a possible association, which isn’t the same as causation. The burden of proof is much higher for causation and most papers didn’t even do a good job at proving association, much less causation.

Choosing to associate certain strands of RNA to pneumonia and claiming it is a new virus and a new disease doesn’t constitute scientific proof. This is more evident when the WHO, CDC, and FDA correctly advise that a positive result of the COVID 19 test doesn’t rule out other viral or bacterial infections. The same institutions that have proclaimed this new virus accept that since the virus hasn’t been purified, the attribution of the symptoms to it remains elusive.

The graphic below shows four papers. among many, that claim the isolation of the virus and proof of its causative properties, but admit failure in the conclusions.

Example of Papers claiming to have isolated COVID 19 virus, but concluding the opposite.

In conclusion, our search for a new virus that causes a novel disease has been fruitless. We only find tons of papers claiming proof that they can’t back with their research. The mental and physical health of most people in the world has been affected, their economic prospects put in doubt, countries are burdened with debt, unemployment, and soaring poverty. All this disaster was caused by a fear campaign that transformed our fellow humans from providers of social contact and happiness to vectors of a misunderstood virus that hasn’t even been proven to exist.

People do die of respiratory infections every year; according to the Respiratory Infection Atlas published by the World Lung Foundation, acute respiratory infections caused by viruses like influenza, syncytial, paramyxoviruses, and coronaviruses cause the death of 4.25 million people every year. Many of those infections become severe enough for the patient to present ARDS or SARS and some end up dying.

The difference this year is the constant bombardment of images, articles, and reports about the deaths and cases, used to create fear. How many articles have been written claiming fluid in the alveoli and scarring of the lungs as completely new symptoms, of damages to blood cells and the brain that have not been proven? More than you could count. People have been frightened into thinking the lethal virus is everywhere, and even more frightening, it is aerosolized; images of deadly droplets from fellow humans at the beach, while jogging or even going to the restroom, as though this didn’t happen every year with the good old flu.

It is difficult to understand what is the purpose of this farce, all I know is that fear is a very bad advisor to the rational potential of the mind. I completely agree with President Franklyn D. Roosevelt when he said that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. This implies that we should also question any institutional and governmental strategy that is based on fear.