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Thursday, March 08, 2018

5th Estate Exclusive : Kobe University Lab Creates "Novel" H5N1 in "Secret" Lab ; E-mails From Kobe Virologist, "Novel" H5N1-H1N1 Virus Creator Teridah Ernala Ginting

This is the next report in The 5th Estate series on weaponised H5N1 created at Kobe and Tokyo universities by Yoshihiro Kawaoka and his PhD student Teridah Ernala Ginting 

THE 5TH ESTATE
By Robert S. Finnegan
02/14/2012 

During the years of our association, Teridah Ernala seemed - in her own words - to vascilate between being a young, idealistic Indonesian nationalist, and a PhD student who had serious misgivings about her H5N1-H1N1 weaponization work at Kobe University under a crew of individuals that were engauged in criminal activity to include "novel" virus creation and actual espionage for smuggling Indonesian H5N1 samples out of the country.


Nutcase virologists Kawaoka and Teridah Ernala
This confused Indonesian "scientist" through the years of our contact revealed to this reporter the inner-workings of her "secret" lab at Kobe University and a new BSL-3 in Tokyo that was working on H5N1 and H1N1 viruses, among others. Kobe University does NOT officially have a BSL-3 lab, and yet this microbiologist was assigned by her professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka to work on recombinant H5N1 and H1N1 in a "secret" (her words) lab at Kobe University. 


RECAP

Ernala verifies she is working on H1N1 "novel:"

From:
This sender is DomainKeys verified
"Ida - Teridah Ernala" <ida_lutu@yahoo.com>
Add sender to Contacts
To: "Southeast Asia News" <seanews1@yahoo.com>

1. Novel H1N1 is a man-made.

Yes.

In general influenza A virus consists of 8 genes. Influenza virus evolves to be able to adapt to new host. The evolution can happen in several way: by exchanging one or more complete genes (for example avian virus switching gene with human virus), called as reassortment; or only changing partial gene(s), called as recombination.

In the case of novel H1N1, this virus consists 8 genes mixed of avian, swine and human type influenza A virus. So, this is a reassortant virus.

I'll talk about other questions later.

Ida

Here, Ernala outlines her superior Akiko Makino's theft of H5N1 from Indonesia on orders from Kawaoka:

They have samples actually, but no recent human samples since MOH banned the material transfer to other countries. That's why this is very illegal.

I told everything I know to the head of avian influenza lab in TDC Airlangga University, dr Nidom.

After this incident, the relationship between my professor [Kawaoka] and dr Nidom went bad. When got caught, the carrier [Akino Makino] mentioned that the samples were belonging of Airlangga University, but actually no one knew about that.

Now, Indonesia govt blames dr Nidom as the sample 'dealer', condition is not really good for him now. Inn Japan, my professor's telling everyone that dr Nidom tried to trap them at the airport.

I heard lot of things in Japan contrary to what I heard from dr Nidom. Because of this we're exchanging information through mail. My professor doesn't know that we're mailing to each other, we're keeping things this way.

After the incident, my professor became very nice at me. Of course, because they know that I know what's going on exactly. Few days later, they asked me to sign a document, mentioning that I'm a researcher belonging to my supervisor, and every matters between my supervisor and I should be kept confidential. I didn't have any reason not to sign it.

If you want to, I will forward the conversation between Dr Nidom and I. It's in Bahasa Indonesia, but that's the actual story. It's a very long mail, maybe it's pretty difficult for you to understand the whole story but just keep it for your reference.

Ida

PS: you better read the mail from the bottom. You will see how they're desperately want samples.

For your information:

Yoshi sensei - Yoshihiro Kawaoka, my professor. The authority. Everything done by these following two names are for his sake.

Shinya - Kyoko Shinya, my associate professor also my boss in this project. She's always using me and telling lot of lies.

Makino - Akiko Makino, new assistant professor from Tokyo Univ. She carried the illegal samples from Indonesia.

Yamaoka - Masaoki Yamaoka, a Japanese researcher assigned in Indonesia.

Dr Hatta - Shinya got the human samples from dr Hatta, but claimed it as dr Nidom's samples at Surabaya airport.

The below from Ernala confirms espionage by Kawaoka, Ernala and Makino in an e-mail from Dr. Nidom to Kawaoka:

1. The material you handed to Dr Masaoki Yamaoka on August 5th 2009, and then kept in ITD, should have been reported previously to us (at least to the head of ITD). In particular, if the material preceded using ITD’s material and equipment.

2. The materials been brought by Ms. Makino without any supporting document from you, so that Ms Makino and materials could not depart to Japan. Because Ms Makino declared that the materials derived from Airlangga University, she was not arrested and allowed to embark. However the materials are still kept in Juanda airport.

3. We regret the statement of Ms Makino mentioned that the materials came from Airlangga University, and described as zoonotic material. In fact, written statement from Dr Shinya and you mentioned that they were human samples.

4. Regarding to the points above, we require you to come to Surabaya as soon as possible to solve this problem. This is a serious illegal practice related to MTA.

Here, Ernala has her first attack of conscience:

Tuesday, 5 May, 2009 20:35
From:
This sender is DomainKeys verified
"Ida - Teridah Ernala" <ida_lutu@yahoo.com>
Add sender to Contacts
To: seanews1@yahoo.com

Robert,

Do you mind to give me a clue about "a person" that you talked about?

Because, it's a shame for me, but I'm doing reverse genetic technology also in my research. Currently, I'm creating an H1N1 human virus and manipulating the genes to study its transmission capability. For my self, I'm doing this purely for purpose of study. My professor is Yoshihiro Kawaoka, he and Neumann established this technology in 1997. The same technique which Taunberger used to ressurrect 1918 virus.

This whole story made me think about what I am right now.

Ida

I'm working in BSL-2 laboratory, that's the requirement from the government because the original virus was only common H1N1. For H5N1 virus, I'm working in BSL-3 laboratory.

My experiment is confidential (please keep this only for you), no one except my professor and I know this (even we keep it secret from other lab members). Especially after the H1N1 emerged, my work will cause lot of trouble. We will go to the public after everything is set up.

Ida

*   *   *

The emails continue:

Wednesday, 6 May, 2009 01:26
From:
This sender is DomainKeys verified
"Ida - Teridah Ernala" <ida_lutu@yahoo.com>
Add sender to Contacts
To: seanews1@yahoo.com

Hi Robert,

After graduation, IPB developed a collaboration with Japan company to produce H5N1 vaccine based on reverse genetic system. The university offered me the job.

In 2005, Japan part took me to their main factory in Japan. They taught me everything about vaccine production. And then I returned to Indonesia to develop Indonesia factory.

The company didn't work well, we never sell any product because we couldn't get license (complicated story).

In 2007, Japan government granted me scholarship for PhD course. I went to Tottori University to study influenza virus.

In 2008, Kobe University-Airlangga University Avian Influenza Project was established. I was then transferred to Kobe university for the purpose of this project. The project leader is Yoshihiro Kawaoka (professor of Univ Wisconsin-Madison, also Tokyo University and Kobe University).

And here I am.

You see I have very strong background of H5N1, I'm here without no reason. I believe that I will solve the problem in my country. Reading the news from here, always making me want to finish school as soon as possible, to return home, to dedicate my life at home. You know, my family name is Ginting. I'm a Karonese. The family name of Indonesia H5N1 cluster 2006.

Analyse this. How many Indonesian experiencing H5N1 from the first it emerged in Indonesia until now? How many Indonesian studying this virus abroad, under a top flu professor? How about making vaccine, how many Indonesian knows very well how to do that? How many Karonese in Indonesia, and how many Ginting among them?

I don't know if you believe in a Creator. But I do. I believe I have purpose in my life that the Creator's leading me to. That's simply me. If you suspected someone that I know, I better know it. So I know where I'm standing at.

I'm studying the current circulating oseltamivir human H1N1 virus. About 80% human H1N1 is oseltamivir resistant, and increasing by years. This virus transmitted rapidly, without any history of drug use. I used the recent oseltamivir resistant strain and return its genetic characteristic of two genes, HA and NA, into previous virus before it was highly transmissible. I constructed several strains with different mutation and check which mutation in which gene is responsible for this rapid transmission. So far, I haven't tested the virus, only to cell culture. In future I will use human trachea cell line, and animal experiment. This experiment has taken one year up to now, started long before mexico flu emerged. Instead of this experiment, I have some others, and also the works of Indonesia H5N1 in Surabaya lab.

Ida

I tried to find clues of H5N1 prior to 1997. I searched the sequences published at GenBank. There are some birds H5N1 submitted prior 1997, but sometimes H5N1 in birds doesn't cause illness. The the first documented case human report was 1997. I found other reference about 1918 flu, written By Barry http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11150&page=68. I tried to find clues of H5N1 prior to 1997. I searched the sequences published at GenBank. There are some birds H5N1 submitted prior 1997, but sometimes H5N1 in birds doesn't cause illness. The the first documented case human report was 1997. I found other reference about 1918 flu, written By Barry http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11150&page=68. Interestingly, the author named 1918 virus as "1918 virus", he never mentioned it as H1N1. Meanwhile he clearly stated H5N1 or H7N7 when talking about those strains. Interestingly, the author named 1918 virus as "1918 virus", he never mentioned it as H1N1. Meanwhile he clearly stated H5N1 or H7N7 when talking about those strains......

This are some reference of first human H5N1 in Hongkong. It seems the case happened around the December 1997. Some fatal and some recovered........

Currently, I'm creating an H1N1 human virus and manipulating the genes to study its transmission capability. My professor is Yoshihiro Kawaoka, he and Neumann established this technology in 1997. The same technique which Taunberger used to ressurrect 1918 virus.....

You talked about H5N1 right????? I'm answering you about H5N1, Scotland's bird and Guangdong's goose. If you talked about human H5N1, it was started 1997. EVERYONE knows it.

Ida 

*   *   *

Numerous requests for comment from The 5th Estate to officials at Kobe and Tokyo Universities have gone unanswered. 



Robert S. Finnegan is an investigative reporter based in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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