American drugmaker Pfizer said on Friday they have not conducted gain-of-function or directed evolution research during their COVID-19 research, after a rival video posted on Thursday by Project Veritas – a non-profit group – showed an apparent Pfizer executive saying the company had done so.
The video lasts almost 10 minutes, a large part of which showed a person talking about internal operations at Pfizer, which includes "directed evolution" among others.
The person also said COVID-19 is the company's "cash cow," adding that the company is trying to "mutate" the novel coronavirus.
He also warned the person he was talking to, "promise you won't tell anyone."
The video attracted more than 23 million of views on Twitter.
According to Project Veritas, the person is "Jordon Trishton Walker, Pfizer Director of Research and Development, Strategic Operations - mRNA Scientific Planner."
CGTN Digital cannot independently confirm the person's identity by the time we wrote the story.
Pfizer didn't admit or deny if Walker is an employee. They didn't mention the video in their announcement, either.
But James O'Keefe, head of Project Veritas, posted photos and screenshots of what he claimed to be "internal Pfizer documents" showing Walker's position in the company.
In another video posted by Project Veritas on YouTube, the apparently same person grabbed a tablet computer from O'Keefe and smashed it to the ground, after O'Keefe showed the rival video to him with the device.
The video subtitles showed the person saying, "you can't just record people like that."
The person told O'Keefe he "literally lied" in the rival video to impress another person while "on a date."
The YouTube video attracted more than a million views.
If what the person said in the videos is true, some people say, it would be a public relation disaster for Pfizer as many readers would perceive the content as that Pfizer is making new COVID-19 variants in order to sell more vaccines and medicine.
CGTN Digital cannot independently verify the integrity of the two videos by the time this story was published.
Funded mainly by donors, Project Veritas has described itself as a "journalism enterprise" that does investigative reporting to achieve "a more ethical and transparent society." It has also been described by many as a far-right activist group. Many media outlets and non-profits, including the American Civil Liberties Union, do not consider Project Veritas' activities as journalism.
The novel coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic is mutating during transmission among humans, resulting into many variants like Delta and Omicron. The variants, and sub-variants like Omicron XBB 1.5, have brought difficulties to human's effort of controlling the disease, as they can escape immunity from vaccines.