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Thread: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

  1. #81

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Coronavirus: Italian scientists find perfect match of Wuhan strain in sample taken from boy


    • Discovery made after researchers in Milan review blood tests taken in late 2019 from group of children initially thought to have contracted measles
    • Findings ‘advance the beginning of the outbreak to late autumn 2019’, lead scientist says



    Source: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/scie...h-wuhan-strain

    Now that it's been proven conclusively that COVID-19 was circulating in Europe prior to the cases in Wuhan, China are we going to see the death of this stupid QAnon "Chinese bioweapon" conspiracy theory?

    I don't think so, purely because white supremacists racists in the West need the pandemic to have a chinese origin to support their desired new cold and race war against China.

  2. #82
    pchalk's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Exarch View Post
    COVID-19 is the result of US bioweapons research which they released into China in the hopes of preventing China's surpassing of the United States (irreversible at this moment), or careless mishandling of US bioweapons at Fort Derrick, especially since COVID was discovered to predate the strains in Wuhan.
    What's your source on this? I can see some sort of lab accident. But the intentional release of such a virus from any side, not least the US, does not strike me as believable.

  3. #83

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    The claim regarding early circulation in Italy is based on a poorly designed study employing a methodology that produces a lot of false positives. For obvious reasons, such as the fact that it runs counter to all other streams of evidence, the claim isn't gaining much traction beyond the first round of attention grabbing headlines. Here is a more detailed explanation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


  4. #84

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by pchalk View Post
    What's your source on this? I can see some sort of lab accident. But the intentional release of such a virus from any side, not least the US, does not strike me as believable.
    His source is his embarrassment that China is a fascist dictatorship, leading him to indulgence in make-believe as an escape. The Politburo only even acknowledged the existence of Covid when it became too big to cover up, were willing to sacrifice their citizen's lives by the millions to avoid looking less than perfect, and even now their only thought is punishing those who dared contradict them.

    Chinese journalist receives four-year sentence over coronavirus reports

    A citizen journalist who reported from Wuhan at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in China was sentenced to four years in prison on Monday.
    Zhang Zhan, 37, was found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” according to multiple reports. Her closed-door trial lasted less than three hours.
    The charge is regularly used by the Chinese government against human rights activists and other dissidents.
    Zhang traveled to Wuhan in February and filmed hospitals, neighborhoods and more as the city locked down during its initial outbreak of COVID-19. Her reporting accused the government of failing to inform citizens about the pandemic’s reality.
    Last edited by Aexodus; December 30, 2020 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Off topic

  5. #85
    Ludicus's Avatar Vicarius Provinciae
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    The hunt for the origin of the SARS-COV-19
    Coronaviruses closely related to the pandemic virus ... - Nature


    ...are the first SARS-CoV-2 relatives to be found outside China.
    The viruses are the first known relatives of SARS-CoV-2 to be found outside China, which supports the World Health Organization’s search across Asia for the pandemic’s animal origin. Strong evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 originated in horseshoe bats, but whether it passed directly from bats to people, or through an intermediate host, remains a mystery.
    In April, the US Agency for International Development gave the programme an additional US$3 million and a 6-month extension to look for evidence of SARS-CoV-2 in animal samples — mostly bats, as well as pangolins and other animals — that were sitting in laboratory freezers in Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. A full report of these investigations is expected in the coming weeks
    Il y a quelque chose de pire que d'avoir une âme perverse. C’est d'avoir une âme habituée
    Charles Péguy

    Every human society must justify its inequalities: reasons must be found because, without them, the whole political and social edifice is in danger of collapsing”.
    Thomas Piketty

  6. #86

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludicus View Post
    The hunt for the origin of the SARS-COV-19
    Coronaviruses closely related to the pandemic virus ... - Nature
    Something interesting could come out of that.

    In other news:

    Quote Originally Posted by Associated Press News
    MOJIANG, China (AP) — Deep in the lush mountain valleys of southern China lies the entrance to a mine shaft that once harbored bats with the closest known relative of the COVID-19 virus.

    The area is of intense scientific interest because it may hold clues to the origins of the coronavirus that has killed more than 1.7 million people worldwide. Yet for scientists and journalists, it has become a black hole of no information because of political sensitivity and secrecy.

    A bat research team visiting recently managed to take samples but had them confiscated, two people familiar with the matter said. Specialists in coronaviruses have been ordered not to speak to the press. And a team of Associated Press journalists was tailed by plainclothes police in multiple cars who blocked access to roads and sites in late November.

    More than a year since the first known person was infected with the coronavirus, an AP investigation shows the Chinese government is strictly controlling all research into its origins, clamping down on some while actively promoting fringe theories that it could have come from outside China.

    The government is handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to scientists researching the virus’ origins in southern China and affiliated with the military, the AP has found. But it is monitoring their findings and mandating that the publication of any data or research must be approved by a new task force managed by China’s cabinet, under direct orders from President Xi Jinping, according to internal documents obtained by the AP. A rare leak from within the government, the dozens of pages of unpublished documents confirm what many have long suspected: The clampdown comes from the top.

    As a result, very little has been made public. Authorities are severely limiting information and impeding cooperation with international scientists.

    “What did they find?” asked Gregory Gray, a Duke University epidemiologist who oversees a lab in China studying the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to people. “Maybe their data were not conclusive, or maybe they suppressed the data for some political reason. I don’t know … I wish I did.”

    The AP investigation was based on dozens of interviews with Chinese and foreign scientists and officials, along with public notices, leaked emails, internal data and the documents from China’s cabinet and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It reveals a pattern of government secrecy and top-down control that has been evident throughout the pandemic.

    As the AP previously documented, this culture has delayed warnings about the pandemic, blocked the sharing of information with the World Health Organization and hampered early testing. Scientists familiar with China’s public health system say the same practices apply to sensitive research.

    “They only select people they can trust, those that they can control,” said a public health expert who works regularly with the China CDC, declining to be identified out of fear of retribution. “Military teams and others are working hard on this, but whether it gets published all depends on the outcome.”...

    Research into COVID-19’s origins is critical to the prevention of future pandemics. Although a World Health Organization international team plans to visit China in early January to investigate what started the pandemic, its members and agenda had to be approved by China.

    Some public health experts warn that China’s refusal to grant further access to international scientists has jeopardized the global collaboration that pinpointed the source of the SARS outbreak nearly two decades ago. Jonna Mazet, a founding executive director of the UC Davis One Health Institute, said the lack of collaboration between Chinese and U.S. scientists was “a disappointment” and the inability of American scientists to work in China “devastating.”...

    “The regulations are very strict, and they don’t make any sense,” said a former China CDC deputy director, who declined to be named because they were told not to speak to the media. “I think it’s political, because people overseas could find things being said there that might contradict what China says, so it’s all being controlled.”...

    Particularly sensitive is the mine shaft where the closest relative of the COVID-19 virus — called “RaTG13” — was found.

    RaTG13 was discovered after an outbreak in 2012, when six men cleaning the bat-filled shaft fell ill with mysterious bouts of pneumonia, killing three. The Wuhan Institute of Virology and the China CDC both studied bat coronaviruses from this shaft. And although most scientists believe the COVID-19 virus had its origins in nature, some say it or a close relative could have been transported to Wuhan and leaked by mistake.

    Wuhan Institute of Virology bat expert Shi Zhengli has repeatedly denied this theory, but Chinese authorities haven’t yet allowed foreign scientists in to investigate...

    Even as they controlled research within China, Chinese authorities promoted theories that suggested the virus came from elsewhere.

    The government gave Bi Yuhai, the Chinese Academy of Sciences scientist tapped to spearhead origins research, a 1.5 million RMB grant ($230,000), records show. A paper co-authored by Bi suggested an outbreak in a Beijing market in June could have been caused by packages of contaminated frozen fish from Europe...

    And in the last few weeks, Chinese state media has taken out of context research from a German scientist, interpreting it to suggest that the pandemic began in Italy. The scientist, Alexander Kekule, director of the Institute for Biosecurity Research, has said repeatedly that he believes the virus first emerged in China.

    Internal documents show that various government bodies also sponsored studies on the possible role of the Southeast Asian pangolin, a scaly anteater once prized in traditional Chinese medicine, as an intermediary animal host. Within the span of three days in February, Chinese scientists put out four separate papers on coronaviruses related to COVID-19 in trafficked Malayan pangolins from Southeast Asia seized by customs officials in Guangdong.
    They tried to pass these off as separate studies, but they appear to have all been using the same samples...

    Quote Originally Posted by Associated Press News
    The Chinese government is also limiting and controlling the search for patient zero through the re-testing of old flu samples.

    Chinese hospitals collect thousands of samples from patients with flu-like symptoms every week and store them in freezers. They could easily be tested again for COVID-19, although politics could then determine whether the results are made public, said Ray Yip, the founding director of the U.S. CDC office in China.

    “They’d be crazy not to do it,” Yip said. “The political leadership will wait for that information to see, does this information make China look stupid or not? ... If it makes China look stupid, they won’t.”

    In the U.S., CDC officials long ago tested roughly 11,000 early samples collected under the flu surveillance program since Jan. 1. And in Italy, researchers recently found a boy who had fallen ill in November 2019 and later tested positive for the coronavirus.

    But in China, scientists have only published retrospective testing data from two Wuhan flu surveillance hospitals — out of at least 18 in Hubei province alone and well over 500 across the country. The data includes just 520 samples out of the 330,000 collected in China last year.

    These enormous gaps in the research aren’t due just to a lack of testing but also to a lack of transparency. Internal data obtained by the AP shows that by Feb. 6, the Hubei CDC had tested over 100 samples in Huanggang, a city southeast of Wuhan. But the results have not been made public.

    The little information that has dribbled out suggests the virus was circulating well outside Wuhan in 2019 — a finding that could raise awkward questions for Chinese officials about their early handling of the outbreak. Chinese researchers found that a child over a hundred kilometers from Wuhan had fallen ill with the virus by Jan. 2, suggesting it was spreading widely in December. But earlier samples weren’t tested, according to a scientist with direct knowledge of the study.

    “There was a very deliberate choice of the time period to study, because going too early could have been too sensitive,” said the scientist, who declined to be named out of fear of retribution.
    The tone of mainstream reporting on this issue seems to have really changed now that Trump has become irrelevant.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


  7. #87
    Ludicus's Avatar Vicarius Provinciae
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    I’m aware that prestigious journals chiefly Nature, Cell and Science are under attack. The usual haters aren’t going to be happy,
    Nature's 10: ten people who helped shape science in 2020

    I quote,

    "The Nature’s 10 list explores key developments in science this year and some of the people who played important parts in these milestones. Along with their colleagues, these individuals helped to make amazing discoveries and brought attention to crucial issues. Nature’s 10 is not an award or a ranking. The selection is compiled by Nature’s editors to highlight key events in science through the compelling stories of those involved".

    A few honorable mentions among others (read the whole list)

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warning the world -The public-health leader faced challenges from all sides in trying to rally the globe against COVID-19.

    On 15 April, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), found himself in a political windstorm. The day before, US President Donald Trump had said that he would halt funding to the WHO, pending a review of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its dealings with China.

    But instead of reacting publicly to Trump’s accusations of ‘mismanagement’ and ‘cover-ups’, Tedros described the United States as a “generous friend” and emphasized the agency’s desire to serve every country and every partner during the pandemic.

    “Because we were very alarmed by the geopolitical tensions between major powers, we advocated from the outset for global solidarity,” says Tedros in an e-mail to Nature.

    For almost 73 years, the WHO has served as the world’s smoke alarm for emerging health threats, collecting intelligence on hundreds of disease outbreaks and advising nations on their responses — sometimes working directly with local health agencies on the ground.

    Tedros became the organization’s first director-general from Africa in 2017, following a troubled response by the WHO to a major Ebola outbreak. With a background in public health, epidemiology and foreign affairs, Tedros promised to create an agency that could move swiftly to address the next crisis.

    He has won over many public-health researchers and practitioners with his empathy, approachability and hard work. “He leads by really rolling up his sleeves and showing an example to others,” says Lawrence Gostin, a researcher of public-health law at Georgetown University in Washington DC. When Ebola emerged again in 2018 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tedros visited the country multiple times, at great personal risk. The WHO and local health responders worked to contain the spread and vaccinate some 300,000 people during a period of active conflict.

    But COVID-19 has really tested the WHO’s ability to manage a fast-moving global pandemic.

    On 31 December, the agency picked up news reports about cases of viral pneumonia of unknown provenance in Wuhan, China. It requested more details from Chinese authorities and alerted its networks. By 27 January, Tedros was on a plane to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing; three days later, he declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, obliging WHO member states to respond to the threat.

    Some researchers say that Tedros was too generous in his public praise of China and that he should have been more forthright about information that China kept from the agency, for example about the first documented cases. There was “a real lack of willingness to be even just a little bit tougher with the Chinese authorities in the public eye”, says Suerie Moon, a political scientist at the Graduate Institute Geneva in Switzerland.

    Public deference to China opened Tedros and the agency up to unsubstantiated criticisms of being biased, including those from the Trump administration, says Moon.

    Researchers also say that the agency took a conservative approach in reviewing the limited scientific evidence. This meant that it was slow to confirm human-to-human transmission in China, for example, and to recognize the role of people who don’t show symptoms in spreading the virus. The emergency could have been declared earlier, says Dale Fisher, an infectious-diseases physician at the National University of Singapore.

    The WHO rejects the suggestion that it was late to warn the world. “We rang the alarm bell loud and clear from the moment we received the first reports,” says Tedros.

    Researchers add that more transparency, and a quicker response, might not have swayed the course of the pandemic. Even after the WHO declared an emergency, many countries were still reluctant to introduce public-health measures, says Fisher. And China might not have responded well to a tougher Tedros, say researchers.

    In July, the United States — the WHO’s largest government donor — formally notified the agency of its plans to withdraw from it in 2021. US president-elect Joe Biden has promised to cancel the withdrawal after taking office in January.

    But even with US contributions, the WHO is severely underfunded for the work it does, says Kelley Lee, a researcher who studies global health at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. The crisis has exposed, once again, the WHO’s vulnerabilities as an institution beholden to member states for funding, and the challenges for a leader trying to navigate treacherous political waters.

    Tedros says his focus remains on the COVID-19 “end game” — ensuring that all countries enjoy the same access to vaccines. As the world enters that stage, and the political headwinds that might ensue, Tedros promises to “just put my head down and power through”.
    -------

    Zhang Yongzhen, genoma sharer -This scientist and his team posted the coronavirus’s RNA sequence online before anyone else.

    The international scientific battle against COVID-19 began on the morning of 11 January in Shanghai. That was when virologist Zhang Yongzhen, after days of hesitation, agreed to post online the genome of the virus that was causing pneumonia-like illness in Wuhan, China.

    His sharing showed the world that this was a new coronavirus, and similar to the one that caused the deadly 2003 outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). Researchers immediately pored over the genome to investigate the virus’s key proteins, produce diagnostic tests and design vaccines. “That was the most important day in the COVID-19 outbreak,” says Linfa Wang, a virologist at Duke–National University of Singapore Medical School.

    But releasing the sequence was not a straightforward matter. Zhang’s laboratory at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center received a sample of the pathogen on 3 January. On the same day, the Chinese government circulated an order forbidding local authorities and labs from publishing information about the virus. After 40 hours of work, at 2 a.m. on 5 January, team member Chen Yan-Mei alerted Zhang that the virus was related to SARS. Later that day, Zhang notified Shanghai’s municipal health authority of the threat and uploaded the data to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a sequence repository run by the US National Institutes of Health.

    He then waited for the NCBI to process the upload and send it back for him to review. Over the next few days, he submitted a paper to Nature about the genome and visited Wuhan, where he got first-hand accounts from physicians about the effects of the virus. An editor at Nature urged him to post the sequence. And on 11 January, as Zhang was about to take off on a flight to Beijing, long-time collaborator Edward Holmes, an evolutionary virologist at the University of Sydney in Australia, called him and asked him to release the data online.

    Zhang asked Holmes for a minute to think, but the flight attendant was telling him to hang up. He reflected on the grim conversations he’d had in Wuhan. “It was getting serious,” he recalls. “I said, ‘Eddie, I authorize you to release the data.’” Holmes posted it on the website virological.org, and Zhang asked the NCBI to release the genome. Holmes says the team had held off because of the government order, but Zhang says he wasn’t aware of the edict at the time. He does say, however, that he realized some health officials might be angry if he posted the sequence online.

    Within two days, Thailand had used the genome to confirm that the virus had crossed the border, and US researchers were using it to design a coronavirus vaccine. But Zhang’s team had received a government ‘rectification’ order and was temporarily unable to study the virus. Some media outlets reported that his team was being punished. Zhang disputes that. He says visiting officials correctly told his lab to update its biosafety protocols after he had moved equipment during construction work. “We were not shut down,” he says: he still worked on influenza, and the team had resumed coronavirus sequencing by the end of January.

    He also sees China’s hesitancy to release data as borne of caution not to get things wrong — remembering that in 2003, a prominent Chinese scientist had mistakenly judged SARS to be caused by a bacterium. “I don’t think China’s central government wanted to control information,” he says. “It’s just that some experts lack the experience to make the right decision.

    Zhang still marvels at how quickly SARS-CoV-2 was identified. In 2003, scientists took several months to pin down the SARS coronavirus as the cause. Next-generation sequencing technology has made the difference, and Zhang has been one of the most prolific at applying it; he and Holmes have reported thousands of new RNA viruses. Zhang has established a network of labs in China to try to monitor emerging viruses. He hopes to predict and fend off outbreaks before they start.

    Although he didn’t manage that for SARS-CoV-2, he is proud of the recognition he’s received from scientists all over the world for his data sharing. “They say, ‘January 11 was a turning point for understanding that this is serious. It was a turning point for China. It was a turning point for the world.’”
    Li Lanjuan, Lock down architect - This epidemiologist advised shutting down Wuhan to control the earliest COVID-19 outbreak.

    In 18 January, China’s highest administrative body sent Li Lanjuan and other experts to Wuhan to size up its viral outbreak. A few days later, the 73-year-old epidemiologist at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou called for Wuhan — population 11 million — to be locked down immediately. “If the infection continues to spread, other provinces will also lose control, like Wuhan. China’s economy and society will suffer seriously,” she said in a 22 January interview on Chinese state television.
    Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert at China’s Guangzhou Medical University, who led the team in Wuhan, had already announced that the virus could spread between people. The warnings from Li and Zhong helped to prompt decisive action.

    On 23 January, all transport was blocked in and out of Wuhan, and people were ordered to stay at home. Travel plans for Chinese New Year, which began on 25 January, were cancelled. At the time, the lockdown struck many as an over-reaction; it lasted for 76 days and was aggressively enforced. Some residents were unable to get medical care, and complained they had been left to die.

    But the plan worked. “It clearly led to excellent epidemic control within China and aversion of a far more catastrophic epidemic in the country,” says epidemiologist Raina MacIntyre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Modellers estimated that it delayed the epidemic’s spread through China by 3–5 days, giving other regions time to prepare. And the number of exported cases dropped by 80% for a few weeks.

    Locking down a city of 11 million people to stop infections escaping was unique, says Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong. “I don’t think there are precedents for this.”

    Li stayed in Wuhan to help care for people with COVID-19, and became a state-endorsed symbol of selfless doctors in the crisis. She was often pictured in her medical garb, and referred to as “Grandma Li” on social media. Chinese media recounted how Li was born into a poor family in Zhejiang and became one of the nation’s ‘barefoot doctors’, who helped implement basic disease prevention measures and treat illnesses. She was recruited to the provincial medical university and later specialized in hepatitis. In 2003, as director of Zhejiang’s health department, she ordered the quarantining of thousands of contacts of people who had contracted severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS): a controversial decision later seen as key to containing the virus.

    Li’s status meant that politicians were prepared to listen when she advised a city-wide lockdown. Her story contrasts with that of another doctor in Wuhan, Li Wenliang. In late December, the ophthalmologist shared with friends his concerns about SARS-like cases at Wuhan Central Hospital. He was admonished by city police for spreading false rumours, but then caught COVID-19 and gave media interviews calling for more transparency. He died on 7 February. Many researchers have criticized China’s attempts to silence whistle-blowers such as Li Wenliang, and its reluctance to publicly admit the full extent of rising case numbers.

    China ultimately took decisive action, but other nations weren’t so bold. “Many countries seem to have forgotten basic principles of epidemic control or had advisers without the requisite knowledge, who were fumbling around and learning on the hop. But not China,” says MacIntyre.
    Anthony Fauce, science’s defender- A storied US doctor became his nation’s conscience on COVID-19 even as detractors threatened his life.

    In his more than 40-year career as an infectious-disease researcher, Anthony Fauci has been hailed as a hero and damned as a murderer. His most dedicated fans have created baseball cards and bobble-head dolls in his likeness, whereas others have issued death threats and harassed his children.

    As head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland, Fauci has guided six presidents and an anxious nation through fears of bioweapon attacks and outbreaks of HIV, Ebola and Zika. Now, his role advising the government and communicating to the public during the coronavirus pandemic has made him the nation’s doctor. He has offered guidance on the US response to the outbreak, often in conflict with the wishes of President Donald Trump, and he has made time to treat individuals with COVID-19 and HIV in the clinic. “Seeing the patient really gives you a different feel for what the disease is,” says Fauci, who works 18 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    The scale of the COVID-19 pandemic — and the politicization of the public-health response to it — has forced Fauci to go far beyond anything he’s done before, says epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “He has been a very key part of trying to help the public understand what the science means and what we can do about it — and that includes, of course, our elected leaders,” says Osterholm.

    Those efforts were met with resistance, but Fauci is no stranger to friction.

    At the height of the AIDS epidemic, in 1988, playwright Larry Kramer called Fauci a “murderer” and an “incompetent idiot” on the cover of the San Francisco Examiner magazine. Kramer and other AIDS activists felt that the NIAID’s clinical trials for HIV drugs were moving at a glacial pace while thousands of people were dying. When a group gathered outside his office to protest, Fauci invited some in for a chat. Over time, he built a relationship with them that would lead to changes in the way people with AIDS got access to experimental drugs. It was a revolutionary approach at a time when people with a disease had little say in the science aimed at treating them. “That was a tough period,” he says. “There were many scientists who thought that I was caving in”.

    Warm but blunt, with a pronounced Brooklyn accent, he has often worked well with political leaders. Former US president George H. W. Bush called him a hero for his work on AIDS, and Fauci worked with his son, former president George W. Bush, to design the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a global programme to provide treatment for people with HIV. But this year, his staid and steady advocacy for public-health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 earned him stiff criticisms from President Donald Trump and others who were eager to play down the severity of the pandemic and get the US economy restarted.

    Trump has suggested that he might fire the scientist, and a stream of vitriol has poured from some of the president’s followers. Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser, said that he would like to see Fauci’s head on a pike outside the White House. Fauci now has federal guards overseeing his security.

    The threats made him “more pissed off than afraid”, he says. “I’m out there trying to give a public-health message to save people’s lives.”

    But some researchers were also frustrated with Fauci’s public performance. He often stood next to Trump during press briefings as the president repeatedly misrepresented the severity of the pandemic. Although Fauci sometimes contradicted Trump, he did not directly confront the president.

    Such briefings stopped in April. Fauci has since become more outspoken, says Mark Harrington, executive director of Treatment Action Group, a New York City think tank that focuses on the treatment and prevention of AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis C virus. “He’s been speaking truth to power for the last few months in a way that none of the other people in the task force or federal government have been doing,” Harrington says. Fauci, who turns 80 in December, has no plans to retire soon. He has agreed to stay on at the NIAID and to serve as president-elect Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser. Osterholm says he expects Fauci to continue to have an active role in front of the cameras.

    But Harrington is looking forward to the day when Fauci can focus his attention again on other pressing concerns, such as HIV and hepatitis C. “He needs to be able to do his day job,” he says. “It’s a big job.”
    ----------

    One’s to watch in 2021- among others,

    Marion Koopmans -This virologist is part of a World Health Organization team
    investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
    Follow the link and meet the scientists investigating the origins of the COVID pandemic.
    Il y a quelque chose de pire que d'avoir une âme perverse. C’est d'avoir une âme habituée
    Charles Péguy

    Every human society must justify its inequalities: reasons must be found because, without them, the whole political and social edifice is in danger of collapsing”.
    Thomas Piketty

  8. #88
    Aexodus's Avatar Persuasion>Coercion
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Do you expect the WHO team to have seamless access to all the info they need for their investigation?
    Patronised by Pontifex Maximus
    Quote Originally Posted by Himster View Post
    The trick is to never be honest. That's what this social phenomenon is engineering: publicly conform, or else.

  9. #89

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Given the WHOs history what they have and what they use is not congruent.

  10. #90
    conon394's Avatar hoi polloi
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Follow the link and meet the scientists investigating the origins of the COVID pandemic.
    I would very much prefer if Daszak was excluded he provides not just the appearance of conflict of interest but a very real conflict of interest in terms of his relationship with the Research in China at Wuhan and the nature of it.
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB Dromikaites

    'One day when I fly with my hands - up down the sky, like a bird'

    But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place; some swearing, some crying for surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left.

    Hyperides of Athens: We know, replied he, that Antipater is good, but we (the Demos of Athens) have no need of a master at present, even a good one.

  11. #91

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    New York Magazine's Intelligencer:
    "The Lab-Leak Hypothesis For decades, scientists have been hot-wiring viruses in hopes of preventing a pandemic, not causing one. But what if …?

    What happened was fairly simple, I’ve come to believe. It was an accident. A virus spent some time in a laboratory, and eventually it got out. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, began its existence inside a bat, then it learned how to infect people in a claustrophobic mine shaft, and then it was made more infectious in one or more laboratories, perhaps as part of a scientist’s well-intentioned but risky effort to create a broad-spectrum vaccine. SARS-2 was not designed as a biological weapon. But it was, I think, designed."

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/arti...m_campaign=nym

  12. #92
    Aexodus's Avatar Persuasion>Coercion
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    https://nationalpost.com/news/a-brie...-a-lab-mistake

    Apparently diseases have escaped from labs many times before. Such as foot and mouth disease in the UK. SARS escaped not once, but six times from Chinese, Taiwanese, and Singapore laboratories. Four times from the same lab in Beijing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Himster View Post
    The trick is to never be honest. That's what this social phenomenon is engineering: publicly conform, or else.

  13. #93

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Infidel144 View Post
    New York Magazine's Intelligencer:
    "The Lab-Leak Hypothesis For decades, scientists have been hot-wiring viruses in hopes of preventing a pandemic, not causing one. But what if …?

    What happened was fairly simple, I’ve come to believe. It was an accident. A virus spent some time in a laboratory, and eventually it got out. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, began its existence inside a bat, then it learned how to infect people in a claustrophobic mine shaft, and then it was made more infectious in one or more laboratories, perhaps as part of a scientist’s well-intentioned but risky effort to create a broad-spectrum vaccine. SARS-2 was not designed as a biological weapon. But it was, I think, designed."

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/arti...m_campaign=nym
    This article is really good. It ties everything together in one place, while presenting both arguments and counterarguments.

    Some excerpts:

    Now let’s take a step back. AIDS, fatal and terrifying and politically charged, brought on a new era in government-guided vaccine research, under the guidance of Anthony Fauci. A virologist at Rockefeller University, Stephen S. Morse, began giving talks on “emerging viruses” — other plagues that might be in the process of coming out of nature’s woodwork. In 1992, Richard Preston wrote a horrific account of one emergent virus, Ebola, in The New Yorker, which became a best-selling book in 1994; Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance appeared that same year and was also a best seller. The idea seemed to be everywhere: We were on the verge of a wave of zoonotic, emergent plagues.

    This new, useful term, emerging, began to glow in the research papers of some coronavirologists, who were out of the spotlight, working on common colds and livestock diseases. The term was useful because it was fluid. An emerging disease could be real and terrifying, as AIDS was — something that had just arrived on the medical scene and was confounding our efforts to combat it — or it could be a disease that hadn’t arrived, and might never arrive, but could be shown in a laboratory to be waiting in the wings, just a few mutations away from a human epidemic. It was real and unreal at the same time — a quality that was helpful when applying for research grants.

    Take, for instance, this paper from 1995: “High Recombination and Mutation Rates in Mouse Hepatitis Viruses Suggest That Coronaviruses May Be Potentially Important Emerging Viruses.” It was written by Dr. Ralph Baric and his bench scientist, Boyd Yount, at the University of North Carolina. Baric, a gravelly voiced former swim champion, described in this early paper how his lab was able to train a coronavirus, MHV, which causes hepatitis in mice, to jump species, so that it could reliably infect BHK (baby-hamster kidney) cell cultures. They did it using serial passaging: repeatedly dosing a mixed solution of mouse cells and hamster cells with mouse-hepatitis virus, while each time decreasing the number of mouse cells and upping the concentration of hamster cells. At first, predictably, the mouse-hepatitis virus couldn’t do much with the hamster cells, which were left almost free of infection, floating in their world of fetal-calf serum. But by the end of the experiment, after dozens of passages through cell cultures, the virus had mutated: It had mastered the trick of parasitizing an unfamiliar rodent. A scourge of mice was transformed into a scourge of hamsters. And there was more: “It is clear that MHV can rapidly alter its species specificity and infect rats and primates,” Baric said. “The resulting virus variants are associated with demyelinating diseases in these alternative species.” (A demyelinating disease is a disease that damages nerve sheaths.) With steady prodding from laboratory science, along with some rhetorical exaggeration, a lowly mouse ailment was morphed into an emergent threat that might potentially cause nerve damage in primates. That is, nerve damage in us.

    A few years later, in a further round of “interspecies transfer” experimentation, Baric’s scientists introduced their mouse coronavirus into flasks that held a suspension of African-green-monkey cells, human cells, and pig-testicle cells. Then, in 2002, they announced something even more impressive: They’d found a way to create a full-length infectious clone of the entire mouse-hepatitis genome. Their “infectious construct” replicated itself just like the real thing, they wrote.

    Not only that, but they’d figured out how to perform their assembly seamlessly, without any signs of human handiwork. Nobody would know if the virus had been fabricated in a laboratory or grown in nature. Baric called this the “no-see’m method,” and he asserted that it had “broad and largely unappreciated molecular biology applications.” The method was named, he wrote, after a “very small biting insect that is occasionally found on North Carolina beaches.”

    In 2006, Baric, Yount, and two other scientists were granted a patent for their invisible method of fabricating a full-length infectious clone using the seamless, no-see’m method. But this time, it wasn’t a clone of the mouse-hepatitis virus — it was a clone of the entire deadly human SARS virus, the one that had emerged from Chinese bats, via civets, in 2002. The Baric Lab came to be known by some scientists as “the Wild Wild West.” In 2007, Baric said that we had entered “the golden age of coronavirus genetics.”

    “I would be afraid to look in their freezers,” one virologist told me.

    Baric and Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the two top experts on the genetic interplay between bat and human coronaviruses, began collaborating in 2015...

    Baric’s safety record is good — although there was a minor mouse-bite incident in 2016, uncovered by ProPublica — and his motives are beyond reproach: “Safe, universal, vaccine platforms are needed that can be tailored to new pathogens as they emerge, quickly tested for safety, and then strategically used to control new disease outbreaks in human populations,” he wrote in a paper on public health. But the pioneering work he did over the past 15 years — generating tiny eager single-stranded flask monsters and pitting them against human cells, or bat cells, or gene-spliced somewhat-human cells, or monkey cells, or humanized mice — was not without risk, and it may have led others astray.

    In 2006, for instance, Baric and his colleagues, hoping to come up with a “vaccine strategy” for SARS, produced noninfectious virus replicon particles (or VRPs) using the Venezuelan-equine-encephalitis virus (another American germ-warfare agent), which they fitted with various SARS spike proteins. Then, wearing Tyvek suits and two pairs of gloves each, and working in a biological safety cabinet in a BSL-3-certified laboratory, they cloned and grew recombinant versions of the original SARS virus in an incubator in a medium that held African-green-monkey cells. When they had grown enough virus, the scientists swapped out one kind of spike protein for a carefully chosen mutant, and they challenged their prototype vaccine with it in mice.

    The scientists also tried their infectious SARS clones in something called an air-liquid interface, using a relatively new type of cell culture developed by Raymond Pickles of the University of North Carolina’s Cystic Fibrosis Center. Pickles had perfected a method of emulating the traits of human airway tissue by cultivating cells taken from lung-disease patients — nurturing the culture over four to six weeks in such a way that the cells differentiated and developed a crop of tiny moving hairs, or cilia, on top and goblet cells within that produced real human mucus. In fact, before infecting these HAE (human airway epithelial) cells with a virus, the lab worker must sometimes rinse off some of the accumulated mucus, as if helping the lab-grown tissue to clear its throat. So Baric was exposing and adapting his engineered viruses to an extraordinarily true-to-life environment — the juicy, sticky, hairy inner surface of our breathing apparatus.

    SARS-2 seems almost perfectly calibrated to grab and ransack our breathing cells and choke the life out of them. “By the time SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in late 2019, it was already pre-adapted to human transmission,” Alina Chan and her co-authors have written, whereas SARS, when it first appeared in 2003, underwent “numerous adaptive mutations” before settling down. Perhaps viral nature hit a bull’s-eye of airborne infectivity, with almost no mutational drift, no period of accommodation and adjustment, or perhaps some lab worker somewhere, inspired by Baric’s work with human airway tissue, took a spike protein that was specially groomed to colonize and thrive deep in the ciliated, mucosal tunnels of our inner core and cloned it onto some existing viral bat backbone...

    Baric, Jonna Mazet, and Peter Daszak of EcoHealth worked together for years — and Daszak also routed Predict money to Shi Zhengli’s bat-surveillance team in Wuhan through his nonprofit, mingling it with NIH money and money from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. In 2013, Mazet announced that Shi Zhengli’s virus hunters, with Predict’s support, had, for the first time, isolated and cultured a live SARS-like virus from bats and demonstrated that this virus could bind to the human ACE2, or “angiotensin-converting enzyme 2,” receptor, which Baric’s laboratory had determined to be the sine qua non of human infectivity. “This work shows that these viruses can directly infect humans and validates our assumption that we should be searching for viruses of pandemic potential before they spill over to people,” Mazet said.

    In November 2015, Baric and colleagues published a collaboration paper with Shi Zhengli titled “A SARS-like Cluster of Circulating Bat Coronaviruses Shows Potential for Human Emergence.” Into a human SARS virus that they had adapted so that it would work in mice, Baric and Shi et al. inserted the spike protein of a bat virus, SHC014, discovered by Shi in southern China. They dabbed the mice nasally with virus and waited, looking for signs of sickness: “hunching, ruffled fur.” They also infected human airway cells with the mouse-adapted bat-spike-in-a-human-virus backbone. In both mice and human airway cells, the chimeric virus caused a “robust infection.”

    This proved, Baric and Shi believed, that you did not need civets or other intermediate hosts in order for bats to cause an epidemic in humans and that therefore all the SARS-like viruses circulating in bat populations “may pose a future threat.” Peter Daszak, who had used Predict funds to pay Shi for her work on the paper, was impressed by this conclusion; the findings, he said, “move this virus from a candidate emerging pathogen to a clear and present danger.”

    Richard Ebright was trenchantly unenthusiastic. “The only impact of this work,” he said, “is the creation, in a lab, of a new, non-natural risk.”

    Early in 2016, Baric and Shi again collaborated. Shi sent Baric a fresh bat virus spike protein, and Baric inserted it into the backbone of a human SARS virus and then used that infectious clone to attack human airway cells. “The virus readily and efficiently replicated in cultured human airway tissues, suggesting an ability to potentially jump directly to humans,” reported the UNC’s website. This time, they also used the bat-human hybrid virus to infect transgenic humanized mice that grew human ACE2 protein. The mice, young and old, lost weight and died, proving, again, that this particular bat virus was potentially “poised to emerge in human populations.” It was “an ongoing threat,” Baric wrote. But was it? Civets and camels that are exposed to a lot of bat-guano dust may be an ongoing threat and a manageable one. But the bats themselves just want to hang in their caves and not be bothered by frowning sightseers in spacesuits who want to poke Q-tips in their bottoms...

    Just before this issue of New York went to press, I reached Ralph Baric by phone and asked him where he now believed SARS-2 came from. (Anthony Fauci, Shi Zhengli, and Peter Daszak didn’t respond to emails, and Kristian Andersen said he was busy with other things.) Baric said he still thought the virus came from bats in southern China, perhaps directly, or possibly via an intermediate host, although the smuggled pangolins, in his view, were a red herring. The disease evolved in humans over time without being noticed, he suspected, becoming gradually more infectious, and eventually a person carried it to Wuhan “and the pandemic took off.” Then he said, “Can you rule out a laboratory escape? The answer in this case is probably not.”
    These are the possibilities:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Setting aside the coincidence(?) that the pandemic appears to have started next the only BSL-4 lab in China rather near the bat population that hosts SARS-CoV-2's nearest relative, what would explain the Chinese government's current stonewalling and misdirection in the case of scenario A?

    ...

    Perhaps a safer and more cost-effective approach is warranted: Pandemics: spend on surveillance, not prediction (note that Kristian Andersen is one of the coauthors)
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


  14. #94
    conon394's Avatar hoi polloi
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Unfortunately, now with national pride and Internet based deep conspiracy thinking all about it seems we will never get a clear and careful investigation even if mistake seems like a reasonable hypothesis.

    In any case since the Intelligencer may or my not be behind pay wall (depending on region or if you read too many times) one of the more useful and clear arguments for lab based origin and mistake is not

    https://www.independentsciencenews.o...d-19-pandemic/

    or from same reserchers

    https://www.vectorsjournal.org/the-c...-a-lab-origin/
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB Dromikaites

    'One day when I fly with my hands - up down the sky, like a bird'

    But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place; some swearing, some crying for surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left.

    Hyperides of Athens: We know, replied he, that Antipater is good, but we (the Demos of Athens) have no need of a master at present, even a good one.

  15. #95

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    "WHO inspector caught on camera revealing coronavirus manipulation in Wuhan before pandemic
    Video shows scientist mention coronavirus experimentation in Wuhan lab weeks before pandemic"
    https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4104828

  16. #96

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Infidel144 View Post
    "WHO inspector caught on camera revealing coronavirus manipulation in Wuhan before pandemic
    Video shows scientist mention coronavirus experimentation in Wuhan lab weeks before pandemic"
    https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4104828
    Yeah, I had seen that video before. Daszak seemed to have developed amnesia about all that shortly after the pandemic started.

    Some excerpts from the article:

    The second, more dangerous phase, which started in 2019, involved gain-of-function (GoF) research on coronaviruses and chimeras in humanized mice from the lab of Ralph S. Baric of the University of North Carolina...

    At the 28:10 mark of the podcast interview, Daszak states that researchers found that SARS likely originated from bats and then set out to find more SARS-related coronaviruses, eventually finding over 100. He observed that some coronaviruses can "get into human cells in the lab," and others can cause SARS disease in "humanized mouse models."...

    When Racaniello asks what can be done to deal with coronavirus given that there is no vaccine or therapeutic for them, Daszak at the 29:54 mark appears to reveal that the goal of the GoF experiments was to develop a pan-coronavirus vaccine for many different types of coronaviruses.

    Based on his response, it is evident that just before the start of the pandemic, the WIV was modifying coronaviruses in the lab. "You can manipulate them in the lab pretty easily." What he then mentioned has become the telltale trait of SARS-CoV-2, its spike protein: "Spike protein drives a lot of what happens with the coronavirus, zoonotic risk."

    Daszak mentions the WIV's collaboration with Baric: "and we work with Ralph Baric at UNC [University of North Carolina] to do this." As has been suggested by proponents that SARS-CoV-2 is a chimera made in a lab, he speaks of inserting the spike protein "into a backbone of another virus" and then doing "some work in the lab."

    Providing evidence of the creation of chimeras for the sake of a vaccine, he states "Now, the logical progression for vaccines is, if you are going to develop a vaccine for SARS, people are going to use pandemic SARS, but let’s try to insert these other related diseases and get a better vaccine.”

    Based on Daszak's statements, it appears that just before the start of the pandemic, the WIV was using GoF experiments with chimeras in an attempt to create a vaccine. These experiments appeared to have included infecting mice genetically modified to express the human ACE2 protein with these chimeras.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


  17. #97
    Ludicus's Avatar Vicarius Provinciae
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    From the news,

    Covid: WHO says 'extremely unlikely' virus leaked from lab in China ...
    The comments came at the conclusion of a joint WHO-China mission... The comments came at the conclusion of a joint WHO-China mission. The comments came at the conclusion of a joint WHO-China mission. He said identifying the animal pathway remained a "work in progress", but that it was "most likely" to have crossed over to humans from an intermediary species.
    The experts also said there was "no indication" that the virus was circulating in Wuhan before the first official cases were recorded there in December 2019. The team called for further investigation into the possibility of "cold chain" transmission, referring to the transport and trade of frozen food
    .

    As we already know,
    Biden rejoins World Health Organization: What it means for ...
    "This is very good news for America, for WHO and the world," said Lawrence Gostin, director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University in Washington.
    "Obviously, I'm delighted," added Barry Bloom, an immunologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "If we want to retain leadership in global health in the world, we can't not play with the rest of the world." In one of his first acts as president, Biden signed letters retracting his predecessor's decision to withdraw from WHO. He also appointed Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, to represent the United States on the world body's executive committee.
    Il y a quelque chose de pire que d'avoir une âme perverse. C’est d'avoir une âme habituée
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    Every human society must justify its inequalities: reasons must be found because, without them, the whole political and social edifice is in danger of collapsing”.
    Thomas Piketty

  18. #98
    Aexodus's Avatar Persuasion>Coercion
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Ludicus, how effective do you think the WHO mission could have been? How investigative would they have been allowed to be?
    Patronised by Pontifex Maximus
    Quote Originally Posted by Himster View Post
    The trick is to never be honest. That's what this social phenomenon is engineering: publicly conform, or else.

  19. #99
    Legio_Italica's Avatar Lost in Limbo
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Aexodus View Post
    Ludicus, how effective do you think the WHO mission could have been? How investigative would they have been allowed to be?
    Not only that, one has to wonder about the utility of a “mission” conducted over a year after the events in question, and one which doesn’t appear to have revealed any new information. The Wuhan animal market theory was advanced by most academics and authorities, who also rejected the lab theory, from the beginning and before any such investigation ever occurred. As anyone might have anticipated, it seems this “mission” served merely to rubber stamp official narratives rather than look at any previously undisclosed evidence or question the CCP’s story.

  20. #100

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Legio_Italica View Post
    Not only that, one has to wonder about the utility of a “mission” conducted over a year after the events in question, and one which doesn’t appear to have revealed any new information.
    Well, they did fairly extensive sampling of potential natural sources:

    • "Sampling of bats in Hubei province has failed to find evidence of SARS-CoV-2 in native viruses, and sampling of wildlife in different places in China has so far failed to identify the presence of SARS-CoV-2," said Liang.
    • 11,000 samples from different kinds of animals like "pig, cow, goat, chicken, duck and goose" from 31 provinces in China across 2019 and 2020 and all were negative for SARS-CoV-2.
    • 1,914 serum samples from 45 different species of wild animals, collected between November 2019 and March 2020, were all negative for SARS-CoV-2.
    • 50,000 samples of wild animals covering 300 different species were tested via PCR and all tested negative for SARS-CoV-2.
    And found nothing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


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