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Thread: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

  1. #141

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    Nov 2006

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludicus View Post
    ...After the Christmas disaster,Portugal tightens Covid-19 lockdown amid record numbers of ...
    Obviouly, it's working, the numbers started to go down.
    Yes the real world experience is persuasive: across several loci the successful play has been a raft of strategies and lockdowns have been integral to the majority of relative successes, and absent from the most stinking failures. Is Portugal making use of the CDC guidelines? I know Mrs Cyclops keeps running into them as they are an easy to use English language resource.

    Is there a European standard or alternate version? Or are you writing the playbook as you go?

    BTW if a Trump simp wants to LARP as a bot let them, its been a hard few months since the Orange Messiah dumped his disciples. Let 'em bodyslam some strawmen and high five themselves, its therapeutic. Don't be too hard, some of them don't even have access to dictionaries and use online kiddy versions.

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    Rasmussen's argument is that it is "extremely unlikely that gain-of-function research on hard-to-obtain coronaviruses (such as bat SARS-like coronaviruses) could occur under the radar" because of "intense scrutiny and governmental oversight" and that therefore we would know exactly what research had occurred and exactly what viruses were manipulated, which is absurd. If more gain-of-function research than is already public knowledge occurred at the WIV, only the Chinese government and those directly involved in the research would be sure to know.

    The EcoHealth Alliance grant application indicates that there was more (at least in the works) that hasn't been published. Before the outbreak, they wouldn't have had any obvious reason to hide anything other than to keep specifics quiet prior to publication. Nevertheless, the WIV have been keeping a lot of relevant evidence to themselves:

    The WIV would go a long way to allay suspicions if they started making evidence available with their publications so that other scientists can check their work (as is standard practice) rather than expecting everyone to simply accept what they say on faith. Although to be fair, I don't assume that's their choice to make.
    If I understand this is an issue with yet another individual with skin in the game defending potentially (and in the past actually) hazardous praxis. Its bad enough we have a zoonotic hotspot in Wuhan without leaky labs doing dangerous works there. It compounds the stupid diplomatic blame game between regimes.

    Is this level of "compromised integrity" systemic? I know we have to make the system pay for itself/incentivise research but if a serious researcher is misdirecting political scrutiny to keep money flowing to their sector of employment that's pretty abysmal.

    Be great to mine the nuggets emerging from this crisis. In Victoria we've found unexpected strength in our political system, almost discouragingly high levels of social compliance (seriously I'd feel better if more people were more sceptical frankly, its really only the idiots complaining and they are few in number) and some decent flexibility in our bloated healthcare system (its not perfect but the fat was easily converted to energy for the crisis).

    The main problem has been bureaucracy that had been rationalised down to bare bones in the wrong areas: almost 100% of serious delays were unskilled administration learning their jobs (and I have family across this spectrum, from healthcare frontline to admin to regional and head office state departments who keep seeing this). The system worked eventually with (hate to say it) strong political leadership coming over the top and applying a heavy hand. It was almost Maoist, "Chairman Dan" fronting up, admitting failures, sacrificing a goat or two and pushing on. The saving grace was they got the job done.

    You can't relying on politicians, usually they are the weakest link. I'd prefer a chain with strong links along its length.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

  2. #142

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Is this level of "compromised integrity" systemic? I know we have to make the system pay for itself/incentivise research but if a serious researcher is misdirecting political scrutiny to keep money flowing to their sector of employment that's pretty abysmal.
    In my view, there are three factors. First, those who claim they can predict the next pandemic have found a cash cow, but they've never made good on their claims. Suppose SARS-CoV-2's emergence near the Wuhan Institute of Virology was a coincidence, as was the fact that they had created a virus quite similar to SARS-CoV-2. Then according to the line EcoHealth Alliance has been selling, they should have had all the information needed to predict and prevent or at least proactively mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak, yet they didn't.

    At least some experts in the field have publicly commented on this, for example Kristian G. Andersen:

    “I feel the claim they are making that you can prevent the next pandemic by doing this type of work is preposterous,” Andersen said. “If you could, given they worked in Wuhan for so long specifically, you would have thought they could have prevented the current pandemic, and they didn’t.”
    In contrast, the response from those doing this sort of research has been to say that this only shows that they need even more money. The alternative, a much more cost effective and proven approach to prevention, is detailed at length in this article I linked earlier. The gist of it is in the title "spend on surveillance, not on prediction". So the first factor then, is that those who saw their cash cow threatened were the first to speak up and the loudest. They literally went on media tours, and were conveniently facilitated by the fact that what they were saying was at odds with Trump and Pompeo.

    The second factor was the reluctance of other scientists to publicly comment. Here's a geneticist's blog post that mirrors what I likewise saw quietly happening:

    The COVID-19 pandemic is a feature of 2020. It’s ridiculous to talk about rock-hard scientific truths when the science is being discovered, made, and established. The first time I heard about the possibility of lab escape as credible from a person with a Ph.D. in biology whose work is related to pathogens was in February of 2020. I didn’t pay much attention because I was focused on other things, like the US’s lack of total response. In the spring a few other people I knew looked into it, but they didn’t have the bandwidth, and it was clear there was going to be political and possible professional risks, and scientists are on the whole institutionalists who aren’t going to take these risks (with a few exceptions).

    Additionally, friends in politics were saying that the Chinese government can be quite aggressive in targeting people who point fingers at them, so that was another major risk that people didn’t want to take on. Do you want to get on the government of China’s radar? Do you want your friends thinking you are a kook? Finally, the Trump administration’s aggressive and volatile politicization, along with the cult of “We Believe in Science” on the other side, made things really difficult for anyone who wanted to move provisionally and with some uncertainty. Remember all the grandstanding about how masks were verboten until they were mandatory? (it’s trivial to find the people who flipped from one smug position to the other, but the media never highlights this because honestly, I think they don’t want to undermine trust in “experts”)

    For me, something changed when the Boston Magazine piece that highlighted the theory came out in September. I started hearing from friends that really credible and high profile scientists thought that there needed to be an investigation about the lab escape theory. Even if they weren’t brave enough to say anything in public about it (you become high profile by not rocking the boat outside of your narrow field, so that’s to be expected). In November I did a quick interview with Spanish television. They reached out to me for comment because so many scientists who off the record would credit the idea of lab escape wouldn’t go on the record. The journalist told me he was quite depressed by the difference in how scientists would talk off-camera and what they were willing to say on the record. It basically made him not trust science at all.
    The third factor is that the hot spot is in China, so if you want to work in China, you play by the Chinese government's rules. The Chinese government has as much incentive as anyone to prevent pandemics, but they obviously won't tolerate any talk that potentially embarrasses them or makes them look culpable even for a mistake. If you're the WHO, you might feel you have to go so far as giving lip service to a particularly far-fetched hypothesis if it's one that the Chinese government prefers.

    So I'd say a good portion of all three of those factors are systemic.
    Last edited by sumskilz; March 05, 2021 at 06:25 AM.
    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.

  3. #143

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    Nov 2006

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Yeah well that's three problems built in with no mechanism to address them so I'd say its pretty bloody systemic.

    Its a shame "gentlemen's agreements" between professionals would block criticism especially where its required.

    There's a popular brain surgeon in Australia called Charlie Teoh, I mean I have a problem with "celebrity" anythings but he has a good strike rate. He's a pariah among other brain surgeons because he does call out slack work. There's an understanding if some drunk or superannuated surgeon tells a patient their tumour is inoperable because his hands are shaking this week the others have to concur (its horrific and amounts to manslaughter by negligence, even if its "just a few" and "they have earned their place, and its only for a bit at the end of their careers" or whatever the excuse is). Teoh the rockstar shows them up and they hate him: he's popular and he doesn't protect the old boy network. Thats on the praxis side so we're talking money and fame as mush as professional respect, but surely in the theoretical and research side the discussion has to be aired? Its literally anti science, that pisses me off.

    I don't know enough about predictive vs monitoring medicine but the criticism seems cogent. Has to be easier to market a silver bullet than the dreary truth. Obviously some blue sky hail Mary research could pay off (I think of the Aids-to-kill-cancer stuff, I think that was a long shot at first) but it can't be the main game.

    The hotspot being in China is the biggest problem, compounding the others. Political hacks willing to silence doctors and "delay" releasing information is a nightmare. I guess the "upside" if we can call it that is the savagery Chinese leadership is willing to act with, annihilating families and industries when they do act. We get a hint of H1N1 and its "Chinese authorities slaughtered every MF chicken in such-and-such a province".

    Australian agricultural insularity and pest-fear is pretty entrenched, I think if we had the H1N1 here we'd go ahead and burn them all, at least I hope we would, but I wonder about other economies and political systems. The French will riot at the drop of a hat, for all its strength I have doubts the EU could order the slaughter of all its herds if needed. I recall in the UK there were serious problems eradicating first scald (or footrot) and even the CJD. I mean that was rotting brains out and the UK Government dragged its feet on revealing the extent of the problem, and IIRC there were farmers selling it even as it was banned.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

  4. #144
    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Please remember to follow the debate rules. Discuss the issue respectfully and in good faith and refrain from using inflammatory language, like publicly accusing your interlocutor of lying, bad intentions and rule violations. If you believe there's an issue, then you should just report the post in question and let the moderation handle it.

  5. #145
    Ludicus's Avatar Vicarius Provinciae

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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    My two cents.

    1. The CFR is an American political think thank, not a scientific journal. CFR founding members belong to America's wealthy elite. J.P. Morgan, John Rockfeller, among others, and includes politicians, ex-secretaries of state, CIA directors, bankers, etc.
    2. Let’s keep in mind that Pompeo named a CFR expert, Elliott Abrams, emissary to "restore democracy" in Venezuela. Btw, Abrams was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, for which he was convicted in 1991.
    3. The political paper “Comparing the H1N1 Crisis and responses in the US and China”, was published in 2010.At the time, according to the RSIS center for Non traditional Security studies, “The views of the author are entirely the author’s own and not that of the RSIS center

    It will be interesting to read a new CFR article entitled “Comparing the Covid-19 crisis and responses in the US and China”.

    A new study suggests that a selective sweep in the Spike gene has driven the virus.A change in a single amino acid enabled/ helped the virus become infectious in humans. Download PDF
    According to the authors,
    Since the true putative SARS-CoV-2 ancestor has not been isolated, it is impossible to know when this mutation may have arisen
    The WHO mission advocates searching the the origin in other countries in addition to China, particularly in Southeast Asia. Ben Barek/the WHO mission plans to publish the full, final report in the coming weeks and it will include "key findings". Ben Barek says, “So since there is so much interest in this report, a summary only would not satisfy the curiosity of the readers.”
    Let’s wait and see.
    Meanwhile the US national security adviser says it is “imperative WHO report be free of China’s intervention”.China is pressing for similar missions to other countries, including the U.S.

    The Fortune, conservative, right wing bias, writes, “When it comes to China, Team Biden sounds a lot like Team Trump” (January 20), and Biden warns China is going to “eat our lunch if U.S. doesn't get moving on infrastructure”.

    How long the current superpower will stay on top is a crucial question. In the 19th century, Hilarie Belloc, British poet and politican, summed it nicely: “Whatever happens we have got/The Maxim Gun/ and they have not”.As we know, the Maxim gun played an important role in the scramble for Africa.Truman was not a poet, but said “Having found the bomb we have used it”. China has called repeatedly on the US to adopt a no-first-use policy, but the US says that it "reserves the right to use" nuclear weapons first-in the case of conflict. How worried should we be? The Guardian hit the nail on the head, The US-China rivalry is not a new cold war, and it's dangerous to call it that
    Almost a year ago, the FT wrote The US and China's dangerous blame game will do no good
    Both the US and China need to move off that dangerous path.
    To sum up, while the US is divided in its China policy, between proponents of a policy of containment and proponents favouring engagement, Europe followed a policy of constructive engagement towards China.For us the Europeans, it all boils down to rise above the US-China rivalry,
    EU-China agreement protecting geographical indications enters into force
    Marking 45 years of EU-China diplomatic relations in a time of global crisis:
    The future of multilateralism and strategic partnerships.EU Parliament paper
    China and the US instrumentalised the health crisis to create allegiances and to engage in power games that delayed and watered down initiatives for a coordinated global response. With bilateralism and unilateralism on the rise, the EU must promote an alternative model to great power competition.
    Last edited by Abdülmecid I; Yesterday at 05:16 AM. Reason: Commenting on moderation.
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  6. #146
    Legio_Italica's Avatar Lost in Limbo
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludicus
    1. The CFR is an American political think thank, not a scientific journal. CFR founding members belong to America's wealthy elite. J.P. Morgan, John Rockfeller, among others, and includes politicians, ex-secretaries of state, CIA directors, bankers, etc.
    2. Let’s keep in mind that Pompeo named a CFR expert, Elliott Abrams, emissary to "restore democracy" in Venezuela. Btw, Abrams was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, for which he was convicted in 1991.
    3. The political paper “Comparing the H1N1 Crisis and responses in the US and China”, was published in 2010.At the time, according to the RSIS center for Non traditional Security studies, “The views of the author are entirely the author’s own and not that of the RSIS center”
    Claiming unfair persecution in an argument you initiated is an interesting tactic. Inane attacks on the credibility of the CFR and the author of the report are not only meaningless deflections, but also irrelevant to the content of the report, which you are still unable to address despite having selectively quoted my posts from another thread as part of “apolitical” promotion of CCP disinfo talking points and conspiratorial insinuations about “wealthy American elites.” A comprehensive review of the CCP’s recent record at the time, published by the same author in a peer-reviewed academic journal, is even more damning than the CFR report:
    Quote Originally Posted by SARS
    With a virtual blackout on reporting in the government-controlled media, carriers of the disease traveled across the country without realizing they were spreading the virus. In addi- tion, the “top-secret” security designation of the report on SARS meant that officials in the Guangdong health hierarchy could not discuss the situation with health department officials in other provinces, or in neighboring Hong Kong.13 As a consequence, SARS developed into a full-blown epidemic in Hong Kong, from where it spread further to other parts of the world. The information clampdown paralleled the absence of rapid, effective public health responses to the outbreak.

    It is important to note that the most stringent control measures, such as quarantine and social distancing, were only implemented after Rt had fallen below one, or when the epidemic was already burning out (de Vlas et al., 2009, p. 103). These measures may have played a role in speeding up the disappearance of SARS or preventing the outbreak in yet unaffected regions, but “contributed little to the factual containment of the SARS epidemic” (ibid.). In mid-May the epidemic started to level-off and lose its momentum.
    Quote Originally Posted by H1N1
    In the Chinese case, as scientific research and historical records have suggested, restricting travel had very little influence in stopping the spread of the disease (WHO, 2009a), and by the middle of May many countries (including the United States and Singapore) had scaled down their response measures after learning more about the virus. Instead of adopting a WHO-recommended mitigation-based strategy focusing on “minimizing the impact of the virus through the rapid identification of cases and providing patients with appropriate medical care” (ibid.), China stepped up its efforts to contain the spread of H1N1, and beginning on June 3 the government lowered the criteria for “normal” body temperature from 37.5 to 37° C, so that anyone with a temperature of 98.6° F or higher was subject to further tests.

    There is a larger issue involved here, in the sense that stringent government intervention measures, such as those applied during the SARS outbreak, and subsequently repeated during the H1N1 outbreak, have not proven decisive in bringing the epidemic under control, suggesting that there is no reason to believe that the intrusive border control and quarantine measures were as effective as the Chinese government has claimed. In one recent study, in fact, it was shown that only 37.4 percent of the confirmed cases in China were identified through the strict border control and quarantine measures, with more than 60 percent of the cases identified through self-reporting (Huang, 2010, p. 144).

    The available data suggest, in fact, that aggressive government intervention, by contrib- uting to the delayed spread of H1N1 in the spring/summer 2009 (Fig. 3), was at least partly responsible for the dramatic increase in the number of cases in the fall of that year. Instead reducing the total number of H1N1 cases in China, the government’s actions may simply have “pushed” the cases that should have appeared in the spring and summer to the fall. In countries that switched to a mitigation-oriented strategy in time, the vaccine access problems would have been alleviated by the buildup of natural immunity in the population (as a larger percentage of the population was exposed to the mild virus in the spring). This was clearly not the case in China: the limited availability of vaccine not only failed to act as a “firewall” in the spread of H1N1, it also simul- taneously had the unintended effect of leaving a larger percentage of people unexposed to the virus prior to the fall, even though at this time the strain of the virus remained relatively mild.

    There is also increasing evidence to suggest that the seemingly lower mortality level from H1N1 in China was a result of deliberate concealment and underreporting. By imposing such strict quarantine measures, the state effectively created an environment where doctors and patients were driven to lie about the disease (Galbreath, 2009). According to a document issued by the Ministry of Health (dated October 24, 2009), cases of H1N1 fatality could only be determined by provincial health authorities. Because health care workers were not allowed to confirm H1N1 deaths without approval, it is possible that many deaths were not confirmed or reported. Political intervention at higher levels made the situation even worse.
    Covid merely presented another chapter in the saga of CCP coverups. The academic consensus is that lockdowns have minimal impact beyond the earliest phases of an outbreak, hence the research indicating the pandemic could have been prevented if the CCP hadn’t first attempted to cover it up. By the time the Politburo acknowledged the outbreak and enacted lockdown measures a month or more after the fact, beginning Janaury 23, the virus had already spread internationally. By any measure, it was too late.

    In the wake of concerns over credibility and manipulation by the Politburo, an open letter from an international group of experts has called for a new, independent investigation into the origins of the pandemic:
    Finding the origins of SARS-CoV-2 is critically important to both better addressing the current pandemic and reducing the risks of future ones. Unfortunately, well over a year after the initial outbreak the origins of the pandemic remain unknown.

    As scientists, social scientists, and science communicators who have been independently and collectively looking into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe it essential that all hypotheses about the origins of the pandemic be thoroughly examined and full access to all necessary resources be provided without regard to political or other sensitivities.

    Based on our analysis, and as confirmed by the global study convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Chinese authorities, there is as yet no evidence demonstrating a fully natural origin of this virus. The zoonosis hypothesis, largely based on patterns of previous zoonosis events, is only one of a number of possible SARS-CoV-2 origins, alongside the research-related accident hypothesis.

    Although the “collaborative” process of discovery mandated by the World Health Assembly in May 2020 was meant to enable a full examination of the origins of the pandemic, we believe that structural limitations built into this endeavor make it all but impossible for the WHO-convened mission to realize this aspiration.

    In particular, we wish to raise public awareness of the fact that half of the joint team convened under that process is made of Chinese citizens whose scientific independence may be limited, that international members of the joint team had to rely on information the Chinese authorities chose to share with them, and that any joint team report must be approved by both the Chinese and international members of the joint team.

    We have therefore reached the conclusion that the joint team did not have the mandate, the independence, or the necessary accesses to carry out a full and unrestricted investigation into all the relevant SARS-CoV-2 origin hypotheses - whether natural spillover or laboratory/research- related incident.

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