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Thread: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

  1. #1

    Default The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    In the main Mudpit coronavirus thread, I started a conversation about the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, beginning with this post. The scientific aspects are complex, as is the circumstantial evidence, therefore I figured it needed a proper thread with a proper OP that can easily be referenced without having to wade though an 87 page thread. Looking into the issue further, I came across this recently published article: The Case Is Building That COVID-19 Had a Lab Origin. One of authors has a PhD in Virology and the other has a PhD in Molecular Biology and Genetics and the article is well-referenced. They're writing about a lot of the same issue I have been, and have also brought up some that I was unaware of. For that reason, I'll be using titles and excerpts from their article to lay out the facts.

    Historical lab releases

    In the past, there have been several cases in which pathogens have escaped from labs, including several cases in China, at least one is responsible for a global pandemic. The reason you probably don't already know about this, is because people whose entire careers are based around working with dangerous pathogens in labs, don't really want the general public worrying about dangerous pathogens escaping from labs.

    An accidental lab release is not merely a theoretical possibility. In 1977 a laboratory in Russia (or possibly China), most likely while developing a flu vaccine, accidentally released the extinct H1N1 influenza virus (Nakajima et al., 1978). H1N1 went on to become a global pandemic virus. A large proportion of the global population became infected. In this case, deaths were few because the population aged over 20 yrs old had historic immunity to the virus. This episode is not widely known because only recently has this conclusion been formally acknowledged in the scientific literature and the virology community has been reluctant to discuss such incidents (Zimmer and Burke, 2009; Wertheim, 2010). Still, laboratory pathogen escapes leading to human and animal deaths (e.g. smallpox in Britain; equine encephalitis in South America) are common enough that they ought to be much better known (summarised in Furmanski, 2014). Only rarely have these broken out into actual pandemics on the scale of H1N1, which, incidentally, broke out again in 2009/2010 as “Swine flu” causing deaths estimated variously at 3,000 to 200,000 on that occasion (Duggal et al., 2016; Simonsen et al. 2013).

    Many scientists have warned that experiments with PPPs, like the smallpox and Ebola and influenza viruses, are inherently dangerous and should be subject to strict limits and oversight (Lipsitch and Galvani, 2014; Klotz and Sylvester, 2014). Even in the limited case of SARS-like coronaviruses, since the quelling of the original SARS outbreak in 2003, there have been six documented SARS disease outbreaks originating from research laboratories, including four in China. These outbreaks caused 13 individual infections and one death (Furmanski, 2014). In response to such concerns the US banned certain classes of experiments, called gain of function (GOF) experiments, with PPPs in 2014, but the ban (actually a funding moratorium) was lifted in 2017.
    I note here that it was Fauci who lifted the funding moratorium. Maybe it's already obvious based on context, but if you're wondering, PPPs means potential pandemic pathogens.

    The COVID-19 Wuhan lab escape thesis

    The essence of the lab escape theory is that Wuhan is the site of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), China’s first and only Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) facility. (BSL-4 is the highest pathogen security level). The WIV, which added a BSL-4 lab only in 2018, has been collecting large numbers of coronaviruses from bat samples ever since the original SARS outbreak of 2002-2003; including collecting more in 2016 (Hu, et al., 2017; Zhou et al., 2018).

    Led by researcher Zheng-Li Shi, WIV scientists have also published experiments in which live bat coronaviruses were introduced into human cells (Hu et al., 2017). Moreover, according to an April 14 article in the Washington Post, US Embassy staff visited the WIV in 2018 and “had grave safety concerns” about biosecurity there. The WIV is just eight miles from the Huanan live animal market that was initially thought to be the site of origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Wuhan is also home to a lab called the Wuhan Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (WCDPC). It is a BSL-2 lab that is just 250 metres away from the Huanan market. Bat coronaviruses have in the past been kept at the Wuhan WCDPC lab.

    Thus the lab escape theory is that researchers from one or both of these labs may have picked up a Sars-CoV-2-like bat coronavirus on one of their many collecting (aka ‘”virus surveillance”) trips. Or, alternatively, a virus they were studying, passaging, engineering, or otherwise manipulating, escaped.
    Scientific assessments of the lab escape theory

    You're all aware of the criticism, I contrast that against the fact that there seems to be little criticism of the animal intermediary hypothesis, for which there is zero evidence.

    On April 17 the Australian Science Media Centre asked four Australian virologists: “Did COVID-19 come from a lab in Wuhan?“

    Three (Edward Holmes, Nigel McMillan and Hassan Vally) dismissed the lab escape suggestion and Vally simply labeled it, without elaboration, a “conspiracy”.

    The fourth virologist interviewed was Nikolai Petrovsky of Flinders University. Petrovsky first addressed the question of whether the natural zoonosis pathway was viable. He told the Media Centre:

    “no natural virus matching to COVID-19 has been found in nature despite an intensive search to find its origins.”

    That is to say, the idea of an animal intermediate is speculation. Indeed, no credible viral or animal host intermediaries, either in the form of a confirmed animal host or a plausible virus intermediate, has to-date emerged to explain the natural zoonotic transfer of Sars-CoV-2 to humans (e.g. Zhan et al., 2020).

    In addition to Petrovsky’s point, there are two further difficulties with the natural zoonotic transfer thesis (apart from the weak epidemiological association between early cases and the Huanan “wet” market).

    The first is that researchers from the Wuhan lab travelled to caves in Yunnan (1,500 Km away) to find horseshoe bats containing SARS-like coronaviruses. To-date, the closest living relative of Sars-CoV-2 yet found comes from Yunnan (Ge et al., 2016). Why would an outbreak of a bat virus therefore occur in Wuhan?

    Moreover, China has a population of 1.3 billion. If spillover from the wildlife trade was the explanation, then, other things being equal, the probability of a pandemic starting in Wuhan (pop. 11 million) is less than 1%.

    Zheng-Li Shi, the head of bat coronavirus research at WIV, told Scientific American as much:

    “I had never expected this kind of thing to happen in Wuhan, in central China.” Her studies had shown that the southern, subtropical provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan have the greatest risk of coronaviruses jumping to humans from animals—particularly bats, a known reservoir. If coronaviruses were the culprit, she remembers thinking, “Could they have come from our lab?”

    Wuhan, in short, is a rather unlikely epicentre for a natural zoonotic transfer. In contrast, to suspect that Sars-CoV-2 might have come from the WIV is both reasonable and obvious.
    Most of the harshest naysayers have obvious conflicts of interest that go beyond the usual, see this article on Edward Holmes for example.

    Was Sars-CoV-2 created in a lab?

    In his statement, Petrovsky goes on to describe the kind of experiment that, in principle, if done in a lab, would obtain the same result as the hypothesised natural zoonotic transfer–rapid adaptation of a bat coronavirus to a human host.

    “Take a bat coronavirus that is not infectious to humans, and force its selection by culturing it with cells that express human ACE2 receptor, such cells having been created many years ago to culture SARS coronaviruses and you can force the bat virus to adapt to infect human cells via mutations in its spike protein, which would have the effect of increasing the strength of its binding to human ACE2, and inevitably reducing the strength of its binding to bat ACE2.

    Viruses in prolonged culture will also develop other random mutations that do not affect its function. The result of these experiments is a virus that is highly virulent in humans but is sufficiently different that it no longer resembles the original bat virus. Because the mutations are acquired randomly by selection there is no signature of a human gene jockey, but this is clearly a virus still created by human intervention.”

    In other words, Petrovsky believes that current experimental methods could have led to an altered virus that escaped.
    Some additional expert opinions already posted in the other thread:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Leading immunologists and geneticists have told The Daily Telegraph there are two unusual aspects of COVID-19 that raise the possibility it was man-made rather than a naturally-occurring virus.

    The first is that the virus binds to human ACE2 receptor cells more strongly than it does to any other animal, including bats.

    The second is that it has a “furin cleavage site” that its closest genetic bat-coronavirus relative, RaTG-13, does not have.

    This site makes it significantly more infectious.

    Israeli geneticist, Dr Ronen Shemesh, who is working on treatment for COVID-19, said in his opinion the virus was more likely created in a laboratory than evolved naturally in nature.

    “There are many reasons to believe that the COVID-19 generating SARS-CoV-2 was generated in a lab. Most probably by methods of genetic engineering,” he said.

    “I believe that this is the only way an insertion like the FURIN protease cleavage site could have been introduced directly at the right place and become effective.”

    Dr Shemesh points to the insertion of a Furin site as the most unusual aspect of COVID-19.

    “I believe that the most important issue about the differences between ALL coronavirus types is the insertion of a Fufin protease cleavage site at the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2,” he said.

    “Such an insertion is very rare in evolution, the addition of such 4 Amino acids alone in the course of only 20 years is very unlikely.”

    Dr Shemesh, who has a PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and over 21 years of experience in the field of drug discovery and development, said it is even “more unlikely” that this insertion happened in exactly the right place of the cleavage site of the spike protein - which is where it would need to occur to make the virus more infectious.

    “What makes it even more suspicious is that fact that this insertion not only occurred on the right place and in the right time, but also turned the cleavage site from an Serine protease cleavage site to a FURIN cleavage site,” he said.

    “This protein cleaving protein is highly promiscuous, it’s found in many human tissues and cell types and is involved in many OTHER virus types activation and infection mechanisms (it is involved in HIV, Herpes, Ebola and Dengue virus mechanisms).

    “If I was trying to engineer a virus strain with a higher affinity and infective potential to humans, I would do exactly that: I would add a Furin Cleavage site directly at the original less effective and more cell specific cleavage site.”

    La Trobe University Chemistry and Physics Professor David Winkler says there are several possibilities for the source of COVID-19 and you cannot rule out the laboratory as one option.

    “On the basis of the calculations we’ve done, you can’t exclude that it’s been processed through human cells in a biosecurity lab - but it’s certainly not the only explanation,” he said.

    Flinders University Professor Nikolai Petrovsky says COVID-19 is “exquisitely adapted to infect humans”.

    “I’m certainly very much in favour of a scientific investigation. Its only objective should be to get to the bottom of how did this pandemic happen and how do we prevent a future pandemic.”

    Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and University of British Columbia biologist, Alina Chan, said there was little evidence to definitively say where COVID-19 originated.

    Dr Chan said there is no current evidence to show that the coronavirus originated in the Wuhan wet market.

    “If intermediate animal hosts were present at the market, no evidence remains in the genetic samples available,” she said.

    Leading immunologists and geneticists have told The Daily Telegraph there are two unusual aspects of COVID-19 that raise the possibility it was man-made rather than a naturally-occurring virus.

    “There is no publicly available genetic evidence of cross-species transmission at the Huanan seafood market. But at the same time we cannot rule out the Huanan seafood market because we have not been able to analyse other data, eg, animal samples, from the market.”

    She said human adaptation in nature and in a laboratory is possible.

    “Did SARS-CoV-2 transmit across species into humans and circulate undetected for months prior to late 2019 while accumulating adaptive mutations?” she said.

    “Or was SARS-CoV-2 already well adapted for humans while in bats or an intermediate species?

    “More importantly, does this pool of human-adapted progenitor viruses still exist in animal populations? Even the possibility that a non-genetically-engineered precursor could have adapted to humans while being studied in a laboratory should be considered, regardless of how likely or unlikely.”
    Scientists say COVID-19 may have been cooked up in lab
    Passaging, GOF research, and lab escapes

    GOF is gain of function research (explained in the quote). Terminology varies, passaging can also be considered a subset of GOF.

    The experiment mentioned by Petrovsky represents a class of experiments called passaging. Passaging is the placing of a live virus into an animal or cell culture to which it is not adapted and then, before the virus dies out, transferring it to another animal or cell of the same type. Passaging is often done iteratively. The theory is that the virus will rapidly evolve (since viruses have high mutation rates) and become adapted to the new animal or cell type. Passaging a virus, by allowing it to become adapted to its new situation, creates a new pathogen.

    The most famous such experiment was conducted in the lab of Dutch researcher Ron Fouchier. Fouchier took an avian influenza virus (H5N1) that did not infect ferrets (or other mammals) and serially passaged it in ferrets. The intention of the experiment was specifically to evolve a PPP. After ten passages the researchers found that the virus had indeed evolved, to not only infect ferrets but to transmit to others in neighbouring cages (Herfst et al., 2012). They had created an airborne ferret virus, a Potential Pandemic Pathogen, and a storm in the international scientific community.

    The second class of experiments that have frequently been the recipients of criticism are GOF experiments. In GOF research, a novel virus is deliberately created, either by in vitro mutation or by cutting and pasting together two (or more) viruses. The intention of such reconfigurations is to make viruses more infectious by adding new functions such as increased infectivity or pathogenicity. These novel viruses are then experimented on, either in cell cultures or in whole animals. These are the class of experiments banned in the US from 2014 to 2017.

    Some researchers have even combined GOF and passaging experiments by using recombinant viruses in passaging experiments (e.g. Sheahan et al., 2008).

    Such experiments all require recombinant DNA techniques and animal or cell culture experiments. But the very simplest hypothesis of how Sars-CoV-2 might have been caused by research is simply to suppose that a researcher from the WIV or the WCDCP became infected during a collecting expedition and passed their bat virus on to their colleagues or family. The natural virus then evolved, in these early cases, into Sars-CoV-2. For this reason, even collecting trips have their critics. Epidemiologist Richard Ebright called them “the definition of insanity“. Handling animals and samples exposes collectors to multiple pathogens and returning to their labs then brings those pathogens back to densely crowded locations.
    SARS-CoV-2 looks like a recombinant virus that has been passaged. The trouble is there is no way to prove it was done in a lab just looking at the RNA. However, I find this a more parsimonious explanation than the far-fetched natural explanations for how this could have happened which involve species that would never meet in the wild trading viruses, being infected by two at the same time, and then travelling vast distances from their natural habitat in order to infect people coincidentally next the only lab in the world that contains those viruses' closest relatives. The wet market hypothesis was an attempt to account for these absurdities, but that's not actually where the earliest cases were from.

    Was the WIV doing experiments that might release PPPs?

    The short answer is yes, rather a lot really.

    Since 2004, shortly after the original SARS outbreak, researchers from the WIV have been collecting bat coronaviruses in an intensive search for SARS-like pathogens (Li et al., 2005). Since the original collecting trip, many more have been conducted (Ge et al., 2013; Ge et al., 2016; Hu et al., 2017; Zhou et al., 2018).

    Petrovsky does not mention it but Zheng-Li Shi’s group at the WIV has already performed experiments very similar to those he describes, using those collected viruses. In 2013 the Shi lab reported isolating an infectious clone of a bat coronavirus that they called WIV-1 (Ge et al., 2013). WIV-1 was obtained by introducing a bat coronavirus into monkey cells, passaging it, and then testing its infectivity in human (HeLa) cell lines engineered to express the human ACE2 receptor (Ge et al., 2013).

    In 2014, just before the US GOF research ban went into effect, Zheng-Li Shi of WIV co-authored a paper with the lab of Ralph Baric in North Carolina that performed GOF research on bat coronaviruses (Menachery et al., 2015).

    In this particular set of experiments the researchers combined “the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone” into a single engineered live virus. The spike was supplied by the Shi lab. They put this bat/human/mouse virus into cultured human airway cells and also into live mice. The researchers observed “notable pathogenesis” in the infected mice (Menachery et al. 2015). The mouse-adapted part of this virus comes from a 2007 experiment in which the Baric lab created a virus called rMA15 through passaging (Roberts et al., 2007). This rMA15 was “highly virulent and lethal” to the mice. According to this paper, mice succumbed to “overwhelming viral infection”.

    In 2017, again with the intent of identifying bat viruses with ACE2 binding capabilities, the Shi lab at WIV reported successfully infecting human (HeLa) cell lines engineered to express the human ACE2 receptor with four different bat coronaviruses. Two of these were lab-made recombinant (chimaeric) bat viruses. Both the wild and the recombinant viruses were briefly passaged in monkey cells (Hu et al., 2017).

    Together, what these papers show is that: 1) The Shi lab collected numerous bat samples with an emphasis on collecting SARS-like coronavirus strains, 2) they cultured live viruses and conducted passaging experiments on them, 3) members of Zheng-Li Shi’s laboratory participated in GOF experiments carried out in North Carolina on bat coronaviruses, 4) the Shi laboratory produced recombinant bat coronaviruses and placed these in human cells and monkey cells. All these experiments were conducted in cells containing human or monkey ACE2 receptors.

    The overarching purpose of such work was to see whether an enhanced pathogen could emerge from the wild by creating one in the lab. (For a very informative technical summary of WIV research into bat coronaviruses and that of their collaborators we recommend this post, written by biotech entrepreneur Yuri Deigin).

    It also seems that the Shi lab at WIV intended to do more of such research. In 2013 and again in 2017 Zheng-Li Shi (with the assistance of a non-profit called the EcoHealth Alliance) obtained a grant from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). The most recent such grant proposed that:

    “host range (i.e. emergence potential) will be tested experimentally using reverse genetics, pseudovirus and receptor binding assays, and virus infection experiments across a range of cell cultures from different species and humanized mice” (NIH project #5R01Al110964-04).

    It is hard to overemphasize that the central logic of this grant was to test the pandemic potential of SARS-related bat coronaviruses by making ones with pandemic potential, either through genetic engineering or passaging, or both.

    Apart from descriptions in their publications we do not yet know exactly which viruses the WIV was experimenting with but it is certainly intriguing that numerous publications since Sars-CoV-2 first appeared have puzzled over the fact that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binds with exceptionally high affinity to the human ACE2 receptor “at least ten times more tightly” than the original SARS (Zhou et al., 2020; Wrapp et al., 2020; Wan et al., 2020; Walls et al., 2020; Letko et al., 2020).

    This affinity is all the more remarkable because of the relative lack of fit in modelling studies of the SARS-CoV-2 spike to other species, including the postulated intermediates like snakes, civets and pangolins (Piplani et al., 2020). In this preprint these modellers concluded “This indicates that SARS-CoV-2 is a highly adapted human pathogen”.

    Given the research and collection history of the Shi lab at WIV it is therefore entirely plausible that a bat SARS-like cornavirus ancestor of Sars-CoV-2 was trained up on the human ACE2 receptor by passaging it in cells expressing that receptor.

    [On June 4 an excellent article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists went further. Pointing out what we had overlooked, that the Shi lab also amplified spike proteins of collected coronaviruses, which would make them available for GOF experimentation (Ge et al., 2016).]
    The safety record of the WIV

    The short answer again, not very good.

    The final important data point is the biosafety history of the WIV. The WIV was built in 2015 and became a commissioned BSL-4 lab in 2018. According to Josh Rogin of the Washington Post, US embassy officials visited the WIV in 2018. They subsequently warned their superiors in Washington of a “serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory”.

    And according to VOA News, a year before the outbreak, “a security review conducted by a Chinese national team found the lab did not meet national standards in five categories.”

    Credible reports from within China also question lab biosafety and its management. In 2019, Yuan Zhiming, biosecurity specialist at the WIV, cited the “challenges” of biosafety in China. According to Yuan: “several high-level BSLs have insufficient operational funds for routine yet vital processes” and “Currently, most laboratories lack specialized biosafety managers and engineers.” He recommends that “We should promptly revise the existing regulations, guidelines, norms, and standards of biosafety and biosecurity”. Nevertheless, he also notes that China intends to build “5-7” more BSL-4 laboratories (Yuan, 2019).

    And in February 2020, Scientific American interviewed Zheng-Li Shi. Accompanying the interview was a photograph of her releasing a captured bat. In the photo she is wearing a casual pink unzipped top layer, thin gloves, and no face mask or other protection. Yet this is the same researcher whose talks give “chilling” warnings about the dire risks of human contact with bats.

    All of which tends to confirm the original State Department assessment. As one anonymous “senior administration official” told Rogin:

    “The idea that it was just a totally natural occurrence is circumstantial. The evidence it leaked from a lab is circumstantial. Right now, the ledger on the side of it leaking from the lab is packed with bullet points and there’s almost nothing on the other side.”
    The leading hypothesis is a lab outbreak

    This also addresses why you've been hearing something different in the media, a major conflict of interest for the media's star expert witness.

    For all these reasons, a lab escape is by far the leading hypothesis to explain the origins of Sars-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 pandemic. The sheer proximity of the WIV and WCDCP labs to the outbreak and the nature of their work represents evidence that can hardly be ignored. The long international history of lab escapes and the biosafety concerns from all directions about the labs in Wuhan greatly strengthen the case. Especially since evidence for the alternative hypothesis, in the form of a link to wild animal exposure or the wildlife trade, remains extremely weak, being based primarily on analogy with SARS one (Bell et al,. 2004; Andersen et al., 2020).

    Nevertheless, on April 16th Peter Daszak, who is the President of the EcoHealth Alliance, told Democracy Now! in a lengthy interview that the lab escape thesis was “Pure baloney”. He told listeners:

    “There was no viral isolate in the lab. There was no cultured virus that’s anything related to SARS coronavirus 2. So it’s just not possible.”

    Daszak made very similar claims on CNN’s Sixty Minutes: “There is zero evidence that this virus came out of a lab in China.” Instead, Daszak encouraged viewers to blame “hunting and eating wildlife”.

    Daszak’s certainty is highly problematic on several counts. The closest related known coronaviruses to Sars-CoV-2 are to be found at the WIV so a lot depends on what he means by “related to”. But it is also dishonest in the sense that Daszak must know that culturing in the lab is not the only way that WIV researchers could have caused an outbreak. Third, and this is not Daszak’s fault, the media are asking the right question to the wrong person.

    As alluded to above, Daszak is the named principal investigator on multiple US grants that went to the Shi lab at WIV. He is also a co-author on numerous papers with Zheng-Li Shi, including the 2013 Nature paper announcing the isolation of coronavirus WIV-1 through passaging (Ge et al., 2013). One of his co-authorships is on the collecting paper in which his WIV colleagues placed the four fully functional bat coronaviruses into human cells containing the ACE2 receptor (Hu et al. 2017). That is, Daszak and Shi together are collaborators and co-responsible for most of the published high-risk collecting and experimentation at the WIV.
    I wrote about the same issue in the other thread:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    There is a conflict of interest here. Experts on gain of function research are inevitably involved in gain of function research, therefore if the public becomes aware that such research may have inadvertently led to a global pandemic, these experts' careers are in jeopardy.

    Another example, here is a Vox article entitled "Why these scientists still doubt the coronavirus leaked from a Chinese lab". The expert witness being interviewed is "Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance and a disease ecologist who has studied emerging infectious diseases with colleagues in China". The following is from a transcript of an email written by the National Institutes of Health to Daszak:

    EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. is the recipient, as grantee, of an NIH grant entitled “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence.” It is our understanding that one of the sub-recipients on this grant is the Wuhan Institute of Virology (“WIV”). It is our understanding that Wuhan Institute of Virology studies the interaction between corona viruses and bats. The scientific community believes that the coronavirus causing COVID-19 jumped from bats to humans likely in Wuhan where the COVID-19 pandemic began. There are now allegations that the current crisis was precipitated by the release from Wuhan Institute of Virology of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Given these concerns, we are pursuing suspension of Wuhan Institute of Virology from participation in federal programs.

    While we review these allegations during the period of suspension, you are instructed to cease providing any funds to Wuhan Institute of Virology. This temporary action is authorized by 45 C.F.R. §75.371(d) (“Initiate suspension or debarment proceedings as authorized under 2 C.F.R. part 180”). The incorporated OMB provision provides that the funding agency may, through suspension, immediately and temporarily exclude from Federal programs persons who are not presently responsible where “immediate action is necessary to protect the public interest.” 2 C.F.R. § 180.700(c). It is in the public interest that NIH ensure that a sub-recipient has taken all appropriate precautions to prevent the release of pathogens that it is studying. This suspension of the sub-recipient does not affect the remainder of your grant assuming that no grant funds are provided to WIV following receipt of this email during the period of suspension.
    Daszak was involved in gain of function research in collaboration with WIV. The Vox article goes on:

    Some have speculated that perhaps the new coronavirus is derived from RaTG13. Yet virologists say it’s very unlikely: A 4 percent difference in genome is actually huge in evolutionary terms.

    “The level of genome sequence divergence between SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13 is equivalent to an average of 50 years (and at least 20 years) of evolutionary change,” said Edward Holmes, a professor at the University of Sydney who has published six academic papers this year on the genome and origin of SARS-CoV-2, in a statement. “Hence, SARS-CoV-2 was not derived from RaTG13.”

    Another questionable assumption is that the mere existence of a related virus in the lab signals the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 was also there.

    Daszak, who collaborates with the Wuhan bat coronavirus researchers and has co-authored papers with them, says this is false.
    Except speeding up evolution is exactly what gain of function researchers are doing, so that argument doesn't really make any sense. Edward Holmes was also one of the coauthors of the correspondence I addressed in my last post. You can read about his research in this article about how China’s People’s Liberation Army have been kindly providing him data.

    You will see the same handful of of expert witnesses in every article supposedly debunking the "conspiracy theory", but you can see in the article I posted that expert witnesses with nothing to lose are remarkably more open minded, some are suspicious, and for good reason.
    And Fauci's conflict of interest as well:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Quote Originally Posted by Coughdrop addict View Post
    One place it probably didn't originate from is a lab in China. As Dr. Fauci and others have pointed out the idea falls apart on any reasonable examination.
    Fauci has reasons to downplay the likelihood of this possibility. The lab in Wuhan was involved in gain of function research on bat coronaviruses. That is they were deliberately manipulating bat coronavirues in order to make them more transmissible, for the purpose of predicting what might occur naturally in order to prepare for it. This is controversial because of the potential of actually causing a pandemic if the pathogen accidentally gets out.

    This is from an article Fauci wrote on the topic in 2012:

    Scientists working in this field might say—as indeed I have said—that the benefits of such experiments and the resulting knowledge outweigh the risks. It is more likely that a pandemic would occur in nature, and the need to stay ahead of such a threat is a primary reason for performing an experiment that might appear to be risky. However, we must respect that there are genuine and legitimate concerns about this type of research, both domestically and globally. We cannot expect those who have these concerns to simply take us, the scientific community, at our word that the benefits of this work outweigh the risks, nor can we ignore their calls for greater transparency, their concerns about conflicts of interest, and their efforts to engage in a dialog about whether these experiments should have been performed in the first place. Those of us in the scientific community who believe in the merits of this work have the responsibility to address these concerns thoughtfully and respectfully.
    Nevertheless, the organization Fauci heads happened to fund this project which just so happened to involve gain of function research on bat coronaviruses in collaboration with a certain Chinese lab in Wuhan.
    To be clear, I'm open to natural origin explanations as well. I just haven't seen any particularly plausible hypothesis that fits with all the circumstantial evidence. Certainly there is no clear evidence of natural origin. You see, that runs both ways, once you realize just how plausible lab origin is.
    Last edited by sumskilz; June 06, 2020 at 01:33 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.


  2. #2

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    I have seen a number of articles reporting studies that rule out COVID-19 being man made, like one here https://www.biospace.com/article/sto...atural-origin/

    The gist of the article is that there was a modification of a protein spike that made COVID-19.particularly effect, but that models would indicate that the spike wouldn't work. Personally, the logic of the researcher seem dubious. Simply because the researchers' model.didn't predict success of the mutation doesn't mean that others don't have better models.


    That there are so many articles desperately trying to prove COVID-19 is natural makes me think exactly the opposite, especially the "logic" used to show it must be natural. It is a case of "the lady dost protest too much". I wouls not be surprised if China secretly funded all research showing COVID-19 is natural.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    I have seen a number of articles reporting studies that rule out COVID-19 being man made, like one here https://www.biospace.com/article/sto...atural-origin/

    The gist of the article is that there was a modification of a protein spike that made COVID-19.particularly effect, but that models would indicate that the spike wouldn't work. Personally, the logic of the researcher seem dubious. Simply because the researchers' model.didn't predict success of the mutation doesn't mean that others don't have better models.
    Yeah, using bat coronaviruses and recombinant viruses, the WIV lab was doing passaging experiments on human cell lines engineered to express human ACE2 receptors. That is exactly how one would produce a coronavirus spike protein which would efficiently bind to human ACE2 receptors, without advance knowledge of exactly how it would evolve.

    If Andersen has some knowledge of the scientific literature within his own field, he must know that. Yet for some reason, he never mentions it.
    Last edited by sumskilz; June 06, 2020 at 05:40 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.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    You see, that runs both ways, once you realize just how plausible lab origin is..
    Highly implausible.
    #1733

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    there are so many articles desperately trying to prove COVID-19 is natural.
    It's exactly the opposite. There are so many conspiracy theorists that prefer to make up something out of thin air. I'm not surprised, the political hate is great.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    I'm not referring to sumskilz

    ---
    It all comes down to this:
    1) ACE2 is known to be a cell receptor for SARS-CoV. We already know this since 2005. ACE2 Receptor Expression and Severe Acute Respiratory ...
    2) CoV-2 also utilizes ACE2 as a cellular entry receptor.
    Last edited by Ludicus; June 06, 2020 at 01:10 PM.
    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

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludicus View Post
    Highly implausible.
    #1733
    So they say...

    I'll address the part of Andersen et al's argument relevant to this thread.

    They write:

    Quote Originally Posted by Andersen et al
    3. Selection during passage

    Basic research involving passage of bat SARS-CoV-like coronaviruses in cell culture and/or animal models has been ongoing for many years in biosafety level 2 laboratories across the world, and there are documented instances of laboratory escapes of SARS-CoV. We must therefore examine the possibility of an inadvertent laboratory release of SARS-CoV-2.

    In theory, it is possible that SARS-CoV-2 acquired RBD mutations (Fig. 1a) during adaptation to passage in cell culture, as has been observed in studies of SARS-CoV11.
    So they concede both that it's possible that the mutations could have been created via passaging in a lab, and that related viruses have escaped from labs in the past, but they go on to say:

    Quote Originally Posted by Andersen et al
    The finding of SARS-CoV-like coronaviruses from pangolins with nearly identical RBDs, however, provides a much stronger and more parsimonious explanation of how SARS-CoV-2 acquired these via recombination or mutation19.
    However, this argument no longer withstands scrutiny.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhan et al
    Speculations that pangolins are the likely intermediate animal host stemmed from the discovery of a pangolin CoV that shares 95.4% S amino acid identity and six key RBD residues with SARS-CoV-2 (40). Since then, another closely related lineage of pangolin CoVs has been identified (41). However, the unique polybasic furin cleavage site in the SARS-CoV-2 S is not found in pangolin CoVs (42), and SARS-CoV-2 is not a recent recombinant involving any of the CoVs sampled to date (41,43,44). The CoV that is most closely related to SARS-CoV-2 is RaTG13, a bat CoV that was identified at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and originally isolated from the Yunnan Province of China (45). RaTG13 shares 96.2% genome identity with the Wuhan-Hu-1 SARS-CoV-2 isolate. In comparison, the most closely related pangolin CoV MP789 shares only 84.1% and 84.0% genome identity with Wuhan-Hu-1 and RaTG13, respectively. No evidence as yet points to the adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 for human infection in pangolins or the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from pangolins to humans.
    Returning to Andersen et al:

    Quote Originally Posted by Andersen et al
    The acquisition of both the polybasic cleavage site and predicted O-linked glycans also argues against culture-based scenarios. New polybasic cleavage sites have been observed only after prolonged passage of low-pathogenicity avian influenza virus in vitro or in vivo.
    The implication here is a non-sequitur. Anything that can evolve in the wild can likewise evolve during passaging if it's adaptive in that context.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andersen et al
    Furthermore, a hypothetical generation of SARS-CoV-2 by cell culture or animal passage would have required prior isolation of a progenitor virus with very high genetic similarity, which has not been described.
    The closest relative that has been described is in the Wuhan lab. It was collected in 2013, and was not published until after COVID-19 was spreading among the population. If at that point, they had a strain even closer, it's unlikely their superiors would have allowed them to publish it. Nevertheless, as other experts have noted, RaTG13 is close enough to be the progenitor, especially if it has (or has been) recombined with something else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andersen et al
    Subsequent generation of a polybasic cleavage site would have then required repeated passage in cell culture or animals with ACE2 receptors similar to those of humans, but such work has also not previously been described.
    Actually, WIV was passaging various bat coronaviruses and recombinants through cultures of human cells specifically engineered to abundantly express ACE2 receptors. Also monkey cells. The references are in the OP.

    In summery, the only portions of Andersen et al's argument relevant to the hypothesis outlined in the OP that stand up to scrutiny, are those parts that support it.

    Which are:

    1) There is a history of dangerous coronaviruses escaping from labs.

    2) It is possible that SAR-CoV-2 acquired its RBD mutations via passaging in a lab.

    3) The polybasic cleavage site could have been generated by repeated passage through a cell culture with human-like [or human] ACE2 receptors.

    And regarding those three points, obviously I agree with them.
    Last edited by sumskilz; June 06, 2020 at 03:08 PM. Reason: fixed a couple spelling errors
    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.


  6. #6
    Ludicus's Avatar Vicarius Provinciae
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    1) the HIV theory was already debunked. (Étienne Simon-Lorière and Goffard). Montagnier also stated that the elements of the plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest species of Plasmodium, can also be seen in the genome of SARS-Cov 2. I guess he forgot to mention the Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae.
    A. Fauci agrees, sentence him to the galleys.

    2) The lab accident theory is more sophisticated.

    There are hundreds of of new coronavirus in bats in Southern China with high potential risk of interspecies transmission. 630 new coronavirus were recently identified. So, its reasonable to expect a new pandemic of a new COV-3.This is the most likely hypothesis for the origin of the COV-2 outbreak.

    RNA viruses are fast-evolving, allowing them to more quickly adapt to novel hosts. These future cross-species transmission events will have profound implications for conservation and public health, potentially devastating populations of host species without evolved resistance to novel viruses. Beware the alphavirus.
    This study presents a way to predict current and future patterns of infection among mammal species globally, and for all known viruses. The new model displays a strong ability to predict reservoir hosts for a given virus and was validate using data from 250 viruses with more than one wildlife host.
    Predicting the global mammalian viral sharing network using phylogeography
    Published 08 May.
    ------
    The research group in question is the EcoHealth Alliance. Trump, the new American Torquemada, already took action by banning the EHAllience,

    As a result of that,
    77 Nobel Laureates Denounce Trump Officials For Pulling Coronavirus reasarch Grant

    In an open letter to a top Trump Administration official, 77 Nobel prize-winning American scientists say they are "gravely concerned" about the recent abrupt cancellation of a federal grant to a U.S. non-profit that was researching coronaviruses in China. The laureates say that the move, announced on April 24, "sets a dangerous precedent by interfering in the conduct of science" and "deprives the nation and the world of highly regarded science that could help control one of the greatest health crises in modern history and those that may arise in the future."

    Multiple virologists who are familiar with lab accidents as well as the way that coronavirus research is conducted have discounted the accident theory as nearly impossible. Yet a few days after a White House press conference at which President Trump promised action on the issue – and erroneously implied that the entirety of the grant had gone to the Wuhan Institute — NIH terminated the funding.

    EcoHealth Alliance's president Peter Daszak has told NPR that as a result, his group hasn't just lost the ability to look for new viruses in China. They — and the many international researchers with whom they share their data – have also lost access to the vast collection of distinct coronavirus samples already collected. These include around 50 from a category that caused the 2002 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and, now, the COVID-19 pandemic.
    --
    Back to a non conspiracy origin of the COV-2,

    Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 through recombination and strong purifying selection
    Published 29 May
    .... We show evidence of strong purifying selection around the receptor binding motif (RBM) in the spike and other genes among bat, pangolin, and human coronaviruses, suggesting similar evolutionary constraints in different host species. We also demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2’s entire RBM was introduced through recombination with coronaviruses from pangolins, possibly a critical step in the evolution of SARS-CoV-2’s ability to infect humans. Similar purifying selection in different host species, together with frequent recombination among coronaviruses, suggest a common evolutionary mechanism that could lead to new emerging human coronaviruses.
    ...In this paper we demonstrate, through localized genomic analysis, a complex pattern of evolutionary recombination and strong purifying selection between CoVs from distinct host species and that cross-species infections that likely originated SARS-CoV-2.

    Last edited by Ludicus; June 06, 2020 at 05:35 PM.
    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

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludicus View Post
    Back to a non conspiracy origin of the COV-2,

    Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 through recombination and strong purifying selection
    Published 29 May
    That is not new information. That's the same old paper that has been available as a preprint since back in March. The date is just the date it went into formal publication.

    They argue that SARS-CoV-2 is a recombinant that has been highly selected. Since WIV was performing passaging experiments on recombinants, this is entirely consistent with the lab escape hypothesis.

    On the other hand, their data poses a number of problems for the natural origin hypothesis, since it requires that an infected bat from Yunnan somehow passed the virus to a pangolin in Guangdong who just so happened to simultaneously be infected with a different strain of coronavirus. Even without bothering to consider the altitude bats typically tend to hang out at relative to pangolins, I believe ~16,000 kilometers well exceeds the social distancing guidelines. Not that I expect bats and pangolins generally do much socializing with each other. Pangolins are also quite rare, not so easy to find these days. Now the two viruses had to recombine inside the pangolin, and the pangolin would then have to somehow infect a person in Wuhan ~950 kilometers away, which again I believe well exceeds the social distancing guidelines. The wet market hypothesis was meant to account for these absurdities, but as it turns out, many of those who were sick early on, including the first patient, had no contact with the wet market, and no animals from the wet market were found to be contaminated. That brings us to the entirely unaccounted for absurdity. SARS-CoV-2 appeared from the beginning to be highly adapted to humans, much more so than some diseases that are already endemic to our species, yet it doesn't infect pangolins nearly as well. So we have to believe that being in a pangolin somehow selected for much greater infectivity in humans than in pangolins. This goes entirely against anything known from evolutionary theory.

    Objectively, the lab escape hypothesis is more parsimonious, in that it requires many less assumptions, and is more consistent with the circumstantial evidence.
    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.


  8. #8
    Ludicus's Avatar Vicarius Provinciae
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    That's the same old paper that has been available as a preprint since back in March.
    You have an amazing memory
    I guess not peer-reviewed.

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    this is entirely consistent with the lab escape hypothesis.
    Wishful thinking. No, they argue that there is pattern of evolutionary recombination and strong purifying selection between CoVs from distinct host species and that cross-species infections that likely originated SARS-CoV-2. Period.
    The conclusion is:"While the direct reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 is still being sought, one thing is clear: reducing or eliminating direct human contact with wild animals is critical to preventing new coronavirus zoonosis in the future"

    There is no evidence that "passage experiments" in a lab played any role, there is no evidence that the virus was created in a lab. The burden of proof remains upon the conspiracy theorists. Until then, the lab theory will remain a pure speculation. Politically charged, wild speculations don't make good science. Fauci is guilty of nothing. Fauci rightly rejects conspiracy theory the virus escaped Chinese lab- in consonance with I just said, in the previous post. He goes on saying,

    If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what's out there now, the scientific evidence is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated. A number of very qualified evolutionary biologists have said that everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that it evolved in nature and then jumped species. The virus was in the wild to begin with. That's why I don't get what they're talking about and why I don't spend a lot of time going in on this circular argument. Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that this virus evolved in nature and then jumped species"
    The Novel Coronavirus

    Robert Garry, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane University School of Medicine, said this dynamic is familiar. “Every time there’s an outbreak, people say, oh, there’s a lab close by.”
    He should know: In 2014, during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, conspiracy theorists alleged his team’s lab in Sierra Leone, not far from the origin of the outbreak, was a George Soros-funded bioweapons site
    Last edited by Ludicus; June 07, 2020 at 04:03 AM.
    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

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludicus View Post
    Wishful thinking. No, they argue that there is pattern of evolutionary recombination and strong purifying selection between CoVs from distinct host species and that cross-species infections that likely originated SARS-CoV-2. Period.
    The conclusion is:"While the direct reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 is still being sought, one thing is clear: reducing or eliminating direct human contact with wild animals is critical to preventing new coronavirus zoonosis in the future"

    There is no evidence that "passage experiments" in a lab played any role, there is no evidence that the virus was created in a lab. The burden of proof remains upon the conspiracy theorists. Until then, the lab theory will remain a pure speculation. Politically charged, wild speculations don't make good science. Fauci is guilty of nothing. Fauci rightly rejects conspiracy theory the virus escaped Chinese lab- in consonance with I just said, in the previous post.
    These are not valid counter-arguments. Aside from the ad hominems and the appeal to authority, all I see here is that you haven't understood the argument you're responding to. The result of recombination in a lab and purifying selection in successive cultures of cells would be indistinguishable from natural evolution. In fact, that is the entire point of passage experiments. They are meant to accelerate evolution in a particular direction in order to produce deadly viruses that may one day evolve naturally. The puzzling aspect of SARS-CoV-2 is that it appeared suddenly pre-adapted to efficiently infecting humans.

    Quoting Zhan et al:

    The pairwise comparisons of dN and dS, alongside a dearth of signs of emerging adaptive mutations, suggest that by the time SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in late 2019, it was already well adapted for human transmission to an extent more similar to late epidemic than to early-to-mid epidemic SARS-CoV. One possible scenario is that the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in late 2019 resulted from a bottleneck event similar to the late epidemic SARS-CoV cases that stemmed from a single superspreader who visited Metropole Hotel in Hong Kong, China in late February, 2003 (36). In comparison to the SARS-CoV epidemic, the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic appears to be missing an early phase during which the virus would be expected to accumulate adaptive mutations for human transmission. However, if this were the origin story of SARS-CoV-2, there is a surprising absence of precursors or branches emerging from a less recent, less adapted common ancestor among humans and animals. In the case of SARS-CoV, the less human-adapted SARS-CoV progenated multiple branches of evolution in both humans and animals (Figure 1, Figure 5). In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 appeared without peer in late 2019, suggesting that there was a single introduction of the human-adapted form of the virus into the human population. This has important implications regarding the risk of SARS-CoV-2 re-emergence in the near future and the severity of its consequences.

    It is important to recall that there were two SARS-CoV outbreaks in 2002-2004, each arising from separate palm civet-to-human transmission events (Figure 5): the first emerged in late 2002 and ended in August, 2003; the second arose in late 2003 from a lingering population of SARS-CoV progenitors in civets. The second outbreak was swiftly suppressed due to diligent human and animal host tracking, informed by lessons from the first outbreak (37,38). To prevent similar consecutive outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 today, it is vital to learn from the past and implement measures to minimize the risk of additional SARS-CoV-2-like precursors adapting to and re-emerging among humans. To do so, it is important to identify the route by which SARS-CoV-2 adapted for human transmission. However, there is presently little evidence to definitively support any particular scenario of SARS-CoV-2 adaptation. Did SARS-CoV-2 transmit across species into humans and circulate undetected for months prior to late 2019 while accumulating adaptive mutations? Or was SARS-CoV-2 already well adapted for humans while in bats or an intermediate species? More importantly, does this pool of human-adapted progenitor viruses still exist in animal populations? Even the possibility that a non-genetically-engineered precursor could have adapted to humans while being studied in a laboratory should be considered, regardless of how likely or unlikely (39).
    Obviously scientists on the record are very careful with their words, but like many others, they note the plausibility of the lab escape hypothesis to explain this puzzling aspect of SARS-CoV-2.

    As far as Fauci's opinion, the man has a serious conflict of interest. As does Peter Daszak. If the lab escape hypothesis turns out to be true, rightly or wrongly, they both will be seen as partially responsible. Fauci ended the funding moratorium on such experiments that had been put into place due to their perceived danger, and signed off on Daszak's grant to collaborate with WIV on the following:

    Details of the most recent National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) grant for WIV bat coronavirus surveillance and WIV bat coronavirus gain of function research are publicly available. The key activity for bat coronavirus surveillance is “Aim 1 … We will sequence receptor binding domains (spike proteins) to identify viruses with the highest potential for spillover which we will include in our experimental investigations (Aim 3).” The key activity for bat coronavirus gain of function investigation is “Aim 3…. We will use S protein sequence data, infectious clone technology, in vitro and in vivo infection experiments, and analysis of receptor binding to test the hypothesis that % divergence thresholds in S protein sequences predict spillover potential.”28

    Translated into something approaching lay language, Aim 3 states that de novo synthesis is to be used to construct a series of novel chimeric viruses, comprising recombinant hybrids using different spike proteins from each of a series of unpublished natural coronaviruses in an otherwise-constant genome of a bat coronavirus. The ability of the resulting novel viruses to infect human cells in culture and to infect laboratory animals would be tested. The underlying hypothesis is that a direct correlation would be found between the receptor-binding affinity of the spike protein and the ability to infect human cells in culture and to infect laboratory animals. This hypothesis would be tested by asking whether novel viruses encoding spike proteins with the highest receptor-binding affinity have the highest ability to infect human cells in culture and laboratory animals.

    The WIV began its gain of function research program for bat coronaviruses in 2015. Using a natural virus, institute researchers made “substitutions in its RNA coding to make it more transmissible. They took a piece of the original SARS virus and inserted a snippet from a SARS-like bat coronavirus, resulting in a virus that is capable of infecting human cells.”29 This meant it could be transmitted from experimental animal to experimental animal by aerosol transmission, which means that it could do the same for humans. In other words, gain of function techniques were used to turn bat coronaviruses into human pathogens capable of causing a global pandemic.

    There have been three publications, in 2015,30 2016 and 2017, describing the WIV gain of function research. The WIV, having learned both basic and traceless infectious-clone technology from joint research with a laboratory at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in 2015, initiated construction of novel chimeric coronaviruses without UNC immediately thereafter. WIV’s first publication on the use of basic infectious-clone technology to construct novel chimeric coronaviruses at WIV appeared in 2016.31 WIV’s first publication on the use of traceless, signature-free infectious-clone technology also appeared in 2016.32

    As this article was being edited, two excellent publications appeared that provide greater technical detail on WIV’s gain of function research, and readers should certainly examine these with care.33 The two papers strongly support the argument that the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak was the results of an escape from one of the two Chinese virology laboratories in Wuhan.

    The Chinese government has proudly stated that the WIV “preserves more than 1,500 strains of virus,” the largest collection in Asia of bat and other coronaviruses.34 (The government statement probably should have said 1,500 isolates rather than “strains.”) The 2019 interview with Shi in Scientific American reports that the WIV had at least hundreds of individual strains.35 These numbers have been reported by Chinese government authorities, and they are being taken at face value here.

    From 2004 on, the WIV published many dozens of partial or full genome sequences of coronaviruses in their collection. On June 1, Daszak and Shi published partial genetic sequences of 781 Chinese bat coronaviruses, more than one-third of which had never been published previously.36 There are also multiple published records of animal infection research with bat coronaviruses at the WIV. In order to carry out the research program described above, the WIV laboratory needs to use live viruses, and not just RNA fragments. This contradicts two of the assertions, made by some commentators, that Shi worked only with RNA fragments and that her laboratory did not maintain live viruses. On May 24, 2020, the director of the WIV acknowledged that the laboratory did have “three live strains of bat corona viruses on site,” but implied only three.37 Knowledgeable virologists assume that the number must be much higher, probably hundreds of live viral isolates.38

    It is precisely in the course of the kind of gain of function research that the WIV conducted that there would be the greatest likelihood of infection of a laboratory researcher. Many commentators have noted that millions of people in several western Chinese provinces, as well as in other South Asian countries, live their lives in daily proximity to bat caves and that serological testing has shown a fraction of these villagers to have antibodies to bat coronaviruses, showing that natural infection had occurred. The commentators argue therefore that “the odds” are in favor of SARS-CoV-2 having arisen in the field, and that a laboratory escape is so implausible that it is out of consideration. The logic of “the odds” is specious: It would take only a single laboratory infection to overcome “the odds,” if such could in fact be reckoned. That is essentially what happened in the four SARS laboratory infections that occurred in the Beijing laboratory in 2004; “the odds” for exposure of villagers in Yunnan province were irrelevant.

    Since the SARS-CoV-2 genome was decoded and published, there have been numerous statements from virologists that the genome shows no indication of genetic manipulation, and that this too supports the argument that it arose in the field and did not escape from a laboratory. Although this argument implicitly recognizes that the WIV laboratory was using genetic engineering technology, there is no reason to arbitrarily assume that only a bat coronavirus that was genetically modified might have escaped from the laboratory. Nevertheless, the second portion of the NIAID research grant design made absolutely clear that the WIV would be applying genetic engineering techniques to bat coronaviruses. Using the current standard genetic engineering technology, many alterations of several bases in the RNA genome would be undetectable, including construction of a chimeric coronavirus encoding an unpublished spike protein in an unpublished genome. This would be the equivalent of a natural mutation in several bases that coded for the spike proteins.

    An article in Independent Science News by Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson discusses another mechanism, described by Nikolai Petrovsky of Flinders University in Australia, that could have resulted in the SARS-CoV-2 virus that produced the pandemic:

    Take a bat coronavirus that is not infectious to humans, and force its selection by culturing it with cells that express human ACE2 receptor, such cells having been created many years ago to culture SARS coronaviruses and you can force the bat virus to adapt to infect human cells via mutations in its spike protein, which would have the effect of increasing the strength of its binding to human ACE2, and inevitably reducing the strength of its binding to bat ACE2.

    Viruses in prolonged culture will also develop other random mutations that do not affect its function. The result of these experiments is a virus that is highly virulent in humans but is sufficiently different that it no longer resembles the original bat virus. Because the mutations are acquired randomly by selection there is no signature of a human gene jockey, but this is clearly a virus still created by human intervention.39
    That's from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists recent article entitled "Did the SARS-CoV-2 virus arise from a bat coronavirus research program in a Chinese laboratory? Very possibly". You might enjoy it Ludicus, the author is very upset about Trump.
    Last edited by sumskilz; June 07, 2020 at 10:54 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.


  10. #10
    swabian's Avatar Suspended by Request
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Creepy... creepy. Alright, i don't have to read the full thread to consider this hypothesis thanks to sumskilz high credibility in my book (+rep for supporting my laziness). I just have one question right now @sumskilz: Do you want to insinuate that this could be an attack scenario with a B-weapon or simply an accident?

  11. #11

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by swabian View Post
    Do you want to insinuate that this could be an attack scenario with a B-weapon or simply an accident?
    If it came from the Wuhan lab, it was an accident.
    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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    swabian's Avatar Suspended by Request
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    If it came from the Wuhan lab, it was an accident.
    I just noticed that you already said that the leading hypothesis is an accident, please excuse me. Well, that still kind of implies that there is a chance the virus could have been set free deliberately, which is just a chilling outlook. The evidence obviously strongly points to Wuhan being epicentral to the outbreak and the "accident-hypothesis", centered in Wuhan, would also fit in with the clandestine nature of the local government regarding the outbreak. Still, the question remains that, what were those guys even doing there engineering a corona type virus like that - if it's true.

    Let's speculate for a moment about a deliberate release of this specific virus, though. What could possibly be the motive for that? Murdering the elderly worldwide is hardly beneficial for China and i think there are only vague rumors about how the virus impacts Chinese economy. Now that the CDC-access to China has been withdrawn because of Trumps impulsive reaction to the weird behavior of the WHO (which makes sense if looked at more closely), we can hardly hope for clarification, of course.
    Last edited by swabian; June 07, 2020 at 12:53 PM.

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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    The point of these virological experiments is to prepare ourselves for the possibility of a future outbreak of a similar pandemic. It helps scientists understand how the disease propagates and adjusts to its new environment, as well as inventing appropriate cures and counter-measures to limit its transmission and lethality. Theoretically speaking, I imagine that this approach is technically the wisest, as it functions preemptively and contributes to protect humanity against potential threats, before they even emerge. The controversy originates from the fact such engineering also requires extreme measures of security, otherwise it may cause the same catastrophe it was supposedly design to negate. Impeccable security is practically unfeasible, but the issue is further exacerbated by budget cuts or simple negligence.

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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    When I query ‘wuhan lab outbreak’, the second result is this nature article. What does the forum think of it? https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01541-z

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    The point of these virological experiments is to prepare ourselves for the possibility of a future outbreak of a similar pandemic. It helps scientists understand how the disease propagates and adjusts to its new environment, as well as inventing appropriate cures and counter-measures to limit its transmission and lethality. Theoretically speaking, I imagine that this approach is technically the wisest, as it functions preemptively and contributes to protect humanity against potential threats, before they even emerge. The controversy originates from the fact such engineering also requires extreme measures of security, otherwise it may cause the same catastrophe it was supposedly design to negate. Impeccable security is practically unfeasible, but the issue is further exacerbated by budget cuts or simple negligence.
    I for one, agree. The problems could arise if there are weaknesses in said bio-security.
    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.

  15. #15

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by swabian View Post
    I just noticed that you already said that the leading hypothesis is an accident, please excuse me. Well, that still kind of implies that there is a chance the virus could have been set free deliberately, which is just a chilling outlook. The evidence obviously strongly points to Wuhan being epicentral to the outbreak and the "accident-hypothesis", centered in Wuhan, would also fit in with the clandestine nature of the local government regarding the outbreak. Still, the question remains that, what were those guys even doing there engineering a corona type virus like that - if it's true.
    Well, they were definitely creating viruses like SARS-CoV-2 there. There's no doubt about that, because they published articles and wrote research proposals indicating just that. They were hybridizing viruses and running them repeatedly through human cell cultures in order to make them more infectious to people. The rationale is to figure out what dangerous viruses might evolve in the future and study them, but obviously this is controversial research because of the risk of them inadvertently causing a pandemic.

    That said, there is no solid evidence for the origin either way, other than to say at least part of the virus came from bats. I think the circumstantial evidence best supports an accidental release from the WIV lab, but the majority of scientists who do this sort of research themselves prefer suggesting it evolved without human intervention. Of course they would though, if the public became worried about viruses escaping from their labs, it could effectively put an end to their careers. Plus some of the loudest naysayers were actually involved in the Wuhan experiments. The media never seems to understand this conflict of interest when interviewing them.

    Quote Originally Posted by swabian View Post
    Let's speculate for a moment about a deliberate release of this specific virus, though. What could possibly be the motive for that? Murdering the elderly worldwide is hardly beneficial for China and i think there are only vague rumors about how the virus impacts Chinese economy. Now that the CDC-access to China has been withdrawn because of Trumps impulsive reaction to the weird behavior of the WHO (which makes sense if looked at more closely), we can hardly hope for clarification, of course.
    I don't see any rational motivation. Possibly just some psychotic employee, but I'd bet if that were the case, they probably had worse stuff there that could have been released. I'm close to certain that it wasn't deliberate.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Aexodus View Post
    When I query ‘wuhan lab outbreak’, the second result is this nature article. What does the forum think of it? https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01541-z
    The author isn't particularly knowledgeable. It's just a news story not a scientific paper so that's expected. It repeats Andersen et al's arguments for the most part, but brings in a few other views. I think it's alright.

    This part is important:

    But several scientists say that although they do not believe that the virus escaped from the lab, analyses are limited in what they can reveal about its origin.

    There is unlikely to be a characteristic sign that a genome has been manipulated, says Jack Nunberg, a virologist at the University of Montana in Missoula, who does not believe the virus came from a lab. If, for instance, scientists had added instructions for a furin cleavage site into the virus’s genome, “there is no way to know whether humans or nature inserted the site”, he says.

    In the end, it will be very difficult, or even impossible, to prove or disprove the theory that the virus escaped from a lab, says Milad Miladi, who studies RNA evolution at the University of Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany.
    Regarding that last sentence, if samples are found of a less human adapted progenitor or peer strain in people, perhaps in blood donations dating back to just before the outbreak. I think that would sufficiently undermine the lab escape hypothesis.
    Last edited by sumskilz; June 07, 2020 at 01:36 PM.
    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.


  16. #16
    swabian's Avatar Suspended by Request
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    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Thanks for the insight. Of course i'm aware that whatever virologists do in their labs is to predict the direct and indirect effects on humans, with the exception of B-weapons. But I wasn't aware of how accessible to the public this has been.

    Thinking about it, it makes sense that they were studying an artificial corona strain that, more so than common flues and corona viruses, especially attacks the elderly... except that that can only be observed when living humans are actually exposed to it, so, given the specifications of the virus, it still looks a little bit odd. But nevermind.

    Well, looks like you're making a very plausible point. Good thing this is being pointed out, given the abundance of paranoia surrounding the topic.

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

    Everything I said before in previous posts, including the Nature analitycal paper, another paper that presents a phylogenetic analysis suggesting a likely origin for SARS-CoV-2 in Rhinolophus bats, and even more. what it will take to trace the coronavirus ...

    i admire your effort, trying to discredit Fauci and Daszak, but in my opinion, you should stop wasting neurons in political charged, speculative theories. It's unnecessary. Just ask Pompeo to deliver the "strong evidence" that he just can't share it with the world. We are still waiting for the "enormous evidence" (sic).

    debunking the biggest US coronavirus myths - The Guardian


    There are a broad range of claims about the origins of Covid-19, owing in part to the propaganda battle between the US and China regarding its origin. But one of the most persistent claims is that the virus was manufactured, engineered or released from a lab.
    One proponent of this idea was the creator of Plandemic, a viral video espousing disinformation from a discredited scientist named Judy Mikovitz. She has also pushes the long-debunked theory that vaccines could “kill millions”. In fact, they have saved countless lives by preventing severe infectious diseases.
    ---
    What should worry us? the NIH decision to terminate a grant that supported research into bat coronaviruses in China ( previous post).

    77 American Nobel prizes + 31 scientific societies asked the NIH and the secretary of Health and Human Services to "act urgently" to review the anti-scientific, political decision to terminate the grant.


    From the news,
    This group hasn't just lost the ability to look for new viruses in China.
    They — and the many international researchers with whom they share their data – have also lost access to the vast collection of distinct coronavirus samples already collected. These include around 50 from a category that caused the 2002 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and, now, the COVID-19 pandemic.
    This is what should worry us all.
    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

  18. #18

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludicus View Post
    Everything I said before in previous posts, including the Nature analitycal paper, another paper that presents a phylogenetic analysis suggesting a likely origin for SARS-CoV-2 in Rhinolophus bats, and even more. what it will take to trace the coronavirus ...
    Once gain, this isn't a counter argument. There are no factual disagreements here. While the tone of that Nature news article is skeptical (largely following Andersen et al, which they published), the factual aspects are 100% consistent with everything I've been saying. I literally quoted that article at the end of my last post.

    Everyone agrees that SARS-CoV-2 is most likely descended from a virus in Rhinolophus bats. Everyone agrees that it appears to also have RNA that might have come from a Pangolin coronavirus. Just looking at the RNA, there is no way to distinguish whether this recombination between the two happened in an organism in the wild or in a cell culture in a lab. And furthermore, according to the Nature article you just linked:

    If, for instance, scientists had added instructions for a furin cleavage site into the virus’s genome, “there is no way to know whether humans or nature inserted the site”
    There is a certain amount of intuition involved in assessing circumstantial evidence. People will draw different conclusions regarding plausibility one way or another, but if the intent is to form a factual counterargument, it's pointless to post articles which are factually consistent with everything I've been saying. These are the most important pieces of circumstantial evidence which support the lab escape hypothesis:

    1) When SARS-CoV-2 first appeared it was a single strain that was already highly adapted to infecting humans. No less human adapted progenitors or peer strains have been found.

    2) No progenitor strain has yet been found in nature.

    3) The two animal hosts which carry strains related to those which contributed to the hypothesized progenitor don't live anywhere near each other and don't interact.

    4) The Wuhan lab is well-documented as having been performing the exact type of experiments that would produce a virus like SARS-CoV-2.

    5) The outbreak started next to the Wuhan lab and far away from where any of the proposed animal hosts live.

    6) There is a history of concerns about the Wuhan lab's security.

    7) There is a history of related coronaviruses escaping from labs, several times in China.

    I would also add this suspicious order:

    A PBS NewHour presentation on May 22, 2020 provided the following information:

    On January 1, Wuhan Institute of Virology’s director general, Yanyi Wang, messaged her colleagues, saying the National Health Commission told her the lab’s COVID-19 data shall not be published on social media and shall not be disclosed to the media. And on January 3, the commission sent this document, never posted online, but saved by researchers, telling labs to destroy COVID-19 samples or send them to the depository institutions designated by the state. Late Friday [May 16, 2020] the Chinese government admitted to the destruction … but said it was for public safety.

    The Chinese government explanation for the destruction of SARS-CoV-2 samples has no scientific credibility. For purposes of “public safety” any samples would surely be stored and studied, exactly as with the ones that were isolated from patients, and their RNA genomes decoded and published.
    Source

    If there is something that calls into question, or forces a reassessment of those points of circumstantial evidence, that I'd be interested in.

    I don't know or care about what Pompeo said.
    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.


  19. #19

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Looks like the QAnon brigade has infiltrated twcenter

    Ignore the conspiracy theories: scientists know Covid-19 wasn't created in a lab

    Peter Daszak

    Instead of following false claims, we should be focusing our efforts on the regions where the next pandemic is likely to emerge

    Peter Daszak is president of EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to analysing and preventing pandemics


    Tue 9 Jun 2020 20.14 AESTFirst published on Tue 9 Jun 2020 18.00 AEST





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    The Wuhan Institute of Virology, the source, according to conspiracy theorists, of the Covid-19 virus. Photograph: Héctor Retamal/AFP/Getty ImagesIn a recent interview with the Telegraph, the former head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove cited an “important” scientific report that suggested that the novel coronavirus had not emerged naturally, but had been created by Chinese scientists. Dearlove said he believed the pandemic had “started as an accident” after the virus escaped the lab. A month earlier, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, had said he had “enormous evidence” that Covid-19 had originated in a lab in China, only to backtrack from this claim on live TV in the same sentence.
    Suggestions that Covid-19 is a manmade virus are the latest chapter in a tale of blame, misinformation and finger-pointing. Cue the conspiracy theorists, marching out their narrative about the high-security BSL-4 lab in Wuhan, where mysterious experiments to design “frankenviruses” led to the tragic global pandemic. Cue the genetic analyses pointing to “unexpected” insertions in the code of A, G, T, and C that explain how this virus could not have evolved naturally. Cue political posturing against China, with calls for an inquiry, trade sanctions and even reparations.

    Coronavirus: the week explained - sign up for our email newsletter




    Read more



    Determining the origins and emergence of a pandemic is as messy and complex as studying a plane crash. Just as an air crash investigator pieces together fragments at a crash site, pinpointing the origins of a new virus is painstakingly difficult and time-consuming, and requires logic and reason. I know, because this is exactly what our organisation, EcoHealth Alliance, does. We work around the world to identify the origins of pandemics, map them and analyse them, and use these results to predict where the next pandemic will likely emerge. We then target these “hotspots” for enhanced surveillance, capacity-building and risk-reduction programmes to prevent diseases emerging.
    We have spent the past 15 years working in China to analyse the group of viruses from which Sars and now Covid-19 have emerged. Sampling more than 16,000 bats, we showed that Sars emerged from a cluster of coronaviruses carried by horseshoe bats that are abundant across southern and central China and traded frequently in wet markets. We found Sars-related viruses that could infect human cells in the lab, cause diseases in lab animals, and evade drugs and vaccines designed to protect us. We worked with the scientists behind the breakthrough drug Remdesivir to show that it was effective against known human coronaviruses and the viruses we suspected might be the next to emerge. We raised the red flag on these viruses and pointed out their potential to cause the next pandemic.
    Our 15 years of work in China now puts us in a unique position to identify, with a remarkable degree of confidence, the likely origin of Covid-19. We recently published a peer-reviewed paper reporting 781 genetic sequences of bat-origin coronaviruses previously unknown to scientists. These include the closest known relatives to Sars-CoV, Sars-CoV-2 and Sads-CoV, a virus that killed more than 25,000 pigs in Guangdong in 2016 and 2017. All are carried by horseshoe bats that are found across southern China and neighbouring countries. Our report firmly concludes that Covid-19 originated in bats, in a hotspot of viral evolution along the border of Yunnan province in China, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.
    Most people (including former heads of intelligence agencies) aren’t trained in how to decipher genetic codes, so we have to assess the rigour of competing research to determine the truth of claims that Covid-19 was manmade. Writing in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Medicine, researchers strongly refuted the idea that the code had been purposefully manipulated. Whereas the article in Nature Medicinewas written by senior virologists, one author, John Fredrik Moxnes, the chief scientific adviser to the Norwegian military, has already withdrawn his name from the papercited by Dearlove – while scientists from the Francis Crick institute and Imperial College London also dismissed its conclusions.
    And the claim in the earlier version of this paper to have proven “beyond reasonable doubt that the Covid-19 virus is engineered” was removed in the later version. This claim relied on an insertion in the genetic code for the spike protein of the virus, the place where the virus locks into our own cells. But the discovery of another novel bat coronavirus in southern China, very closely related to Sars-CoV-2, that includes a similar insertion shows this can evolve naturally.
    Contrary to the idea that Chinese scientists deliberately released the virus, existing patterns of infection suggest that the wide spread of Covid-19 was a question of when, not if. Only a handful of people work on bat coronaviruses in labs in China, and they wear masks and gloves so as not to contaminate their laboratories. In 2018, we conducted a pilot survey of people living in rural Yunnan province and found nearly 3% had antibodies for bat coronaviruses. Expanding this data to cover the densely populated area in southeast Asia where there are bats known to harbour coronaviruses, we can safely estimate that between one and seven million people are infected with bat coronaviruses each year.
    Unfortunately, this sort of logic will not deter conspiracy theorists. The dark power of the internet means that anyone, anywhere, can find evidence to echo even the most outlandish of claims. Theories that Sars originated from space or that HIV was manmade are readily available, but it doesn’t make them true. Such conspiracies play to our most base instincts and paranoias – fears that dissolve logic and reason. The details of how this virus emerged naturally are far less exciting. They’re about how humans and animals have interacted for millennia, now at an unprecedented rate. They’re about how human domination of the world’s ecosystems as we encroach on animal habitats is opening new pathways for viruses, once hidden in the depths of the forest, to be transmitted to humans.
    Even as Covid-19 continues to spread across the world, analysing its origin is of critical importance for our species on this planet. If we allow myths and rumours to set our pandemic prevention agenda, we miss, quite literally, the forest for the trees. We estimate that there are 1.7m undiscovered viruses in wildlife in emerging disease hotspots such as rural southeast Asia. Rather than chasing conspiracies, we should be focusing our efforts on these regions and the communities on their frontlines. A pandemic such as this one isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime tragedy. Ignoring the guidance of the global scientific community about how and why they emerge will come at a great cost to us all.
    Peter Daszak is president of EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to analysing and preventing pandemics



    Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...false-pandemic

    Ever wonder why it is that these QAnon virus conspiracies tend to be so popular amongst those evidently aren't science majors? Beats me but if they're also not willing to get vaccinated once the vaccine comes out, it strikes me as a problem that fixes itself.

  20. #20

    Default Re: The Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

    Quote Originally Posted by Exarch View Post
    Looks like the QAnon brigade has infiltrated twcenter

    Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...false-pandemic

    Ever wonder why it is that these QAnon virus conspiracies tend to be so popular amongst those evidently aren't science majors? Beats me but if they're also not willing to get vaccinated once the vaccine comes out, it strikes me as a problem that fixes itself.
    You just posted an article by Peter Daszak, the one man who has the most to lose if it turns SARS-CoV-2 was actually leaked from the WIV lab. Rather than going on a media tour and submitting strawman articles to anyone who will publish them imploring everyone to "ignore the conspiracy theories", perhaps he should endorse an independent investigation to clear things up. Why wouldn't he if he's certain there was no issue?

    EDIT: See post #9 for a summery of the research Daszak was involved in.
    Last edited by sumskilz; June 09, 2020 at 11:00 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.


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