Claim:Natural Covid-19 broke out of Wuhan lab (not man-made)

Moderator deirdre
This thread will focus on Covid from a natural source escaping the Wuhan Lab.

Claims that the virus was engineered or man-made should be posted here:
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/cl...hors-other-man-made-claims.11103/#post-238179



It remains interesting:

Two years before the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the world, U.S. Embassy officials visited a Chinese research facility in the city of Wuhan several times and sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats. The cables have fueled discussions inside the U.S. government about whether this or another Wuhan lab was the source of the virus — even though conclusive proof has yet to emerge.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opin...-issues-wuhan-lab-studying-bat-coronaviruses/
(Archive.is mirror: http://archive.is/PV4IK#selection-1517.0-1521.451 )
 
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vooke

Active Member
The question of Wuhan Institute of Virology came up during the briefing on April 15,2020. Here’s part of the transcript:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f0f-JoUxrI&t=6770


I know this is open to interpretation but the President calling it a ‘horrible situation that happened’ seems to suggest it was true or at least he believes it was.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
First of all, the original study linking SARS-CoV-2 to BatCoV-RaTG13:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2012-7

Note the name Zheng-Li Shi at the end of the author list.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/...wn-viruses-from-sars-to-the-new-coronavirus1/

In general, these rumours go back to February.
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/soc...ch-lab-denies-rumours-links-first-coronavirus (published Published: 9:00pm, 16 Feb, 2020)

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/soc...ch-lab-badly-hurt-rumours-linking-it-man-made (Published: 8:08pm, 20 Feb, 2020)

Until we actually see new evidence, I prefer to believe that Trump and his allies some people are warming up an old conspiracy theory in an attempt to find a scapegoat. The US producing false claims to support political goals is not unprecedented.

I do believe that Zheng-Li Shi and her lab checked their database on the viruses they had in the lab because they wanted to find out if the virus had come from them, and they (or another researcher) found the relationship to BatCov-RaTG13 in the process, and now they honestly believe, based on their genetic evidence, this did not come from their lab. I believe that because I assume that in China, like elsewhere in the world, people working in the medical field have a high standard of ethics, and because I refuse to think less of people unless I have actual evidence.[/i]
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
I know this is open to interpretation but the President calling it a ‘horrible situation that happened’ seems to suggest it was true or at least he believes it was.
I think the "horrible situation that happened" is referring to the outbreak in general. First Trump says "we'll see". He is being very careful not to discuss that specific claim, -and since that is very unlike Trump- I think he is saying "we'll see".
I actually got the impression he doesn't believe it. but he is assuring those in his base, that maybe do believe it, that they are looking into all aspects of the outbreak.

(of course the question and more importantly the answer could be very scripted by his team, since his answer is so short. but I don't get "I believe it" from that answer and I certainly don't get "it's true")
 

Agent K

Active Member
"Sources believe coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan lab as part of China's efforts to compete with US"
https://www.foxnews.com/us/coronavirus-likely-originated-in-wuhan-lab-sources-say
How hard is it to determine whether patient zero worked at the lab? Even if it's not patient zero but patient 7 or patient 12, it would still be suspicious.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
but patient 7 or patient 12, it would still be suspicious.
not really. they could have picked it up in Wuhan public exposure, just like everyone else.

I don't think it really matters, assuming China (and every other country working with viruses) tightens up its lab protocols. America has had incidents with viruses as well, even one with coronavirus
https://www.bostonherald.com/2020/0...avirus-samples-involved-in-seekonk-car-crash/

I don't personally see why a country would need to cover that up. accidents happen, and its not like labs should stop working with viruses. As I've aid in another thread, this pandemic is actually a blessing. All things considered it is a mild virus and all countries can see how utterly inept and unprepared they actually are for the nasty one that breaks out of nature (or a lab). That should be the focus.
 

vooke

Active Member
people working in the medical field have a high standard of ethics, and because I refuse to think less of people unless I have actual evidence.
The researchers and health workers may have the best and the highest of all ethical standards but the environment will always bend that to its whims. Recall the whistleblower doctor’s treatment in the hands of the authorities?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
How hard is it to determine whether patient zero worked at the lab? Even if it's not patient zero but patient 7 or patient 12, it would still be suspicious.
If it is patient 12, it means nothing. To identify patient zero in retrospect, you would have to hope they still [shed the] virus (which I think is improbable after 4 months); especially if it's a younger person, they wouldn't have had samples taken. If it's patient 12, the lab would have had to infect someone else outside the lab, track the infection through two generations, and then become infected. That makes no sense at all. "Close to the market" means nothing, either.

The problem is that we can't run the infection back in time. We don't know who the first human with this virus was, and probably won't know. This is much easier with diseases where you're guaranteed to notice that you're sick, and even easier with those where many people die. Covid-19 has a bit of an invisibility cloak that is the high number of mild and asymptomatic cases.
Recall the whistleblower doctor’s treatment in the hands of the authorities?
No, I don't, remind me? Are you talking about the doctor who spread the rumor that there was a SARS outbreak when there wasn't?
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
a new strain leaving a trail of destruction all over sounds like good motivation to cover up mistakes.
maybe, but 'from the lab' means it can be eradicated. people might be more motivated to self isolate completely (no grocery runs etc) and countries forcefully quarantining more people, if it meant eradicating the virus completely in 4 weeks.
 

vooke

Active Member
maybe, but 'from the lab' means it can be eradicated. people might be more motivated to self isolate completely (no grocery runs etc) and countries forcefully quarantining more people, if it
How does 'from the lab' mean it can be eradicated? I don't understand the logical leap.
 

vooke

Active Member
No, I don't, remind me? Are you talking about the doctor who spread the rumor that there was a SARS outbreak when there wasn't?
Never heard of him. He has a name?

I was talking of this man:

Li Wenliang – one of the first doctors who tried to alert the public about the coronavirus outbreak, only to be reprimanded by local police – has died, Wuhan Central Hospital confirmed early Friday morning, hours after it initially denied reports of his death.


“In the fight against the pneumonia epidemic of the new coronavirus infection, our hospital’s ophthalmologist, Li Wenliang, was unfortunately infected. He passed away after all the efforts we’ve taken to resuscitate him. We deeply mourn his passing,” the hospital said on its official Weibo account.


Li, 34, died at 2.58am on Friday, the hospital said.


The announcement capped several chaotic hours in which Chinese media first reported Li’s death, only for the hospital to respond that Li was alive, though in critical condition.
https://amp.scmp.com/news/china/soc...liang-doctor-who-alerted-authorities-outbreak
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
How does 'from the lab' mean it can be eradicated? I don't understand the logical leap.
if it is not actively jumping from an animal in Nature at this time, then if we get rid of all cases (a huge IF of course), then it would be gone. and we can all get on with our normal lives. wouldnt that be super lovely?
 

Agent K

Active Member
If it is patient 12, it means nothing. To identify patient zero in retrospect, you would have to hope they still [shed the] virus (which I think is improbable after 4 months); especially if it's a younger person, they wouldn't have had samples taken. If it's patient 12, the lab would have had to infect someone else outside the lab, track the infection through two generations, and then become infected. That makes no sense at all. "Close to the market" means nothing, either.
If one of the first dozen known COVID-19 patients in a city of 11 million happened to work at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, that would be suspicious.
Chinese researchers wrote in the Lancet,
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30183-5/fulltext#
So they've done contact tracing on the first patient.
 

Agent K

Active Member
The question of Wuhan Institute of Virology came up during the briefing on April 15,2020. Here’s part of the transcript:

I know this is open to interpretation but the President calling it a ‘horrible situation that happened’ seems to suggest it was true or at least he believes it was.
The President saying, "When you say multiple sources, there’s a case where you can use the word sources," suggests that he knows who the sources are. He didn't deny this leak or call it fake news as he often does, which suggests that it's a sanctioned leak that may be true or may be disinformation.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Never heard of him. He has a name?
https://www.newsbreak.com/news/0O2V...bout-coronavirus-he-got-detained-and-infected

The way I am reading it, the authorities saw him as spreading the rumor that there was a SARS outbreak, which isn't actually true. He is said to have done this on December 30th. The hospital notified the CDC on December 29th, and the Wuhan CDC notified WHO on December 31st.
The "treatment" at the hand of the authorities was to sign a letter of warning, I think?
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
So they've done contact tracing on the first patient.
Restrospectively. On the first KNOWN patient.
According to the Wikipedia timeline, the first known patient had symptoms Dec 1st and the second patient was hospitalized on Dec 2nd, and if that's true and they don't have an epidemiological link, then theirs is probably the third generation or later of the infection in humans (unlikely for them to have been infected by the same person if there was no link to be found).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timel...s_pandemic_from_November_2019_to_January_2020
 

Agent K

Active Member
I assume that in China, like elsewhere in the world, people working in the medical field have a high standard of ethics
"There is a systemic problem with fraud in Chinese medical science. The problem goes all the way to the top."
https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/scientific-fraud-in-china/
"Healthcare Is So Corrupt In China That Patients Have To Bribe Doctors For Proper Care"
https://www.businessinsider.com/hea...at-patients-have-to-bribe-doctors-2014-5?op=1
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
@Agent K
The Cao article constructs "a systemic problem" from a single case. If there was a systemic problem, shouldn't there be more known cases?
Prof Ioannidis has made a career from exposing the invalidity of much of what gets published for science.

"routinely overprescribing medicine and treatment" -- have you heard of the opioid crisis in the US? of pharma lobbyist woeing doctors to prescribe their offerings (and advertising to TV viewers for same?

https://www.healthsystemtracker.org...-or-did-not-get-care-because-of-its-cost_2017
And that's based on a study, not on anecdotal evidence.

I dunno, your sources fail to convince me that China is really that different in these respects.

Until we have specific claims and actual evidence for them, I'm calling it bunk.
 

Agent K

Active Member
The way I am reading it, the authorities saw him as spreading the rumor that there was a SARS outbreak, which isn't actually true. He is said to have done this on December 30th. The hospital notified the CDC on December 29th, and the Wuhan CDC notified WHO on December 31st.
The "treatment" at the hand of the authorities was to sign a letter of warning, I think?
https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/03/asia/coronavirus-doctor-whistle-blower-intl-hnk/index.html
SARS-CoV-2 turned out to be far worse than SARS-CoV. The Wuhan CDC notified the WHO the day after Li's warning went viral. Was Shi adhering to the official line?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
SARS-CoV-2 turned out to be far worse than SARS-CoV. The Wuhan CDC notified the WHO the day after Li's warning went viral. Was Shi adhering to the official line?
SARS 2003 had a mortality rate of 9.5%. That's an order of magnitude more than Covid-19 has. So how bad it is, especially in the pre-epidemic case, is a matter of debate. The one thing I really want to see evidence on is the claim that they knew how much human-human transmission there was. Without that knowledge, all you're looking at is an illness that humans get from animals and which looks bad if you haven't found the mild cases yet, but won't spread once you have killed the animals and desinfected everything.

"Was Shi adhering to the official line?" is a typical CT question, it looks critical, but it does nothing except raise doubt without any evidence to back it up.
"Did we really land on the moon? What are they hiding about 9/11? Hard-hitting critical questions in the search of truth!" -- no, they're not, and they fail Occam's razor. You have no evidence in the face of a course of things that is well explained by people trying to competently do their job in the face of uncertainty and developing information. You start with the assumption of a coverup and construct a motivation and a course of events from that.
 

Agent K

Active Member
SARS 2003 had a mortality rate of 9.5%. That's an order of magnitude more than Covid-19 has. So how bad it is, especially in the pre-epidemic case, is a matter of debate. The one thing I really want to see evidence on is the claim that they knew how much human-human transmission there was. Without that knowledge, all you're looking at is an illness that humans get from animals and which looks bad if you haven't found the mild cases yet, but won't spread once you have killed the animals and desinfected everything.

"Was Shi adhering to the official line?" is a typical CT question, it looks critical, but it does nothing except raise doubt without any evidence to back it up.
"Did we really land on the moon? What are they hiding about 9/11? Hard-hitting critical questions in the search of truth!" -- no, they're not, and they fail Occam's razor. You have no evidence in the face of a course of things that is well explained by people trying to competently do their job in the face of uncertainty and developing information. You start with the assumption of a coverup and construct a motivation and a course of events from that.
SARS-CoV-2 has killed two orders of magnitude more people.

https://apnews.com/68a9e1b91de4ffc166acd6012d82c2f9
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...on-coronavirus-research-deleted-pages-suggest
Had Shi discovered that SARS-CoV-2 came from her lab, you think she'd disclose that publicly?
 

vooke

Active Member
if it is not actively jumping from an animal in Nature at this time, then if we get rid of all cases (a huge IF of course), then it would be gone. and we can all get on with our normal lives. wouldnt that be super lovely?
Super lovely until the next bug jumps from animals to human
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
SARS-CoV-2 has killed two orders of magnitude more people.
Are you saying that this was predictable in December or early January?
Are you comparing the diseases, or the way the actual outbreaks went?
My point is that SARS and Covid-19 are not the same disease; and to spread the rumor that there is a SARS outbreak when there isn't one is bad; and that Chinese authorities issued a warning to those who did that, but no more.
You are arguing from hindsight here.

Here's a quote about 2003 SARS:
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-do-sars-and-mers-compare-with-covid-19#SARS

Compare the timelines. Consider how difficult it is to find cases without a proper test, and how long it takes to establish a rate of spread. I feel that China acted much more quickly than they did in 2003, and were more transparent about it, most importantly sharing the genome, which allowed other countries to ramp up testing and contain the spread.

https://apnews.com/68a9e1b91de4ffc166acd6012d82c2f9
I've edited your quote down. Here are some more quotes from that article:
The situation we have here looks like the president was briefed on the severity of the crisis, but issued orders to downplay the crisis for stability. Does that sound familiar to you in any way? I can think of presidents on 3 other continents who have acted like this. It took the Chinese president only 6 days to come around and reverse his stance. Can you say that of your president?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...on-coronavirus-research-deleted-pages-suggest
"What is likely" is speculation. Do we know why the extra vetting was put in place? Has anybody asked?
I have seen an "editorial comment" on a journal attached to a Chinese paper that some of these papers discuss the same cases, and that this must be disclosed. Right now, a lot of papers get published as preprints, with no vetting at all, and bad practices reflect badly on China. Since timely publication of these results is no longer as important as it was in the first quarter, this seems like a good time to put some vetting in place. You just cited the case of Cao, who published bad science by re-using samples and not disclosing that. If China has grown more concerned about its reputation now that the propaganda war is on, fueled by some in the West, this policy makes sense to me.

Had Shi discovered that SARS-CoV-2 came from her lab, you think she'd disclose that publicly?
Yes. I certainly don't think she'd consent to the interview that the Scientific American article I have quoted was based on if she was hiding that.

What was the true position?
What made his posts 'rumors'?
SARS and Covid-19 are quite different. At the time, SARS was familiar and the new pneumonia was yet unknown.
They're rumors because they are a) wrong, b) shared socially.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
a new strain leaving a trail of destruction all over sounds like good motivation to cover up mistakes.
I heard someone mention that China might want to cover up a lab break because they want to be "superior" to the USA. Meaning they don't want to admit their labs are not superior. That sounds like a reasonable motivation to me.

BUT:

[ALERT=moderation notice for all]
Chat is being tolerated a bit more at this time due to people being isolated and needing to vent/communicate.

BUT general "because-China-man-bad" arguments and unfairly asserting motivations should be kept to a minimum. This is still Metabunk, and the topic is still to find FACTS (not random newspaper article opinions of because-china-man-bad) that the covid-19 virus escaped from the Wuhan lab.

Facts would be things like proof a lab technician had the virus (from reputable sources, not from opinion pieces) or proof the lab even had this particular virus in it's inventory or reputable scientists explaining the genome couldn't jump unaided from animals. etc

[/ALERT]


the president was briefed on the severity of the crisis, but issued orders to downplay the crisis for stability. Does that sound familiar to you in any way? I can think of presidents on 3 other continents who have acted like this.
I don't know about other countries, but just for clarity: American presidents can't "issue orders" to downplay a crisis. If he could 95% of the media would be out of a job, and the opposing party's heads would explode :)
 

vooke

Active Member
SARS and Covid-19 are quite different. At the time, SARS was familiar and the new pneumonia was yet unknown.
They're rumors because they are a) wrong, b) shared socially.
Jog my memory. Did he say there was SARS outbreak?
 

Agent K

Active Member
Jog my memory. Did he say there was SARS outbreak?
Since then, SARS-CoV-2 killed 200 times more people than SARS-CoV.

Ai Fen was reprimanded by the head of her hospital’s disciplinary inspection committee for “spreading rumours” and “harming stability”.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...-doctor-ai-fen-speaks-out-against-authorities
The following thread discusses the whistleblowing doctors and whether or not Ai Fen has disappeared.
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/the-whistleblowing-chinese-doctors.11181/
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
[ALERT=moderation]
Jog my memory. Did he say there was SARS outbreak?
Please Google such off topic questions. (I did this morning when I had the same question). No need to bog down this thread with off topic comments or questions.
Thanks.

[/ALERT]
 

vooke

Active Member
Mike Pompeo on Hugh Hewitt Show had this to say about Wuhan Institute of Virology:


Hugh Hewitt: Yesterday, there was a long press conference in Beijing. The foreign ministry spokesperson, their senior spokesperson, rejected American journalism’s stories that Wuhan virus originated in a Wuhan lab. And they rejected the story that an underground nuclear test in violation of the nuclear test ban, had occurred. Do you reject the Chinese spokesperson’s rejection of both charges?

Mike Pompeo: I don’t want to comment on the second one, but with respect to the first one, we don’t know the answer to the question about the precise origination point. But we do know this. We know that the first sightings of this occurred within miles of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. We know that this, the history of the facility, first VSL-4 lab where there’s high-end virus research being conducted took place at that site. We know that the Chinese Communist Party when it began to evaluate what to do inside of Wuhan, considered whether the WIV was in fact the place where this came from. And most importantly, we know that they’ve not permitted the world’s scientists to go into that laboratory to evaluate what took place there, what’s happening there, what’s happening there even as we speak, Hugh, even as we’re on the show this morning. We still have not had Western access to that facility so that we can properly evaluate what really has taken off all across the world and how that began. Those are facts, and those are important facts. And the Chinese Communist Party and the World Health Organization have a responsibility to the world to take those facts and take them to their logical conclusion and find out these answers, these important answers. These aren’t political. This is about science and health, and we need to get to the bottom of it
https://www.hughhewitt.com/secretar...-repatriating-americans-who-want-to-get-home/

There certainly is concern about opaqueness from China on WIV, and there is no proof yet the virus came from that lab.

To prove SARS-CoV-2 came or never came from WIV they would need to release all Coronavirus samples in their possession at the beginning of the pandemic. Right now we only know of the horseshoe bat strain that is reportedly separated from SARS-Cov-2 by '40 years'. That's the closest. It could be all they have or there could be closer relations.
 
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vooke

Active Member
This Newsweek article describes some of the research that Wuhan Institute of Virology conducted on Coronaviruses known as ‘gain of function’:

What's more, Wuhan Institute of Virology scientists have for the past five years been engaged in so-called "gain of function" (GOF) research, which is designed to enhance certain properties of viruses for the purpose of anticipating future pandemics. Gain-of-function techniques have been used to turn viruses into human pathogens capable of causing a global pandemic......


The Institute began a program of gain-of-function research into bat coronaviruses in 2015. That involved taking selected strains and seeking to increase the ability of those viruses to transmit from one person to another. The gain-of-function research went hand-in-hand with the surveillance project. As scientists identified new classes of bat viruses that have the ability to infect human cells, that raised the question of what changes would have to arise in nature to make that virus transmissible in humans, which would pose a pandemic threat.

In 2015, the Wuhan lab performed a gain of function experiment using cut-and-paste genetic engineering, in which scientists take a natural virus and directly make 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. A natural virus altered with these methods would be easily flagged in a genetic analysis, like a contemporary addition to an old Victorian house.

A virus produced with animal passage methods would be much harder to spot. These viruses are not directly manipulated. When the virus passes from one animal to the next, it undergoes something similar to what would happen in the wild during the course of its evolution. A wild coronavirus passed through 10 ferrets would be difficult to identify as having been engineered or manipulated.

There is no published record of animal-passage work on coronaviruses in the Wuhan Institute. The lab got its first BSL-4 lab in 2018, which is now considered a requirement for this kind of work (though some work proceeds in BSL-3-enhanced labs). It's possible that researchers started animal passage work in the BSL-4 lab but didn't finish it in time to publish before the current pandemic, when China tightened up on publications. It's possible that the work was done in secret. It's possible that it never happened at all. But some scientists think it's unlikely that an expensive BSL-4 lab would not be doing animal-passage research, which by 2018 was not unusual.

Tracing the origins

To figure out where SARS-CoV-2 came from, Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research and his colleagues performed a genetic analysis: they published the work, which has been widely cited, on March 17 in Nature Medicine. The researchers focused on certain genetic features of the virus for telltale signs of "manipulation."

One feature was the spike of protein that the virus uses to attach so effectively to the human body's ACE2 receptors, a molecular feature of the cells in our lungs and other organs. The spike in SARS-Cov-2, the authors conclude, differs from that of the original SARS virus in ways that suggest it was "most likely the product of natural selection"—in other words, natural, not manipulated in a lab.

However, the paper's reasoning as to why animal passage, in particular, can be ruled out, is not clear. "In theory, it is possible that SARS-CoV-2 acquired the... mutations during adaptation to passage in cell culture," the authors write. The theory that the virus mutated in mammalian hosts such as pangolins "provides a much stronger... explanation." Whether or not that includes animal passage in a lab, they don't say. Andersen didn't respond to Newsweek requests for comment.

Rutger's Ebright, a longtime opponent of gain of function research, says that the Andersen analysis fails to rule out animal-passage as an origin of SARS-CoV-2. "The reasoning is unsound," he wrote in an email to Newsweek. "They favor the possibility 'that the virus mutated in an animal host such as a pangolins' yet, simultaneously, they disfavor the possibility that the virus mutated in 'animal passage.' Because the two possibilities are identical, apart from location, one can't logically favor one and disfavor the other."

Jonathan Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at UC Davis, says that the preponderance of evidence, while not definitive, suggests that the virus came from nature, not a lab. "There's no hint there that there's something unnatural, that is, genetically engineered or manipulated," he says. But "there is some wiggle room" in the findings that admits the possibility that the virus was concocted in a lab via animal passage. "Passaging is hard to test for. Escape from a lab is hard to test for," he says. "If [Wuhan researchers] collected something from the field and they were doing some experiments in the lab with it, and some person got infected and then it spread from there, that would be really hard to distinguish from it having spread in the field directly."

Wuhan is in possession of a virus, RATG13, that is thought to be the most similar to SARS-CoV-2 of any known virus—the two share 96 percent of their genetic material. That four-percent gap would still be a formidable gap for animal-passage research, says Ralph Baric, a virologist at the University of North Carolina who collaborated with Shi Zheng-Li on the 2015 gain-of-function research. "You keep running into problems that just don't make it likely," he says. Wuhan would probably have had to start with a virus closer to SARS-CoV-2 than RATG13, which is within the realm of possibilities.

"The only way to resolve it," says Baric, "is transparency and open science and have some real investigation into it. I don't think the Chinese are going to allow that. I don't know what any country would do in this situation. I would like to think that the U.S. would be transparent."
https://www.newsweek.com/controvers...may-have-started-coronavirus-pandemic-1500503
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
This Newsweek article describes some of the research that Wuhan Institute of Virology conducted on Coronaviruses known as ‘gain of function’:
That summary is false. Your article says explicitly:
Researchers publish. If there is no publication, they probably didn't do it.

The 2015 GOF research was actually conducted at the University of North Carolina in cooperation with the WIV. It was initiated just before the "gain of function" research pause, and answered the question whether genetic material existing in the wild could recombine to form a virus that could infect humans.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4797993/
They took parts of a bat virus, put it in a mouse virus, successfully infected human cells and actual mice with it, and showed that therapies developed for SARS didn't work at all or not sufficiently. They're warning of the potential of an outbreak like this one.

Do we want to research this kind of outbreak so that we can be prepared for it, or are we increasing the danger with this kind of research?

I think the study proved that the danger is there whether we research it or not. The parts of SARS-Cov-2 have been identified in bats and pangolins, they combined to create this epidemic.

(It's the same issue as with the pandemic planning: CTs take evidence of preparing for this pandemic as evidence for causing it.)

----
P.S. Your article provides another debunk:
The report for "shoddy practices" (which actually said, not enough trained staff) fits with that: they wouldn't upgrade the lab if they couldn't deliver on the safety, would they? And the need to train more staff for that level seems obvious when they're starting out. The University at Galveston used to do that kind of training, but the funding was cut after 2016.
 

vooke

Active Member
That summary is false. Your article says explicitly:
Researchers publish. If there is no publication, they probably didn't do it.

The 2015 GOF research was actually conducted at the University of North Carolina in cooperation with the WIV. It was initiated just before the "gain of function" research pause, and answered the question whether genetic material existing in the wild could recombine to form a virus that could infect humans.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4797993/
They took parts of a bat virus, put it in a mouse virus, successfully infected human cells and actual mice with it, and showed that therapies developed for SARS didn't work at all or not sufficiently. They're warning of the potential of an outbreak like this one.

Do we want to research this kind of outbreak so that we can be prepared for it, or are we increasing the danger with this kind of research?

I think the study proved that the danger is there whether we research it or not. The parts of SARS-Cov-2 have been identified in bats and pangolins, they combined to create this epidemic.

(It's the same issue as with the pandemic planning: CTs take evidence of preparing for this pandemic as evidence for causing it.)

----
P.S. Your article provides another debunk:
The report for "shoddy practices" (which actually said, not enough trained staff) fits with that: they wouldn't upgrade the lab if they couldn't deliver on the safety, would they? And the need to train more staff for that level seems obvious when they're starting out. The University at Galveston used to do that kind of training, but the funding was cut after 2016.
The article referenced the 2015 research so I don’t understand why you found it necessary to share it:
In 2015, the Wuhan lab performed a gain of function experiment using cut-and-paste genetic engineering, in which scientists take a natural virus and directly make 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.
My summary is on point; this 2015 study was on GOF of strains of coronavirus.

There is no published record of animal-passage work on coronaviruses in the Wuhan Institute.
This statement supports my summary. GOF research may be through genetic engineering or animal passage. There is no publication on animal passage GOF from WIV but there is one using genetic engineering.

The article brings new perspective into the origins of the virus. The Andersen research referenced at the bottom of the article ruled out genetic engineering:
Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9

But what if SARS-Cov-2 was a product of passaging? It would be different from its nearest relative, and there would be no proof of genetic engineering on it.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
My summary is on point; this 2015 study was on GOF of strains of coronavirus.
It wasn't done in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, it was done at Chapel Hill in the USA. That disproves the core of your point, and that's as far as the evidence goes. The rest is speculation. (The study also shows that there is an aim to that research and a reason why the research on GOF is continuing *everywhere*.)

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9

But what if SARS-Cov-2 was a product of passaging? It would be different from its nearest relative, and there would be no proof of genetic engineering on it
The letter you're linking rules that out:

I can say you've strangled three women and left no record of it, but it'd be fiction on my part without evidence: something I want to be true but probably isn't. That's why the evidence has to fit the claim, and the fact is
* we don't have evidence
* virologists say the claim does not fit the actual virus
* the intelligence community has no evidence

The only reason to think it came from the lab is wishful thinking.
China says the USA made it and deployed it, on the same level of evidence.
This is just high-level name-calling from both sides.
Or what am I missing here?
 
Hello everyone, I joined the forum because I have a few things to say in regards to this thread. I also work for a medical device manufacturer which has BSL accredited labs, and on of them is housed in the facility I work in. So I have some insight on the topic.

Personally speaking, I don't currently hold a very high opinion of any of the news outlets regarding coverage of Covid19 from the very beginning. Whether mainstream or independent, I have seen very little useful information from come from any entity claiming an association with journalism. That said, I am even more disappointed with our (the U.S.) response to this pandemic at nearly every level. It really is a sad state of affairs.
There is a plethora of misinformation from all sides regarding covid19 so admittedly, I was at first very skeptical regarding the notion that covid19 originated from a lab in Wuhan. Like many here, I figured it was a conspiracy theory that people latched on to so as to shift blame away from a certain someone for failing to act in time. Whether or not this claim is true doesn't shift responsibility from government officials. The origin of the virus doesn't change how we prevent the spread. What it does change is how we might prevent something like this in the future. That is if we intend to learn from our mistakes and..... yeah. :confused:

Now with that out of the way, I am going to point out a few things regarding the specific claim that covid19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan as I don't think it should be readily dismissed as false or as 'likely false' until further investigations are conducted. Some have taken this a step further suggesting that intentions behind it's creation are malign.
Other labs have successfully reproduced this virus artificially which proves that it is possible to create, but doesn't prove that it is what happened here. The rebuttal against claims stating the artificial origin of the virus is that it is unlikely or impossible that someone would have created this based on computer models. This doesn't prove anything either and I'm not even sure if it is possible to prove whether a virus is artificial or natural. That said, I'm sure that creating viruses and a controlled lab environment for observation can indeed provide scientific value to virology so I don't think that discussing whether the virus was artificial or natural is worthwhile.
However, the possibility of an accidental leak due to an oversight is worthwhile. We all know that accidents do happen and some of those accidents lead to disasters which result in many casualties. Historically speaking, it isn't unusual for those at fault to deny their responsibility for obvious reasons. The bottom line is that is usually possible to prove an accident and determine the cause (and perhaps the responsible parties) as the truth regarding such matters is often revealed in time.

So far, I'd say the most significant element which adds weight to the claim is the close proximity of the WHCDC lab to the source of the outbreak which is less than 10 miles. This could be a coincidence in of itself, but the fact that they were studying coronaviruses that originate in bats. To add to this, the WHCDC was criticized for conducting field research on bats without proper PPE as indicated in a video dated December 2019. The defense for this is that coronaviruses found in bats don't infect humans very well.
This evidence is circumstantial, but it is significant and I have some very big problems dismissing the possibility that the virus leaked from this lab without further evidence.
The statement that coronaviruses found in bats don't infect humans very well" of course does not mean that it is impossible. that doesn't mean it It is also generally understood that the first SARS outbreak was a bat to human species jump. We aren't positive regarding which species made the jump for Covid19, but bats are still reported as the source of covid19 in humans. Either way, we have been well aware that viruses do jump from species to species for a long time. This was a very careless act to say the least.
And on that topic of a being a BSL-4 accredited lab. I see that referenced in articles as evidence of the unlikelihood that this lab leaked the virus.
I don;t think BSL-# means what people seem to think it means. I'm not trying to say that BSL accreditation is worthless, but being certified to BSL shouldn't be taken as proof of anything any more than a driver's license should be taken as proof that someone is safe driver.
At my work, we have a BSL-2 accredited lab on site and a BSL-3 accredited lab off site. I am not an expert on the entire subject, but I am familiar with it and the steps involved to acquire certification. The purpose of our labs is the study of pathogens for medical devices for infection control and devices which can potentially harbor or spread pathogens. Animal handling is not involved, but we do receive specimens of human tissue and tissue from other animals that are commonly consumed by humans.
In the eyes of a BSL auditing agency, a specimen is handled according to the pathogen(s) that it is infected with. Not the likelihood of of the host transmitting the pathogen. In this case, it was a coronavirus infected bat which means it should have been handled according to the guidelines for handling coronavirus specimens. Therefore, proper PPE should have been utilized by the person in that video and failure to do so would have been a significant violation on their part. When blind studies are performed regarding infected and non infected specimens of a certain pathogen. All specimens should be handled as infected specimens.
However, although it would have been a major finding according to a BSL auditing agency. That would only be the case if an audit were taking place at that moment and the auditors had actually observed it taking place. A future auditor aware of the event may ask for evidence that the person was disciplined, but that's about the extent of it after the fact. I presented a little more info regarding BSL in the spoiler tags.

From an evidence standpoint, a BSL accreditation basically means that said facility has the equipment, the capacity and personnel trained in the handling of pathogens and that safe scientific lab practices are being followed according to their documented evidence. How closely they actually follow those practices is entirely another story.
Granted, I do not have experience with BSL-4, but based on the nature of the BSL program I can say that will follow the similar guidelines as the preceding levels. The main thing they would want to see is more thorough documentation practices to prove adherence to those stricter guidelines. Review of the facility and equipment will be mostly visual aside from verifying service history, calibration, training records, etc.
There are numerous private agencies which can certify a lab for BSL and certification basically consists of an audit. The nature of the audit can vary depending on the size, scope and nature of the operation. In each case, only about 10% of the audit actually involves observation of the facility, equipment and personnel. The other 90% is documentation and process review. This can go on for several days and it mostly involves looking through the paper trail for evidence that we're following safe guidelines and scientific practices. Which is mostly self-reported.
Several years ago, one of our manufacturing facilities closed down and they had an on-site BSL-2 accredited lab like we do. Their lab handled specimens of human bone tissue. Specifically, human skulls. Though the skulls were sterilized and they were not part of their projects involving pathogenic research. The issue was when we tried to figure out how they were disposing of these skulls when they were finished with them. Because it turns out they were disposing of the skulls with ordinary municipal waste.
Granted, nobody was put at risk as the skulls were sterilized. It is still human tissue which should have been disposed of as bio-hazardous material nonetheless. On top of that disposing of human remains (like skulls) in ordinary waste is flat out illegal. It blows my mind to this day that someone thought it was okay to do that. But hey, BSL-2 certified!


Again, there is no proof one way or another whether this was an accidental leak. But I think to state anything other than "I don't know" is irresponsible journalism. There is evidence that the lab failed to observe safe laboratory practices, and due to their close proximity to the initial epicenter, this is something that should be investigated thoroughly and independently.
 

vooke

Active Member
The 2015 GOF research was actually conducted at the University of North Carolina in cooperation with the WIV.
It wasn't done in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, it was done at Chapel Hill in the USA. That disproves the core of your point, and that's as far as the evidence goes. The rest is speculation. (The study also shows that there is an aim to that research and a reason why the research on GOF is continuing *everywhere*.
One moment you concede joint GOF research and next moment you claim WIV had nothing to do with the GOF research. What are you saying? The article stated WIV conducted GOF on conaviruses:
The Institute began a program of gain-of-function research into bat coronaviruses in 2015...........In 2015, the Wuhan lab performed a gain of function experiment using cut-and-paste genetic engineering, in which scientists take a natural virus and directly make substitutions in its RNA coding to make it more transmissible.
The letter you're linking rules that out:
No it doesn’t,they only suggest natural animal passage as more plausible:
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. 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.
The bit I find strange is this:

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. 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.
They are essentially saying SARS-Cov-2 has some close relations in bats, but even closer relations in pangolins so it probably came to humans from pangolins and not bats. Since there is no published work in cell and animal passaging, the pangolin theory is the best.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Other labs have successfully reproduced this virus artificially which proves that it is possible to create
I haven't heard of this, do you have a source?
I know the virus is getting cloned. The argument is that it doesn't look like it could be designed to do what it does the way that it does (see the nature letter linked in my previous post).
To add to this, the WHCDC was criticized for conducting field research on bats without proper PPE as indicated in a video dated December 2019. The defense for this is that coronaviruses found in bats don't infect humans very well.
A source link would be nice here as well.
Was that the expedition where the one researcher was peed upon by a bat? I've heard of that, but not seen it, and I think he quarantined himself afterwards?
The avian flu is also zoonotic, but not everyone who handles birds (e.g. chickens) uses PPE. Field research and lab work are quite different, I would imagine.
And on that topic of a being a BSL-4 accredited lab. I see that referenced in articles as evidence of the unlikelihood that this lab leaked the virus.
I think the pro-leak proponents try to create the impression that "this lab had shoddy practices, a leak was basically inevitable", and I don't think that's warranted.

The evidence that it didn't come from the lab is
a) word of the researchers themselves (they presumably know the genomes of the viruses they have),
b) analysis of SARS-CoV-2, and that itself is evidence of the development effort and knowledge that must have gone into it if it was artificially created (e.g. adaptation to an immune system).
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
The article stated WIV conducted GOF on conaviruses:
Yes, but it doesn't have a source; I'm assuming they are misrepresenting the Chapel Hill research.
It kinda matters which continent they did the actual work on, don't you think?
This research was not led by the WIV.
If you can find proof of work done in Wuhan, please show me.
No it doesn’t,they only suggest natural animal passage as more plausible:
The letter lists 3 or 4 improbable things that must have happened for animal passage to create this virus in a lab.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9
We need a virus that's even more simlar than 96%, the genetic information doesn't come from nowhere.
You'd need to "breed" the virus on a host with ACE2 receptors, nobody does that (and that would be quite obvious to any visiting researcher in a lab that did that), because it would need to be an actual animal and not a cell culture.

tl;dr This virus must have been bred from a very similar virus in animals for many generations.
This wouldn't happen in secrecy in a civilian research laboratory with good international connections.
 
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vooke

Active Member
We need a virus that's even more simlar than 96%, the genetic information doesn't come from nowhere.
You'd need to "breed" the virus on a host with ACE2 receptors, nobody does that (and that would be quite obvious to any visiting researcher in a lab that did that), because it would need to be an actual animal and not a cell culture.

tl;dr This virus must have been bred from a very similar virus in animals for many generations.
This wouldn't happen in secrecy in a civilian research laboratory with good international connections.
How did you determine 96% is not ‘very similar’ enough for purposes of Andersen’s paper?

‘prolonged passage’ is not defined so you decided to fill it up with ‘many generations’. The research cited on Avian Flu using ten ferrets does not need ten generations of ferrets.

Andersen paper distinguishes between cell culture passage and animal passaging. The last sentence of the quotation citing immunity may eliminate cell culture but not animals as they have immune systems. I have no ides why you are intentionally conflating these two.

Yes, but it doesn't have a source; I'm assuming they are misrepresenting the Chapel Hill research.
what’s the basis for your assumption? Are you appealing to your ignorance?

If you can find proof of work done in Wuhan, please show me.
Here’s another example:
Cell entry studies demonstrated that three newly identified SARSr-CoVs with different S protein sequences are all able to use human ACE2 as the receptor, further exhibiting the close relationship between strains in this cave and SARS-CoV. This work provides new insights into the origin and evolution of SARS-CoV and highlights the necessity of preparedness for future emergence of SARS-like diseases.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5708621/

It kinda matters which continent they did the actual work on, don't you think?
This reasearch was not led by the WIV.
How did you figure who led the research? The point was not who ‘led’ the research but whether WIV has ever conducted such experiments or research.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
The evidence that it didn't come from the lab is
a) word of the researchers themselves (they presumably know the genomes of the viruses they have),
researchers plural? I only heard the one lady.
witness testimony needs to be cooborated, esp. if it is the only evidence and whistleblowing in that country is frowned upon (and careers are at stake).

Hopefully eventually everyone who worked in the lab will have anti-body tests done by outside independent investigators. That would be the only meaningful evidence i think to convince [most of] the world.
 
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