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

vooke

Active 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),
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).

”Come from the lab” phrase is vague, or could mean many things;

1. Genetically engineered and then release from the lab intentionally or otherwise

2. Collected from the wild and then released from a lab intentionally or otherwise

3. Collected and manipulated through either cell culture or animal passage processes before being released either intentionally or otherwise.

The word of the scientists who worked in the lab need corroboration especially seeing they may have been culpable for the leak if indeed it came from there.

The ‘analysis’ so far has only ruled out genetic engineering or #1 and not #2 or #3.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
How did you determine 96% is not ‘very similar’ enough for purposes of Andersen’s paper?
Because RaTG13 is mentioned in that paper; if it was sufficiently similar, they'd have mentioned it.
The research cited on Avian Flu using ten ferrets does not need ten generations of ferrets.
What ferrets are you talking about?
‘prolonged passage’ is not defined so you decided to fill it up with ‘many generations’.
Yes. many generations of virus so that the virus can mutate and adapt. Why else would it need to be prolonged?
I have no ides why you are intentionally conflating these two.
I am not conflating these two, I am accepting that cell culture is off the table.

what’s the basis for your assumption? Are you appealing to your ignorance?
The basis is that this is the evidence for GOF research that I know of that involves Dr Shi. If you have other evidence, please present it.
I'm trying to be friendly and not dismiss this claim outright as not being supported by evidence.
These are cell culture experiments, they're not GOF experiments? What claim do you want this source to prove?
How did you figure who led the research?
The authors listed first are the primary researchers; most of the others authors also come from Chapel Hill.
The point was not who ‘led’ the research but whether WIV has ever conducted such experiments or research.
Exactly. So what meaning do you associate with "the WIV has conducted GOF research"? My mental image of that is not "two researchers from Wuhan consulted on experiments done in North Carolina" (and it's not "examined the genes of wild bats in cell culture"). If that's the same to you, language breaks down here.
”Come from the lab” phrase is vague, or could mean many things;
1. Genetically engineered and then release from the lab intentionally or otherwise
2. Collected from the wild and then released from a lab intentionally or otherwise
3. Collected and manipulated through either cell culture or animal passage processes before being released either intentionally or otherwise.

The word of the scientists who worked in the lab need corroboration especially seeing they may have been culpable for the leak if indeed it came from there.

The ‘analysis’ so far has only ruled out genetic engineering or #1 and not #2 or #3.
#2 is pretty much ruled out by the 2017 paper you cite, unless they went and caught themselves some more bats?
#3 is ruled out by the paper that said cell culture passage is impossible and animal passage is improbable.
And anyway, it's the accuser who has to bring evidence, not the defendant. There is no evidence.
 

vooke

Active Member
Because RaTG13 is mentioned in that paper; if it was sufficiently similar, they'd have mentioned it.
If it was not sufficiently similar they would not have mentioned it either. The paper says ‘ it has not been described’ which probably means they are unaware of any research on this. Ignorance of research is no proof it does not exist. Newsweek interviewed virologists who questioned this line of thinking.

Point is, the paper is not beyond reproach.

The authors listed first are the primary researchers; most of the others authors also come from Chapel Hill.
WIV was involved. Do a word search for WIV in the article

Yes. many generations of virus so that the virus can mutate and adapt. Why else would it need to be prolonged?
Animal passaging does not require ‘generations’ of animals. Did you read the Newsweek article especially the bit about Avian Flu and ten ferrets? I will not paste the article nor it’s link again as I have done this.

These are cell culture experiments, they're not GOF experiments? What claim do you want this source to prove?
GOF experiments uses either cell culture or live animals. How different are cell culture passaging experiments from what the paper is describing?

#2 is pretty much ruled out by the 2017 paper you cite, unless they went and caught themselves some more bats?
#3 is ruled out by the paper that said cell culture passage is impossible and animal passage is improbable.
And anyway, it's the accuser who has to bring evidence, not the defendant. There is no evidence.

What part of the 2017 paper rules out #2?

Andersen paper never ruled out #3 unless you can show me where. The paper admitted the possibility but pleaded ignorance of studies to this effect.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
WIV was involved. Do a word search for WIV in the article
I did.
examined on HeLa cells (Wuhan Institute of Virology) that expressed ACE2 orthologs.
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The WIV provided some of the cells that were used (along with other types from other sources) in North Carolina, and had two contributing authors (9th and 14th). I still say that's not "conducting research", that's consulting on research someone else does.
And next time, please make your point straight: don't say "do a word search", quote what you are referring to.

From the newsweek article:
The answer that Fouchier came up with was a technique known as "animal passage," in which he mutated the bird-flu virus by passing it through animals rather than cell cultures. He chose ferrets because they were widely known as a good stand-in for humans—if a virus can jump between ferrets, it is likely also to be able to jump between humans. He would infect one ferret with a bird-flu virus, wait until it got sick, and then remove a sample of the virus that had replicated in the ferret's body with a swab. As the virus multiplies in the body, it mutates slightly, so the virus that came out of the ferret was slightly different from the one that went into it. Fouchier then proceeded to play a version of telephone: he would take the virus from the first ferret and infect a second, then take the mutated virus from the second ferret and infect a third, and so on.
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You were using this to object to my use of "multiple generations" when it seems clear this Dutch scientist has passed this virus through ferrets for 10 generations. Now if that's normal passage, how long is "prolonged passage", and how fast do coronaviruses mutate compared to the avian flu?

I showed you where the Andersen paper ruled this out. The paper is virological evidence against the idea that SARS-CoV-2 came from the lab; and there is no evidence, virological or otherwise, for the idea that it did.
What part of the 2017 paper rules out #2?
The paper describes the relevant bat genes that they had in the lab at the time, and they don't fit this virus. So you'd have to show that they collected new bats since then? You were going to link the field research evidence?
Btw, the editor of that journal, Christian Drosten, is head virologist at the Charite in Berlin, which has their own bat virus lab. He or his colleague have definitely reviewed the data that the paper was based on.
 
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vooke

Active Member
The WIV provided some of the cells that were used (along with other types from other sources) in North Carolina, and had two contributing authors (9th and 14th). I still say that's not "conducting research", that's consulting on research someone else does.
And next time, please make your point straight: don't say "do a word search", quote what you are referring to.
That is still participating in the research. They did their bit

You were using this to object to my use of "multiple generations" when it seems clear this Dutch scientist has passed this virus through ferrets for 10 generations. Now if that's normal passage, how long is "prolonged passage", and how fast do coronaviruses mutate compared to the avian flu?
Those are not ten generations of ferrets but ten ferrets in different cages.You need to revisit definition of a generation. My point remains; your claim of generations of animals in animal passaging is baseless.
The paper is virological evidence against the idea that SARS-CoV-2 came from the lab; and there is no evidence, virological or otherwise, for the idea that it did.

Yes it is, its an argument against genetic engineering of SARS-Cov-2 and not cell culture nor animal passaging, or accidental leak of the virus from a lab, No evidence is not the same as evidence against. Stop stretching the scope of the paper with unfounded claims.

The paper describes the relevant bat genes that they had in the lab at the time, and they don't fit this virus.
No it doesn’t. They were not studying relationship between RATG13 and SARS-Cov-2. They collected SARS-Cov-2 and only mentioned RATG because it is similar. I’m waiting for the minutest proof that for purposes of their paper ‘very close similarity’ is anything higher than 96%. You have none ,because the paper is silent on that.

I shared a link on another GOF paper and you disputed that Insisting it was all about cell culture. That’s like saying you are not Canadian, you are a man.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5708621/
These are cell culture experiments, they're not GOF experiments? What claim do you want this source to prove?
Could you demonstrate what elements of a research paper qualify it to be a GOF research and show which elements this particular paper is lacking?
 
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vooke

Active Member
Pompeo is at it again
“I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan,” Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week.” “These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...mous-evidence-links-virus-to-wuhan-laboratory


The ABC link has the video and I don’t know how to embed it:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05...coronavirus-emerged-from-chinese-lab/12210882
 

Mendel

Senior 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......
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Newsweek writes "scientists have for the past five years been engaged" and the evidence we have is "five years ago", not "for the past five years", but that's close. This covers the two scientists from WIV being consulting authors on the Chapel Hill study.

Your phrasing is "the WIV conducted", and that's not covered by the Chapel Hill paper, because that research was conducted by the U of NC at Chapel Hill, and the Wuhan institute itself was not involved (but two scientists who work there were).

The difference is that "the WIV conducted" implies that there was GOF research in Wuhan, and that isn't what happened. The Newsweek article tries very hard to create the same impression with their phrasing, but almost manages to stay on the right side of the truth. You don't. Your phrasing was a simplification that was wrong and misleading. Just acknowledge that and move on.

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I shared a link on another GOF paper and you disputed that Insisting it was all about cell culture. That’s like saying you are not Canadian, you are a man.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5708621/

Could you demonstrate what elements of a research paper qualify it to be a GOF research and show which elements this particular paper is lacking?
You led this with "Here's another example" (of what?) and I asked "These are cell culture experiments, they're not GOF experiments? What claim do you want this source to prove?" It wasn't clear to me whether you want this paper to be evidence that they're doing animal passage (but it's a cell culture experiment) or whether you think it shows GOF (it doesn't), because that's what we've been discussing; or if you're after something else entirely.

But here's the thing: if YOU want this paper to be evidence that the WIV does GOF research, then YOU have to prove that claim. The paper doesn't have the word "gain" in it a single time, so it's not obvious. YOU need to make the argument that this is GOF research, which means that YOU have to find an authoritative definition of GOF and apply it to this paper and show that that's what they're doing.

The author summarizes this paper as "In addition, we found bat SARSr-CoV strains with different S proteins that can all use the receptor of SARS-CoV in humans (ACE2) for cell entry, suggesting diverse SARSr-CoVs capable of direct transmission to humans are circulating in bats in this cave." They did work to show that these S-proteins can infect cells via the ACE2-receptor, which they demonstrated using the WIV ACE2 cells. Their aim is to document a function that the bat viruses already have, not to change a virus to make it more functional. The research objective is not GOF.

"They collected SARS-Cov-2" is straight up wrong. This is a 2017 paper, any reference to SARS-CoV is to the 2003 epidemic virus, which differs a lot from SARS-CoV-2. They didn't collect SARS-CoV either, they collected SARSr-CoV, which are "SARS-related coronaviruses".

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Those are not ten generations of ferrets but ten ferrets in different cages.
My words were "This virus must have been bred from a very similar virus in animals for many generations." Grammatically, we can shorten this to "this virus must have been bred for many generations". This does not involve generations of ferrets, but generations of viruses. You need a new ferret for each generation, so it's not just "ten ferrets in different cages" that you could infect simultaneously and see what happens, you have to infect them one after the other so you get a new generation of the virus for each animal, therefore 10 generations.

The term "prolongued passage" in the nature letter is linked to a study from Tottori, Japan and Wisconsin:
Article:
After 24 consecutive passages by air sac inoculation, followed by five passages in chicken brain, the avirulent virus became highly pathogenic in chickens

Fouchier was studying the avian influenza A/H5N1 in his ferrets. Influenza viruses mutate faster than coronaviruses.
Over in the other thread ( https://www.metabunk.org/threads/cl...hors-other-man-made-claims.11103/#post-238095 ), we've been discussing https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.30.015008v1 , which states that it takes ~40 years of mutation to get from RaTG13 to SARS-CoV-2 -- and RaTG13 is the closest match that we've found so far.
Article:
Specifically, SARS-CoV-2 seems to have a mutation rate of less than 25 mutations per year, whereas the seasonal flu has a mutation rate of almost 50 mutations per year.

Given that the SARS-CoV-2 genome is almost twice as large as the seasonal flu genome, it seems as though the seasonal flu mutates roughly four times as fast as SARS-CoV-2.

So if you wanted to do the same type of animal passage GOF research in Wuhan that Fouchier did in the Netherlands, you'd need 40 animals (which species?) that develop an immune reaction to this virus, and with the incubation period and time for the infection to develop and natural selection to do its thing, I estimate at least 2 weeks per generation, so 80 weeks at least. If you're taking the 29 passages in chickens as benchmark, we might be looking at ~120 coronavirus generations, taking ~240 weeks, so about 5 years.

We know that the WIV has good international connections to other virologists around the globe, Australia, Texas, North Carolina, Berlin. I know that researchers like to talk amongst each other about their projects. I absolutely can't imagine that Dr Shi would have kept a project as big and as long as this a secret while it was ongoing. Some of her international colleagues would know. But nothing in the current situation indicates that they do.

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The nature letter was written by a group of virologists from the US, the UK, and Australia. My quote is heavily excerpted, I'm not indicating elisions.
Article:
1. Natural selection in an animal host before zoonotic transfer
This clearly shows that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein optimized for binding to human-like ACE2 is the result of natural selection.

For a precursor virus to acquire both the polybasic cleavage site and mutations in the spike protein suitable for binding to human ACE2, an animal host would probably have to have a high population density (to allow natural selection to proceed efficiently) and an ACE2-encoding gene that is similar to the human ortholog.

2. Natural selection in humans following zoonotic transfer
Sufficient opportunity could have arisen if there had been many prior zoonotic events that produced short chains of human-to-human transmission over an extended period.
Further serological studies should be conducted to determine the extent of prior human exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

3. Selection during passage
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​.

New polybasic cleavage sites have been observed only after prolonged passage of low-pathogenicity avian influenza virus in vitro or in vivo17​. 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.

In short, to create SARS-CoV-2 via animal passage, you'd have to find a lab animal where natural selection works to make the bat virus more efficient for humans, and nobody's done that before. You'd need to start with a virus that's close to SARS-CoV-2 so you don't take 40 years to do it, and nobody's seen a virus like that. And then you'd still need to run the equivalent of 29 chicken influenza passages, so ~120 coronavirus passages, which takes years.

What we do know is that people in the villages near the bat caves have bat-cov antibodies, which means 2 can't be ruled out (and people should probably stop going into bat caves repeatedly to hunt them).

So, to summarize this letter:
  1. SARS-CoV-2 could've entirely evolved in animals, we see one part in pangolins, another part in bats, they come together sometime and we get Covid. This is likely.
  2. SARS-CoV-2 could've evolved in a back-and-forth selection via human bat hunters. This is unproven and needs more research.
  3. SARS-CoV-2 could only have evolved in a lab if we assume several leaps in research that all would have been publishable in their own right, but weren't, and would have taken a very long time project running in secret. This is quite improbable.
To attack this evidence, you need to show that the WIV has made these leaps in research.
You would have to provide a strong motivation to keep this reasearch a complete secret for a long time, in an academic field where there is strong incentive for researchers to publish their findings, and for a group of researchers who have close contact with many colleagues across the world.
The letter has been published on the 17th of February on virological.org and on the 17th of March in Nature, and no such counterevidence has been forthcoming.

This is strong evidence that this virus evolved naturally, and it is also strong evidence that it did not evolve in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

To question this, you have to either discover new evidence (hasn't happened), or you have to assume a number of unlikely things that we have no evidence for, in the face of a likely explanation that we do have evidence for. In short, this question is not driven by evidence, but rather by wishful thinking that assumes the worst of fellow humans without any evidence to back it up.
The bold part is why conspiracy theorists are often depressing me.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
In short, to create SARS-CoV-2 via animal passage

this thread is about not-manmade virus escaping the lab. There is another thread to discuss whether the virus was created or modified in some way by humans in the lab.
 

Oystein

Senior Member
this thread is about not-manmade virus escaping the lab. There is another thread to discuss whether the virus was created or modified in some way by humans in the lab.
I am not sure there is a clear line between "manmade" and "not manmade" when talking ab out viruses in research labs:

In my semantic dictionary, "man-made" invokes the idea that there was a directed production process towards a pre-described result.

What they do at Chapel Hill or WIH is not that. Viruses in such research are neither "created" nor "modified" by humans. Instead, they mutate / modify themselves (both in nature and in lab experiments), and researchers observe those modifications (again, both in nature and in lab experiments).
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Instead, they mutate / modify themselves (both in nature and in lab experiments), and researchers observe those modifications (again, both in nature and in lab experiments).
I think if they modify themselves in lab experiments, then this means man-made. at least as far as keeping these different threads on topic.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The WHO spoke on this topic in the Q&A section of their May 4th press briefing. First, Maria van Kerkhove said that it is important to identify the true orgin of the epidemic and the intermediate hosts that may be involved so that we can prevent future outbreaks, citing MERS and dromedary camels as an example. Then Michael Ryan spoke on the political issues:
Article:
MR Just a supplement on your first question; no, we have not received any data or specific evidence from the US Government relating to the purported origin of the virus so from our perspective this remains speculative gut, like any evidence-based organisation we would be very willing to receive any information that purports to... the origin of the virus because, as Maria said, the origin of the virus is a very important piece of public health information for future control.

So if that data and evidence is available then it will be for the United States Government to decide whether and when it can be shared but it's difficult for WHO to operate in an information vacuum in that specific regard.

So we focus on what we know, we focus on the evidence we have and the evidence we have from the sequencing and from all that we have been advised is the virus itself is of natural origin and we need to understand more about that natural origin and particularly about intermediate hosts.
[..]
We have offered - as we do in every case with every country - assistance with carrying out those investigations and I'm sure colleagues in OAE and FAO are equally keen to offer that support. But again, a bit like the mission in February, we need to understand that we can learn from Chinese scientists, we can learn from each other, we can exchange knowledge and we can find the answers together.

If this is projected as an aggressive investigation of wrongdoing then I believe that's much more difficult to do. That's a political issue, that is not a science issue. We see scientists in China communicating and collaborating around the world right the way through this pandemic. We would like to see that spirit continue and we would like to see scientists at the centre of the exploration of the source of this.

Science needs to be at the centre. Science will find the answers. The implications of those answers can be dealt with from a policy and political perspective. So if we have a science-based investigation and a science-based inquiry as to what the origin species and the intermediate species are then that will benefit everybody on the planet and we believe that can be achieved with the appropriate approach to that very important question.

I can read this two ways:
  • if it didn't come from the Wuhan lab, then this asks whoever is pushing that theory to drop it, as it impedes necessary investigations
  • if it did come from the Wuhan lab, then this asks those who know to come forward with this information so that the origin of this epidemic can be properly understood. Politicizing the issue would presumably prevent this from happening as well.
Basically, the WHO says that political pressure won't achieve anything (and tends to be harmful) as long as nobody has any evidence to share.
 
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Trailspotter

Senior Member.
The Editorial in Science magazine on the subject published online 8 May 2020.

Both/and problem in an either/or world
H. Holden Thorp
Editor-in-Chief, Science journals

The genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 rules out a lab-engineered virus. And although escape from a lab of a naturally occurring virus that was isolated from bat specimens collected by scientists cannot be completely eliminated as the origin, the closest laboratory version of the virus (published by Shi and collaborators) is separated from SARS-CoV-2 by at least 20 years of evolutionary time. SARS-CoV-2 would have had to have escaped from the lab decades ago—or, another virus that was brought into the lab and not documented somehow escaped. Either way, only a chain of unlikely events could explain laboratory involvement.

The U.S. administration instructed its intelligence community to investigate this matter. Last week, these intelligence agencies ruled out that the virus was lab-engineered. They have not reached any conclusions about whether a virus might have escaped from the lab. But in the absence of evidence, the administration will likely turn uncertainty into “truth”—a lab escape—that serves its narrative.
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Full text is here:
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/early/2020/05/08/science.abc6859.full.pdf
 

Lighteater

New Member
I must say, at the start of all this, I did think that the presence of the Wuhan laboratory, doing what it does, in the same Chinese province where Covid-19 allegedly emerged, was all a bit too coincidental for someone who doesn't believe in coincidences. However, in a recent turnaround event (they do happen from time to time) I swung more towards the naahhh camp; I don't now believe that it did come out of the lab, accidentally or otherwise.

The reason for this particular Road to Damascus moment (accepting I may still be wrong, of course, or wrong now) was reading this piece in Quilette by Phillippe Lemoine. He tackles the wet-market theory first (with equal clarity and skill) and starts the section on the lab origin by saying...

I won’t waste time on the claim that Chinese researchers deliberately released the virus because it’s absurd on its face. But the theory that SARS-CoV-2 accidentally escaped from a lab deserves scrutiny because it’s not entirely implausible and because it has been promoted not only by US public officials, but also by commentators in mainstream news organisations. However, it’s not easy to discuss this theory, because its adherents employ a kind of “death by a thousand cuts” strategy. They bring up a lot of things which they claim support a version of the lab escape theory, but which, upon closer inspection, are either confused or don’t really support it at all. When this is pointed out, they simply move on to dozens of other alleged incongruities, and continue to insist that the lab escape theory be taken seriously. I can’t realistically hope to address every argument that has been put forward in favour of this theory and, even if I could, I’m not convinced it would be useful or necessary. So instead I’m going to focus on the arguments that have received most mainstream attention and identify some logical flaws in their reasoning.
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He does a fine job of tackling the big arguments put forward in favour of this theory, and ends with his most plausible version of events;

Somewhere in rural China, someone probably became infected by SARS-CoV-2 or its ancestor and then travelled to Wuhan or infected someone who did. Perhaps he came to sell produce or to visit his family. In any case, the virus eventually reached Huanan Seafood Market, which served as a springboard from which the virus spread to the rest of Wuhan, and eventually across the entire world. The original spillover event may not even have occurred in Hubei, since Wuhan is a major transportation hub in the middle of China, and a very large number of people from all over China pass through it every day. We’ll probably never know for sure how the outbreak started, but given how many people are likely infected by bat coronaviruses in China every year, this is the most plausible scenario. By contrast, only a very small number of people work in labs that study bat coronaviruses in Wuhan and, unlike regular people who come in contact with bats, they are trained in extremely strict safety protocols. So I don’t see why we should regard the lab escape theory as anything other than a theoretical possibility that is not particularly likely.
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I guess not every question has a solid answer.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Tucker Carlson has been promoting this theory on Fox News again, which has been leapt on by QAnon
this thread is for not man-made. here is the thread you want https://www.metabunk.org/threads/cl...drawn-by-authors-other-man-made-claims.11103/

and specifics would be nice
The whistleblower released a paper Monday on the open-access repository website Zenote that she says backs up her claims and shows how the virus could be “conveniently created” in a lab setting in six months.
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https://nypost.com/2020/09/16/twitter-suspends-virologist-who-claims-covid-19-was-made-in-lab/


it sounds like she is claiming authority/experience, so this is probably a paper to be looked at closer by debunkers.


Yan said more evidence would be released but pointed to her own high-ranking position at a World Health Organization reference lab as a reason to trust her allegation.

"I work[ed] in the WHO reference lab, which is the top coronavirus lab in the world, in the University of Hong Kong. And the thing is I get deeply into such investigation in secret from the early beginning of this outbreak. I had my intelligence because I also get my own unit network in China, involved [in] the hospital ... also I work with the top corona[virus] virologist in the world," she said.

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https://www.foxnews.com/media/chinese-virologist-government-intentionally-coronavirus
 

JEP

New Member
Robert Redfield, the CDC director from 2018 to 2021, described (seemingly without providing any evidence) in an interview with CNN, that he believes that SARS-CoV-2 originated in a lab, though not by any intent to engineer a virus that is pathogenic and highly transmissible in humans:


Redfield: I am of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was a.. from a laboratory, umm, you know, escaped.
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Source: 1:12 [1]


Redfield: I do not believe this somehow came from a bat to a human, and at that moment in time, the virus came to the human, became one of the most infectious viruses we know in humanity for human-to-human transmission. Normally when a pathogen goes from a zoonote [sic] to a human, it takes a while for it to figure out how to become more and more efficient in human-to-human transmission. I just don’t think this makes biological sense.
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Source: 2:28 [1]


In place of evidence, he instead suggests that this belief stems from his intuition developed as a virologist. He posited that SARS-CoV-2 (CoV-2 for short) developed as a result of lab personnel's attempts to make the virus "grow better and better" (3:05 [1]), not that it was intentionally engineered to spread in humans. Specifically, he stated:


Redfield: Yeah, let's just say I have coronavirus and I'm working on it. Most of us in a lab who are trying to grow a virus, we try to help make it grow better and better and better and better and better and better so we can do experiments and figure out about it. I th... that's... that's the way I put it together.
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Source: 3:00 [1]

However, his reasoning does not appear to be cogent. Specifically:
  1. The high transmissibility seems to be poor evidence for lab intervention:
    • SARS-CoV-1 (CoV-1 for short), one of the most closely related known viruses, is a specific counterexample. The basic reproductive number for CoV-1 has been estimated to be 2.0-3.0, compared to 2.5 (1.8-3.6) for CoV-2 [2]. Thus, unless Redfield is arguing that the etiology of CoV-1 is similarly of lab creation, a comparably high transmissibility does not seem to be a valid reason to postulate a lab origin for CoV-2 (note, CoV-1 does indeed appear to be of zoonotic origin: [3, 4]). Indeed, the research described in [3, 4] exactly provides a mechanism whereby CoV-2 may have become so transmissible; namely, that multiple strains developed and mixed in bats, as hypothesized is what occurred in CoV-1.
  2. Lab personnel's making it easier to produce, per his own reasoning, should not make it more transmissible in humans:
    • Unless the lab personnel were intentionally trying to make the virus “grow better and better” (3:05 [1]) in humans, then it isn't clear why CoV-2’s being easier to produce would imply increased human transmissibility
    • Of course, such attempts to make the virus easier to produce may (by chance or poor choice) make it more transmissible in humans, in a similar way that mutations in a host, such as bats or pangolins, may (by chance or due to biological similarities) make the virus more transmissible in humans
    • If, instead, the lab wanted to make it easier to produce in the conditions of a human cell or close thereto, then the reasons listed elsewhere in this thread, including those listed here [5, 6] that argued against such intentional engineering, immediately become relevant

References:
1 - CNN Interview on YouTube where Redfield describes beliefs that the SARS-CoV-2 escaped from a lab in Wuhan (note, I transcribed the quotes from the source audio): Source: https://youtu.be/f0_RhfT21bw

2 - Paper from The Lancet that compares the SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and influenza pandemics. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1473309920304849
3 - Article from Nature News that describes research from 2017 linking genetic material from horseshoe bats to SARS-CoV-1: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-017-07766-9
4 - Paper from PLOS Pathogens that links genetic material from horseshoe bats to SARS-CoV-1: https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1006698
5 - Web article from Scripps Research that describes research from 2020 with evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was not engineered by humans for human-to-human transmissibility: https://www.scripps.edu/news-and-events/press-room/2020/20200317-andersen-covid-19-coronavirus.html
6 - Paper from Nature Medicine that describes evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was not engineered by humans for human-to-human transmissibility: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9
 
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obiwanbenobi

Active Member
in reading the wiki article about him you see that he's not above playing loose with facts. :(

his education history says he should have been above such things, but it looks to me like his personal opinions got in the way of the science in too many places.

i think this is also true in this case. QED bunk
 

noahwins

New Member
Doug McNeil, NYT science reporter on LLT. Pretty thin gruel if you ask me.

The first article I know of blaming the Wuhan Institute of Virology ran on January 26 in the Washington Times, a conservative paper founded by the Unification Church.

So the Moonies, Trump himself and Q-Anon crazies all think it was a lab leak. That's something.

It's definitely possible the Umbrella Corporation Resident Evil scenario played out. But the mundane explanation sounds more likely absent any other evidence.

https://donaldgmcneiljr1954.medium....ing-and-love-the-lab-leak-theory-f4f88446b04d
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
But the mundane explanation sounds more likely absent any other evidence.

https://donaldgmcneiljr1954.medium....ing-and-love-the-lab-leak-theory-f4f88446b04d
The one piece of information that I had not known about, in that article, was that all of the viruses in the WIV were "bookmarked" and that according to everyone familiar with the Institute, RaTG13 is really the closest fit.
That's super easy to check, and the WHO delegation would have checked it. It's an alibi.

Dr. Daszak had worked for years with Dr. Shi Zheng-li, the “Bat Woman” who now runs the Wuhan institute. His zoologists and field veterinarians had taught her bat-sampling — a dangerous practice even in caves with tourists in bathing suits wandering around.

Freezers contain hundreds of viruses. It is too expensive to fully sequence all of them and impossible to grow them all out in cell culture, he explained. So labs create a set of “bookmarks.” They sequence one short gene, called RdRP, that seldom mutates and keep a list of their RdRPs. Sometimes they post their lists to a public database like GISAID or Genbank.

Since the world had previously been looking only for relatives of the dangerous 2002 SARS or MERS, he said, labs would care only if a virus’ RdRP gene closely matched those.

“If it doesn’t, it’s of no interest, so you pop it back in the freezer,” he said.

Later, if a new dangerous virus turns up, labs can check their bookmarks for a match, thaw that one out and sequence all of it. That was why RaTG13 was found so quickly, he said. Ditto for pangolin virus sequences found in the freezers of the South China Agricultural University.

Because there were no viruses with closer RdRP matches either in public databanks or in a private Wuhan Institute list of 630 unposted RdRP genes he had seen, he said, the Wuhan lab presumably held nothing closer than a 40-year-distant relative of the killer virus.

“Believe me, if there had been, no one would have kept that a secret,” he said to me more than a year ago. “It would be a huge discovery. We’d be over the moon.”
Content from External Source
The rest - that there could have been someone else or another lab - is speculation so devoid of evidence that it hasn't even made the conspiracy theories.
 

obiwanbenobi

Active Member
...
The rest - that there could have been someone else or another lab - is speculation so devoid of evidence that it hasn't even made the conspiracy theories.

Sadly there's no shortage of people who want to keep grabbing on this issue as a reason to flog others of their own nationality... :( Thanks for posting the above. :)
 

ump

New Member
To question this, you have to either discover new evidence (hasn't happened), or you have to assume a number of unlikely things that we have no evidence for, in the face of a likely explanation that we do have evidence for. In short, this question is not driven by evidence, but rather by wishful thinking that assumes the worst of fellow humans without any evidence to back it up.

This is just the passive aggressive way of doing exactly what you're complaining about - you're assuming the worst in other people yourself!

Let's make you feel better by showing why you are wrong:

1. A lab accident is NOT the worst in other people - everyone has them. Morally, its invisibly small stuff compared to, you, ethnic freaking cleansing. Which the Chinese government actually does. Not to mention the evidence is that they did cover-up the seriousness of covid is much worse morally than having a slightly sloppy lab! So it's utterly silly to complain that it's an attempt to portray the Chinese as evil. So stop slandering people you disagree with when lecturing other people in how to be nice, yes?

2. There is very, very good reason to believe that the outbreak came from a lab. The alternatives are/were -

i. The live market: this now seems to be out, as the right animals weren't been sold there

ii. Someone was bitten by a bat in the wild, hundreds of miles from Wuhan. And then they traveled there and infected people in Wuhan, but no where else.

iii. Someone was infected in the lab.

The problem with ii. is that it requires someone to be bitten in a distant location and then to travel - immediately - to Wuhan. The only city in freaking China with a lab researching these viruses.

We can actually reasonably estimate the odds of this. What are the chances of a bat bite victim in a remote region traveling in the days following a bite? 1 in several hundred, reasonably. What are the chances of their picking the only city in China with the right lab as the destination? 1 in 1000?

...So the odds are pretty remote - we're looking at a conincidence at the one in a million level. Which is why people who disagree with you aren't as evil as you suppose - they just have a better grasp of probabilities.

As the probability of an infection in the wild vs infection in the lab, ignoring the Wuhan angle... Firstly, the lab had been criticised for outstandingly bad safety. Secondly, if the Chinese were experimenting with potential crossover virusses to prepare countermeasures, that's considered extremely dangerous work exactly because it could generate a pandemic.

So putting everything together - you really do need to don a tin hat to ignore the possibility - perhaps even probability - that this was a lab accident. By which I mean you have to employ precisely the logic that various Truthers do - that of making irrational appeals to emotion and not crunching the numbers on relative probability.
 
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ump

New Member
Something else that should be taken into account: the Chinese are known to have conducted Gain Of Function virus research. Meaning -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gain_of_function_research

Gain of function research (GoFR) is a term used to describe any field of medical research which alters an organism or disease in a way that increases pathogenesis, transmissibility, or host range (the types of hosts that a microorganism can infect). This research is intended to reveal targets to better predict emerging infectious diseases and to develop vaccines and therapeutics.

Here's the known Chinese example -

In May 2013, Hualan Chen, who was then director of the China's National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory, and colleagues successfully created a new strain of influenza virus through a gain-of-function experiment at the BSL3 approved Harbin Veterinary Research Institute.[25] The Chinese scientists "deliberately mixed the H5N1 bird-flu virus, which is highly lethal [to birds] but not easily transmitted between [humans], with a 2009 strain of H1N1 flu virus, which is very infectious to humans."[26] This event caused consternation in European biotech circles, as Professor Simon Wain-Hobson of the Pasteur Institute the Chinese scientists "haven’t been thinking clearly about what they are doing. It’s very worrying... The virological basis of this work is not strong. It is of no use for vaccine development and the benefit in terms of surveillance for new flu viruses is oversold," while Lord May of Oxford said: "The record of containment in labs like this is not reassuring. They are taking it upon themselves to create human-to-human transmission of very dangerous viruses. It’s appallingly irresponsible."[26]

So, again, saying that people only suspect a lab accident in China because they're Bad People is just silly. We have -

- The "accused" country is doing exactly the most dangerous and relevant kind of research...

- The virus appears in the city where the most relevant lab is - against literally staggering odds...

- The city is hundreds of miles from any actual bats...

- The lab has a poor safety record

- The Chinese restricted information in a damaging way

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/heal...cientists-early-coronavirus-outbreak-n1222246

- The Chinese only cooperated with an investigation ito the virus's origins at all after insisting on conditions that made it significantly less effective -

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/02/world/who-china-coronavirus.html

And perhaps most significantly of all, covid is too good at spreading between humans for a newly "jumped" virus. Interview with two actual scientists on Bill Maher:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMGWLLDSA3c


So, again, I'd like to suggest that the guy making attacks on people for having different opinions to him - based on the idea that ONLY bad people could suspect the lab origin - stop. Even WHO, with the need to keep the Chinese sweet, openly consider the lab theory possible. Freaking FAUCI considers it possible and wants an investigation -

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-57268111

"That possibility certainly exists, and I am totally in favour of a full investigation of whether that could have happened," Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, told the US senate committee on 11 May.

...Dr Fauci now says he's "not convinced" the virus originated naturally. That's a shift from a year ago, when he thought it most likely Covid had spread from animals to humans.


And anyone who understands the science at all would remember this -

That idea was backed by the WHO report, which said it was "likely to very likely" that Covid had made it to humans through an intermediate host.
This hypothesis was widely accepted at the start of the pandemic, but as time has worn on, scientists have not found a virus in either bats or another animal that matches the genetic make-up of Covid-19, casting doubt over the theory.


The probability chain on the virus jumping from bats to humans and showing in Wuhan is too insane, which is why an intermediate host was required. But that host doesn't exist - which leaves the Crazy Jump and the Lab Theories. And the Lab Theory is the that doesn't require a miracle to have happened. This is why Fauci has changed his mind and even the WHO - who have really let the Chinese steamroll them in the past - is admitting the possibility.
 

obiwanbenobi

Active Member
everyone is taking Fauci's recent comment out of context. to me that's sign enough of someone who's not actually being honest in their comments.

there is a lot of intentional FUD on this topic.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
everyone is taking Fauci's recent comment out of context.
telling outside readers that "everyone is taking Fauci's recent comment out of context", is not helpful. Perhaps you should elaborate and provide links to outside readers to video of Fauchi and what he actually said with the full context.
 

ump

New Member
telling outside readers that "everyone is taking Fauci's recent comment out of context", is not helpful. Perhaps you should elaborate and provide links to outside readers to video of Fauchi and what he actually said with the full context.
Indeed.

This thread really hasn't aged well. It show a complete lack of basic logic:

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/202...inside-the-fight-to-uncover-covid-19s-origins

Dr. Richard Ebright, board of governors professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University, said that from the very first reports of a novel bat-related coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, it took him “a nanosecond or a picosecond” to consider a link to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Only two other labs in the world, in Galveston, Texas, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, were doing similar research. “It’s not a dozen cities,” he said. “It’s three places.”

What we're looking at here is the equivalent of 911 nuts who deny that's even possible that terrorists were behind the collapse of towers using selective reasoning and partial sources. It's especially hilarious that people have argued that the lab hypothesis has to be rejected because no investigation on the ground was conducted to prove it. In freaking China...
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
What we're looking at here is the equivalent of 911 nuts who deny that's even possible that terrorists were behind the collapse of towers using selective reasoning and partial sources.
well depending on what sources one reads and how they interpret the wording (like that poll regarding covid-19 the pandemic vs SARS-CoV-2 the virus), people can be misinterpreting what they read.

This thread is called "not man made" but some think "not man made" means even if scientists helped it manipulate itself in a lab, it is "natural origin SARS-Cov-2". I think if men messed with it at all (by introducing it to environments where it can mutate itself) it is "man-made".

So it is one of those weird conversations, ripe with misinterpretation potential.

and you not using ex or quote tags to highlight what you are quoting vs what you are saying yourself, does not help at all.
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/how-to-use-ex-tags-for-quoting-external-content.525/

and really if you are going to quote fauchi, you shouldnt quote another source quoting fauchi.. even if it is the BBC. I don't agree with some of the wording the BBC chose in that article when i went and watched the actual videos of speeches. Just find the video of Fauchi himself and give timestamps.
 

Mauro

Senior Member
Nature has published a non-paywalled essay about "The COVID lab-leak hypothesis": https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01529-3

They don't actually take a stance on the matter:
Scientists don’t have enough evidence about the origins of SARS-CoV-2 to rule out the lab-leak hypothesis, or to prove the alternative that the virus has a natural origin.

But they discuss many arguments given pro or against the lab-leak, very informative.
 

captancourgette

Active Member
Dr. Richard Ebright, board of governors professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University, said that from the very first reports of a novel bat-related coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, it took him “a nanosecond or a picosecond” to consider a link to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Only two other labs in the world, in Galveston, Texas, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, were doing similar research. “It’s not a dozen cities,” he said. “It’s three places.”
Perhaps he should of taken a bit longer than a nanosecond to think about it as from Mauro's good linked Nature Article https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01529-3
Virology labs tend to specialize in the viruses around them, says Vincent Munster, a virologist at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories, a division of the National Institutes of Health, in Hamilton, Montana. The WIV specializes in coronaviruses because many have been found in and around China. Munster names other labs that focus on endemic viral diseases: influenza labs in Asia, haemorrhagic fever labs in Africa and dengue-fever labs in Latin America, for example. “Nine out of ten times, when there’s a new outbreak, you’ll find a lab that will be working on these kinds of viruses nearby,” says Munster.

Researchers note that a coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan isn’t surprising, because it’s a city of 11 million people in a broader region where coronaviruses have been found. It contains an airport, train stations and markets selling goods and wildlife transported there from around the region5 — meaning a virus could enter the city and spread rapidly.
Of course this is not conclusive either way but if this is close to where it occurs naturally then it could just be from natural origins, Sure the guy would have a much stronger case if it occurred in eg near the lab in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where I assume similar coronavirus are not endemic
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
o, again, saying that people only suspect a lab accident in China because they're Bad People is just silly. We have -

- The "accused" country is doing exactly the most dangerous and relevant kind of research...

- The virus appears in the city where the most relevant lab is - against literally staggering odds...

- The city is hundreds of miles from any actual bats...

- The lab has a poor safety record

- The Chinese restricted information in a damaging way

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/heal...cientists-early-coronavirus-outbreak-n1222246

- The Chinese only cooperated with an investigation ito the virus's origins at all after insisting on conditions that made it significantly less effective -

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/02/world/who-china-coronavirus.html
- the US is also doing this research, as do most other countries
- the virus gets *identified* in the city where the relevant lab is -- cause and effect
- the first SARS outbreak was not from bats, there was an intermediate host (most likely civet cats)
- the lab does not have a poor safety record (all it has was an article published when the US withdrew its help training lab personnel)
- the Chinese feared Western propaganda turned against them
- which also impacts the investigation

*everyone* considered the possibility that the virus could have escaped from the lab
which is why Shi Zhengli immediately spent a few days checking all databases of the viruses they had in the lab
but the genetic fingerprints do not match
to not believe this information you have to believe that
-- the WIV is not an academic institute with international contacts and many international visitors
-- who are very open about the research they do and the data they have
-- a researcher who chose to dedicate their life to research this disease would deliberately obscure the origin of this pandemic
-- and would not use her international contacts to blow the whistle if she was muzzled by the government

and that is why I dislike people who peddle this theory

---------------------------

any recent press publications who bring up these suspicions are interested in
-- putting pressure on China to allow international teams to investigate the actual source
-- getting funding from anti-China politicians for the investigation

the facts have not changed, they still speak against the "escape from the lab" theory
that's "basic logic"
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
and that is why I dislike people who peddle this theory

---------------------------

any recent press publications who bring up these suspicions are interested in
-- putting pressure on China to allow international teams to investigate the actual source
-- getting funding from anti-China politicians for the investigation

so if the outbreak originated in America
and Rumsfield said it wasnt from our lab
and Trump's administration were not transparent,
then any person who was on his case about it, and approving funding for investigations, would be anti-America?

fair enough.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Of course this is not conclusive either way but if this is close to where it occurs naturally
if its from mutated RATG13, it's not that close. (Nature article says RATG13 is in Yunnan)

and we don't know if it occurs anywhere naturally. That's the issue, we need to try to find out to have a better chance of stopping the next pandemic.


Screenshot 2021-06-13 100122.png
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Today [10.27.2022], the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Minority oversight staff released an interim report titled, “An Analysis of the Origins of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The interim staff report summarizes a review to date of publicly available, open-source information related to the potential origin of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Key Highlights:

  • Experts have proposed two dominant theories on the origins of the virus: (1) the virus is the result of a natural zoonotic spillover or (2) the virus infected humans as a consequence of a research-related incident. This report has reviewed open-source, publicly available information relevant to the origins of the virus.
  • While it remains possible that SARS-CoV-2 emerged as a result of a natural zoonotic spillover, facts and evidence found in previous documented zoonotic spillover events have not, to date, been identified in relation to this pandemic.Such gaps include the failure to identify the original host reservoir, the failure to identify a candidate intermediate host species, and the lack of serological or epidemiological evidence showing transmission from animals to humans, among others outlined in this report. [..]
  • Substantial evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic was the result of a research-related incident associated with a laboratory in Wuhan, China. [..]
  • This report describes a pattern of persistent biosafety problems at the WIV as indicated by a series of patents and procurements relevant to the biocontainment of a highly-pathogenic virus, like SARS-CoV-2. [..]
  • This investigation’s interim report concludes that SARS-CoV-2 and the resulting COVID-19 global pandemic was, more likely than not, the result of a research-related incit associated with coronavirus research in Wuhan, China.
Note that this report represents only the Republican side of the Senate health committee.

I find their line of argument suspect.
• limited evidence for zoonotic origin does not imply that zoonotic origin is unlikely
• their "substantial evidence" is circumstantial at best
• the "pattern of biosafety problems" is also circumstantial and subject to misinterpretation; it looks more like a pattern of attention to biosafety issues
• the report also argues that it's somehow impossible for China to have developed a vaccine faster than the USA did

Their reasoning is akin to a criminal investigation saying, "we have pretty much zero evidence, but that's our only suspect so let's run with that".
 

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Oystein

Senior Member
Does it help to estimate Bayesan a-priori probabilities?

I mean what are the a-priori likelihoods for either scenario (and what are those for any other ones), and subsequently what evidence modifies which a-priori likelihood, by how much?

There would have to be precedence for zoogenic pathogens jumping from animal to human in the wild vs in a lab. The former probably happens a lot more often than the latter. Shouldn't this mean that, in a hypothetical case where there is equal evidence for either hypothesis, the "jump in naturel" would have to be considered much more likely? Conversely, that the lab hypothesis would need much stronger evidene to eclipse the competition in likelihood?
(Then again, the location "Wuhan", right around a lab with the virus in question yet probably far from natural reservoirs, seems to be an important data point factoring into the Bayesan construct)
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
Then again, the location "Wuhan", right around a lab with the virus in question yet probably far from natural reservoirs, seems to be an important data point factoring into the Bayesan construct
Why was the lab in Wuhan studying a form of the virus in the first place? I can't find that info. Is that because they already had concern about a strange new virus, whether manifested in humans or in animals? In that case we may first have (1) animal to people transmission, (2) lab study of the pathogen, and (possibly but entirely unnecessary given number 1) (3) an escaped virus.

Reportedly, the variety studied in the lab is not the same as that which caused the massive initial infestation. It all boils down to the amount of trust one has in Chinese scientists or American politicians, unless someone in Metabunk has inside information which has not yet been made public. Either way, a belief in the particular source merely acts as a talking point to make political hay, and does nothing at all to curb or cure the virus.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
right around a lab
that's another thing that's bewildering me, because "8 miles" to me is like "4 villages over", as relates to the older WIV campus (the newer campus is 18 miles away).

it's only "right around" if your scale is Texas, not a densely populated city. In NYC terms, it's like saying the Upper West Side is right around Brooklyn.

Why was the lab in Wuhan studying a form of the virus in the first place? I can't find that info.
there are bat virus labs all over the world; the Berlin lab was instrumental in designing the WHO PCR test almost immediately, the US have e.g. the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill or the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston: "Any virus suspected of being biologically transmitted by arthropods or vertebrates is accepted for identification and characterization. The current WRCEVA virus collection consists of over 8,000 unique virus strains." ( https://www.utmb.edu/gnl/research/wrceva ). As it turns out, this is a very important area of research, and that has been very clear ever since 2002 when SARS emerged.

Note that the bat virus lab in Laos has collected bat virus strains that are closer to SARS-CoV-2 than the WIV's closest match, see https://www.metabunk.org/threads/covid-19-coronavirus-current-events.11085/page-34#post-287080 .
 
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FatPhil

Senior Member.
the scale is China.

Not really. People don't regularly travel (and thus carry infections) greater distances just because they're in a larger country. Big cities tend to be a bubble - multiple bubbles, and Wuhan's a very big city - comparable to London or New York, or the Washington Metropolitan Area. And let's not forget the honking great river that gets in the way:
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
People don't regularly travel (and thus carry infections) greater distances just because they're in a larger country. Big cities tend to be a bubble - multiple bubbles, and Wuhan's a very big city - comparable to London or New York, or the Washington Metropolitan Area. And let's not forget the honking great river that gets in the way:
that fits my NYC comparison, with Brooklyn being across the river as well.

But let's say the GOP narrative is true:
• there was a biosecurity breach (very circumstantial evidence)
• a WIV employed got infected (no evidence)
• they travelled around Wuhan infectiously (possible because Covid can infect while still asymptomatic)
• a) they happened to shop at the wet market (unlikely) and infect someone there (unlikely, it's really rare for Covid to spread via such a casual contact)
• or b) they happen to infect the person next to them on a long subway ride (possible) and that person just happens to work at the one place in the 8-million city where live animals that could carry the virus are being sold (very unlikely)

The fact that there is direct evidence linking the first outbreak to the wet market can't be disregarded. For the virus to not originate from an animal, but still end up there (while not starting clusters all around the city), would require an improbable amount of coincidence.
 
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