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Thread: Coronavirus origin? It likely arose in humans "in vivo" or "in vitro".

  1. #1 Coronavirus origin? It likely arose in humans "in vivo" or "in vitro". 
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    Current data on the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing the pandemic suggests it came from bats, but the closest genome homology found so far is only about 97%, too different for a direct link to people from just last November, 2019. The rate of mutation in the human population indicates that the jump from bats likely occurred much earlier, if the lethal virus evolved after prolonged exposure to a human host. Or it could have evolved in a lab in China (we hope not but possible).

    The high binding affinity of its S protein for the human ACE-2 receptor is in the nanomolar range. This is very tight binding, and strongly suggests that this virus either evolved over some years in humans (perhaps even a single person), or it arose by way of "gain-of-function" lab studies, which would not indicate a lab grown origin. It's affinity for two other receptors in human neurological cells provides additional evidence for either scenario. It appears too much for any other explanation. Coincidence is a tough buy-in on this one.

    Gain-of-function experiments are potentially very dangerous, but some countries have used it to see how far mutations might drive a virus to become highly infectious and lethal. It involves "serial" growing of the virus in human tissue culture with samplings along the way. It cannot be ruled out that this is indeed the source, likely at a lab in China. Of course they would never admit it, but it is highly probable considering the data so far. This virus is too adapted to human biochemistry to have jumped directly into humans like some others coronavirus have done. It very likely evolved to its current state in one or more humans (in vivo), or in human tissue culture (in vitro). see reference below

    Passage to the global population is obvious if it evolved directly in a human. If it evolved in tissue culture, it could have then infected a worker, who, taking it home, would then begin the global spread of the virus.

    Anybody have any other notions?

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7435492/


    Last edited by Double Helix; January 15th, 2021 at 08:53 PM. Reason: additional information - no change in concepts
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  3. #2 Additional informtion suggests lab origin for SARS-CoV-2 a real possibility. 
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    There appears to be increasing evidence for an "engineered" coronavirus leaking from a lab (or labs) in China in late 2019, possibly providing the link to the origin of SARS-CoV-2. Politico has published a lengthy article regarding this issue, and particularly notes "gain-of-function" studies, which were conducted by Chinese researchers (1).

    Quoting from the Politico article :

    "The Wuhan Institute of Virology had openly participated in gain-of-function research in partnership with U.S. universities and institutions. But the official told me the U.S. government had evidence that Chinese labs were performing gain-of-function research on a much larger scale than was publicly disclosed, meaning they were taking more risks in more labs than anyone outside China was aware of. This insight, in turn, fed into the lab-accident hypothesis in a new and troubling way.

    A little-noticed study was released in early July 2020 by a group of Chinese researchers in Beijing, including several affiliated with the Academy of Military Medical Science. These scientists said they had created a new model for studying SARS-CoV-2 by creating mice with human-like lung characteristics by using the CRISPR gene-editing technology to give the mice lung cells with the human ACE2 receptor — the cell receptor that allowed coronaviruses to so easily infect human lungs."

    end quote

    If this is true, there is a high probability that the SARS-CoV-2 evolved in a lab using artificial means to produce one or more pathogenic strains - i.e. by way of "gain of-function" studies. (See previous post above).

    A recent report also indicates that this virus has a higher binding affinity for the human ACE-2 protein than it does for the bat ACE-2 protein (2), a very telling aspect of its origin. This strongly suggests some selective "pressure" was applied to SARS-CoV-2 replication experiments, which could only be conducted in a lab. Available data indicate this may have been accomplished in mice genetically altered to express the human ACE-2 receptor. This would explain the high affinity binding of this virus for the human ACE-2 receptor, and indicates manipulation by viral research.

    There is also evidence from a Harvard study that people were likely falling ill to an unknown disease in August of 2019, and no cause was ever disclosed. (3) Additional evidence on the possibility of a lab leak is provided in an extensive review article published in USA Today (4).



    "In 2018, Diplomats Warned of Risky Coronavirus Experiments in a Wuhan Lab. No One Listened."

    1. https://www.politico.com/news/magazi...excerpt-474322


    "Cross-species recognition of SARS-CoV-2 to bat ACE2"

    2. https://www.pnas.org/content/118/1/e2020216118


    "Coronavirus May Have Been Spreading In China Last August, Harvard Research Suggests"

    3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/isabelt...arch-suggests/


    "Could an accident have caused COVID-19? Why the Wuhan lab-leak theory shouldn't be dismissed"

    4. https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/op...mn/4765985001/


    Last edited by Double Helix; June 9th, 2021 at 09:11 PM.
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  4. #3  
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    Off topic but I'd like your opinion.
    Heard criticism that Western countries have tacked Covid badly, but China has done a lot better.
    Is this the penalty we pay for having more freedom?
    Raises a big political issue.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Off topic but I'd like your opinion.
    Heard criticism that Western countries have tacked Covid badly, but China has done a lot better.
    Is this the penalty we pay for having more freedom?
    Raises a big political issue.
    Your post is quite correct, and very worrisome for all involved, but for different reasons.

    China has an extremely closed, suppressive system. With smart phones, cameras everywhere, supercomputers and facial recognition, they are capable of nearly complete control of over 1 billion people. Every action most people take which could impact the virus (or the state) is monitored by these technologies. With these means, they have cracked down on the ability of the virus to spread, and have been very successful at it. No motorcycle rallies, no spring break parties in the streets. None of that has been allowed.

    Western countries could never do such a thing. Too many people will not tolerate such suppressive activities, regardless of consequences, or so it would seem. In many areas, some are already on the verge of rebellion due to restrictions. The cost of freedom during a pandemics can clearly be rather high, though it need not be if people would abide by the simple rules of mitigating viral spread. Of course the economic toll is a much bigger issue.

    The global variation of people's behavior to the pandemic might remind some old timers of Buffalo Springfield's tune For What It's Worth :

    "Commenting" broadly, for many "free countries", there is this verse :

    What a field day for the heat
    A thousand people in the street
    Singing songs and carrying signs
    Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"


    For China and others like it there is this verse :

    Paranoia strikes deep
    Into your life it will creep
    It starts when you’re always afraid
    Step out of line, the man come and take you away


    Most of us would like to stay with the first verse. The latter one is much too suppressive, virus or not.

    Then one is also reminded of New Hampshire's license plates, which read "Live Free or Die". Under the right conditions, both could happen.

    It seems we can only hope for the best.
    Last edited by Double Helix; May 18th, 2021 at 08:59 PM.
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  6. #5  
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    NBC News reports that U.S. intelligence has identified three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology who sought medical care "after falling ill" of an undisclosed disease in November of 2020. (The story was first released in the Wall Street Journal.)

    The report adds to a growing body of evidence that SARS-CoV-2 may very well have been derived from lab experiments, and "escaped" by infecting unsuspecting lab workers and spreading it around Wuhan in the early stages. NBC had previously reported that U.S. intelligence agencies have never ruled out a lab-based origin for the virus, and that is still the case.

    Quoting from the story below*:

    “The most important implications of this would be to show that Wuhan Institute of Virology director Shi Zhengli was not being truthful when she said that no one in the institute had been ill in that time period,” said Jamie Metzl, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former national security official in the Clinton administration, who has been calling for an investigation into the lab theory.

    “Because so much of the argument against a possible lab incident origin of the pandemic depends on the word of Dr. Shi, proving her an unreliable source would essentially destroy the most significant argument that’s been used to counter the lab incident."

    end quote

    The origin story needs more data, but its really looking like a lab study gone badly astray. Let's all hope that future studies of novel viruses are more carefully controlled.



    "U.S. intel report identified 3 Wuhan lab researchers who fell ill in November 2019"

    *https://www.nbcnews.com/health/healt...s-who-n1268327
    Last edited by Double Helix; May 25th, 2021 at 03:59 PM.
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  7. #6  
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    The lab origin theory is gaining momentum. Let's hope we get a solid answer on this issue:

    "Democrats back growing calls for Congress to probe lab leak theory"

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/0...-theory-490951
    Last edited by Double Helix; May 26th, 2021 at 02:01 PM.
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  8. #7  
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    U.S. President Biden has ordered a full intel report on the origin of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (1). A lot of bad press for the Chinese has a lot wondering how this story went so sour. (Details, details. Always pay attention to the details.)

    A notable quote from the article is from our favorite epidemiologist Dr. Fauci:

    "Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, has maintained he believes the virus was passed from animals to humans, though he conceded this month he was no longer confident Covid-19 had developed naturally."

    It would appear that the Chinese have some serious explaining to do.



    "Covid: Biden orders intelligence report on virus origin"

    1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-57260009
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  9. #8  
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    Nature has published an overview of some of the details on the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing the current pandemic COVID-19*. The report clearly indicates that a lab-leak cannot be ruled out.

    Quoting from the article:

    "Most scientists say SARS-CoV-2 probably has a natural origin, and was transmitted from an animal to humans. However, a lab leak has not been ruled out, and many are calling for a deeper investigation into the hypothesis that the virus emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), located in the Chinese city where the first COVID-19 cases were reported."

    end quote

    While this states that "Most scientists say SARS-CoV-2 probably has a natural origin", that provides no indication that a lab-leak was not involved. Sequence data supporting a "natural" origin would clearly be indicated even from a lab-leak, unless there was sequence evidence of direct genome manipulation (e.g. splicing, etc.). That is, sequence data from a lab-leaked virus suggesting a "natural" origin would still be highly probable when replicating wild-type viruses. It is also significant to note that the WIV specializes in coronaviruses.

    One of the more telling aspects of this article is the intransigence of the Chinese on releasing details about its origin, and their suggestions that it came from another country, not China. Quoting from the article:

    "....China has asked that the probe examine other countries. Such reticence, and the fact that China has withheld information in the past, has fuelled suspicions of a ‘lab leak’. For instance, Chinese government officials suppressed crucial public-health data at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and during the 2002–04 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, according to high-level reports."

    end quote

    Another aspect of note from the report reveals a small lab-leak occurred in China after the first "SARS-1" outbreak. Quoting from the article:

    "Although lab leaks have never caused an epidemic, they have resulted in small outbreaks involving well-documented viruses. A relevant example happened in 2004, when two researchers were independently infected by the virus that causes SARS at a virology lab in Beijing that studied the disease. They spread the infection to seven others before the outbreak was contained."

    end quote.

    It is also noteworthy that the article concludes with Chinese stonewalling on the origin data. Quoting from the article:

    ".....China has not conceded to demands for a full lab investigation. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, Zhao Lijian, said that US labs should instead be investigated, and that some people in the United States “don't care about facts or truth and have zero interest in a serious science-based study of origins”."

    end quote.

    Clearly the Chinese are dissembling and are not providing the data allowing scientists to establish the true origin of this virus. Their suggesting the virus arose from a U.S. lab, and the hostile rhetoric on "facts or truth", is indicative. Perhaps more time, and accurate data from China (by some means) will answer the origin question.

    This should not be a political issue. If the virus arose from a lab, it is vital that we determine this and work to prevent a repeat.


    "The COVID lab-leak hypothesis: what scientists do and don’t know"

    * https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01529-3
    Last edited by Double Helix; June 9th, 2021 at 05:36 PM.
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  10. #9  
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    The Chinese are stonewalling a new, more comprehensive investigation into the origin of SARS-CoV-2, as reported by Politico*. Their denial to the world experts who are attempting to prevent a third coronavirus outbreak from China is being met by alarm among those who fear that the Chinese are hiding something about the nature of this virus and will not allow a transparent investigation.

    The suspicions of an engineered origin are only enhanced by such intransigence. If they have nothing to hide from the world, they would allow a full inspection to dispel all doubt. That is clearly the last thing they are offering.

    From the article, Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston notes:

    “We have had already two coronavirus pandemics come out of China and it’s more likely than not that we will have another coronavirus pandemic come out of China, so [a China-based probe] is our best chance to get our hands around how this gets out of bats and into humans. We can’t do this without going to China. There is no way you can get to the bottom of this from 5000 miles away.”

    end quote

    Also quoting the article:

    "The Chinese government has bristled at international focus on China as the possible origin location of Covid-19 and instead insisted that it “has multiple origins and broke out in multiple places.”"

    end quote

    To suggest that this virus had multiple points of origins is a blatant and extreme distortion of reality and is instructive of their real intentions regarding any open investigations. This virus came from one location, China, and it increasingly appears that we will never get a firm answer as to the precise origin of this pathogen.

    Considering the gravity of the issue, the most prudent prediction, without confirming evidence otherwise, is to assume the worst - this virus has a non-natural origin.


    "‘The virus is winning’: China’s rebuff of WHO’s new Covid probe alarms experts"

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/0...d-probe-500711
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Helix View Post
    The Chinese are stonewalling a new, more comprehensive investigation into the origin of SARS-CoV-2, as reported by Politico*. Their denial to the world experts who are attempting to prevent a third coronavirus outbreak from China is being met by alarm among those who fear that the Chinese are hiding something about the nature of this virus and will not allow a transparent investigation.

    The suspicions of an engineered origin are only enhanced by such intransigence. If they have nothing to hide from the world, they would allow a full inspection to dispel all doubt. That is clearly the last thing they are offering.

    From the article, Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston notes:

    “We have had already two coronavirus pandemics come out of China and it’s more likely than not that we will have another coronavirus pandemic come out of China, so [a China-based probe] is our best chance to get our hands around how this gets out of bats and into humans. We can’t do this without going to China. There is no way you can get to the bottom of this from 5000 miles away.”

    end quote

    Also quoting the article:

    "The Chinese government has bristled at international focus on China as the possible origin location of Covid-19 and instead insisted that it “has multiple origins and broke out in multiple places.”"

    end quote

    To suggest that this virus had multiple points of origins is a blatant and extreme distortion of reality and is instructive of their real intentions regarding any open investigations. This virus came from one location, China, and it increasingly appears that we will never get a firm answer as to the precise origin of this pathogen.

    Considering the gravity of the issue, the most prudent prediction, without confirming evidence otherwise, is to assume the worst - this virus has a non-natural origin.


    "‘The virus is winning’: China’s rebuff of WHO’s new Covid probe alarms experts"

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/0...d-probe-500711
    This seems to be a baseless conspiracy theory.

    It is certainly possible that the virus might have escaped from the Wuhan lab. But there seems to be no reason, from its make-up, to suspect that the virus is engineered in any way.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    It is certainly possible that the virus might have escaped from the Wuhan lab. But there seems to be no reason, from its make-up, to suspect that the virus is engineered in any way.

    The biochemical evidence for a direct "human-based" source for SARS-CoV-2 is derived primarily on its binding affinity for the human ACE-2 receptor, as determined from the original virus strain which emerged from China. Bats are still believed to be the primary source, but the closest sequence homology found so far is about 97%, too different to allow a direct jump. Manipulation of some related virus however, by gain-of-function studies, could have easily resulted in this human pathogen without an intermediate animal host, which has not been found despite enormous effort. It should be apparent that a gain-of-function origin for a virus is a form of engineering, providing a mechanism, and relying on the course of viral evolution by mutation to select for the most infectious strains.

    As mentioned in the first post, the original virus has binding affinity for the human ACE-2 receptor in the nanomolar range. This binding affinity has been experimentally determined to be 5-20 times higher than that of the original SARS virus (1). Thus the data indicate that the current virus affinity for its primary human receptor is higher, on average, by an order of magnitude - a non-trivial difference to be certain.

    It should also be clear that it is unlikely to have evolved with such a high affinity for the human receptor in a non-human animal, all of which would have ACE-2 receptors significantly different structurally from humans. While the virus is capable of infecting other animals (cats, etc.), there is no evidence of significant pathology or transmissibility in these animals, almost certainly due to a large decrease in affinity for non-human receptors. High receptor binding affinity is critical for significant viral replication and pathogenicity.

    Quoting from (1):

    "Wrapp et al. showed that the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 binds to the ACE2 peptidase domain (ACE2-PD) with a binding affinity clearly higher than that of SARS-CoV. The dissociation constant KD of SARS-CoV-2 is 14.7 nM, 10–20 times lower than that of SARS-CoV..."

    end quote

    Again, such a direct high affinity upon its appearance in humans suggests a non-natural origin. To appreciate the nature of gain-of-function aspects in viral evolution, the increase in virulence of this virus as it spreads among the human population is demonstrated by the various strains which have replaced the original in the pandemic. Some of the more infective strains are showing higher ACE-2 binding affinities, a classic example of gain-of-function (2), and is the very reason for conducting such studies - to find out how bad it can get. And we are surely finding out. To clarify, we are currently seeing gain-of-function applicability in the global pandemic as more and more infective strains evolve, primarily in those who have not be vaccinated or previously infected.

    Quoting from 2 :

    "It was shown that S-protein mutation D614G may impact SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility rate due to higher affinity for olfactory epithelium and it was shown to have higher transmissibility in animal models..."

    end quote

    Adding to the questionable origin of this virus is, as previously posted, that the Chinese were working with knockout mice where their ACE-2 receptor was replaced with the human version. This represents an excellent approach to gain-of-function studies, and there could be no other reasonable purpose for creating such a murine model. Clearly this was a very bad idea. It seems like a very good reason why they are extremely negative regarding a comprehensive study on its origin.

    And with Dr. Anthony Fauci indicating he no longer believes it has a natural origin, there is clearly growing evidence which strongly suggests that a laboratory derivation of this virus is more than likely.



    "Does SARS-CoV-2 Bind to Human ACE2 More Strongly Than Does SARS-CoV?"

    1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7433338/


    "Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and potential intervention approaches"

    2. https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/ar...54-021-03662-x
    Last edited by Double Helix; July 27th, 2021 at 08:00 PM.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Helix View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    It is certainly possible that the virus might have escaped from the Wuhan lab. But there seems to be no reason, from its make-up, to suspect that the virus is engineered in any way.

    The biochemical evidence for a direct "human-based" source for SARS-CoV-2 is derived primarily on its binding affinity for the human ACE-2 receptor, as determined from the original virus strain which emerged from China. Bats are still believed to be the primary source, but the closest sequence homology found so far is about 97%, too different to allow a direct jump. Manipulation of some related virus however, by gain-of-function studies, could have easily resulted in this human pathogen without an intermediate animal host, which has not been found despite enormous effort. It should be apparent that a gain-of-function origin for a virus is a form of engineering, providing a mechanism, and relying on the course of viral evolution by mutation to select for the most infectious strains.

    As mentioned in the first post, the original virus has binding affinity for the human ACE-2 receptor in the nanomolar range. This binding affinity has been experimentally determined to be 5-20 times higher than that of the original SARS virus (1). Thus the data indicate that the current virus affinity for its primary human receptor is higher, on average, by an order of magnitude - a non-trivial difference to be certain.

    It should also be clear that it is unlikely to have evolved with such a high affinity for the human receptor in a non-human animal, all of which would have ACE-2 receptors significantly different structurally from humans. While the virus is capable of infecting other animals (cats, etc.), there is no evidence of significant pathology or transmissibility in these animals, almost certainly due to a large decrease in affinity for non-human receptors. High receptor binding affinity is critical for significant viral replication and pathogenicity.

    Quoting from (1):

    "Wrapp et al. showed that the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 binds to the ACE2 peptidase domain (ACE2-PD) with a binding affinity clearly higher than that of SARS-CoV. The dissociation constant KD of SARS-CoV-2 is 14.7 nM, 10–20 times lower than that of SARS-CoV..."

    end quote

    Again, such a direct high affinity upon its appearance in humans suggests a non-natural origin. To appreciate the nature of gain-of-function aspects in viral evolution, the increase in virulence of this virus as it spreads among the human population is demonstrated by the various strains which have replaced the original in the pandemic. Some of the more infective strains are showing higher ACE-2 binding affinities, a classic example of gain-of-function (2), and is the very reason for conducting such studies - to find out how bad it can get. And we are surely finding out. To clarify, we are currently seeing gain-of-function applicability in the global pandemic as more and more infective strains evolve, primarily in those who have not be vaccinated or previously infected.

    Quoting from 2 :

    "It was shown that S-protein mutation D614G may impact SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility rate due to higher affinity for olfactory epithelium and it was shown to have higher transmissibility in animal models..."

    end quote

    Adding to the questionable origin of this virus is, as previously posted, that the Chinese were working with knockout mice where their ACE-2 receptor was replaced with the human version. This represents an excellent approach to gain-of-function studies, and there could be no other reasonable purpose for creating such a murine model. Clearly this was a very bad idea. It seems like a very good reason why they are extremely negative regarding a comprehensive study on its origin.

    And with Dr. Anthony Fauci indicating he no longer believes it has a natural origin, there is clearly growing evidence which strongly suggests that a laboratory derivation of this virus is more than likely.



    "Does SARS-CoV-2 Bind to Human ACE2 More Strongly Than Does SARS-CoV?"

    1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7433338/


    "Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and potential intervention approaches"

    2. https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/ar...54-021-03662-x
    What has Fauci actually said? Provide a citation please, if you would be so good.

    I have not seen any reports that he thinks it is of man-made origin. I would have expected that to be headline news, if he had said such a thing.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    What has Fauci actually said? Provide a citation please, if you would be so good.

    I have not seen any reports that he thinks it is of man-made origin. I would have expected that to be headline news, if he had said such a thing.
    Perhaps you have not read or have forgotten the post (#7) with Fauci's latest position, which was published by the BBC back in May (though not a direct quote):

    From the article below:

    "Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, has maintained he believes the virus was passed from animals to humans, though he conceded this month he was no longer confident Covid-19 had developed naturally."

    end quote

    "Covid: Biden orders intelligence report on virus origin"

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-57260009


    There are an increasing number of scientists with expertise in this area who are back-tracking on their initial claims that the virus must have come from an intermediate animal.

    For more insight into how a lab leak may have occurred, try running a search on "Humanized ACE2 mice". I also recall reading a number of articles that stated some experiments were conducted in BSL-2 containment labs, not the BSL-4 such experiments should require. One reference to that, and other significant issues, can be found in the following:

    "Opinion: State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses"

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...coronaviruses/

    quoting from this article:

    "There are similar concerns about the nearby Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention lab, which operates at biosecurity level 2, a level significantly less secure than the level-4 standard claimed by the Wuhan Insititute of Virology lab, Xiao said. Thatís important because the Chinese government still refuses to answer basic questions about the origin of the novel coronavirus while suppressing any attempts to examine whether either lab was involved."

    end quote
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    Just realized you may be blocked reading that Washington Post article if you are not a "member".

    Here is another link with the same story in pdf (would rate this as a "must read":

    (Note that this article was published in April of 2020 when much less was known about the virus and its potential origin.)

    https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/kleelerner/files/20200414_wapo_-_state_department_cables_warned_of_safety_issues_a t_wuhan_lab_studying_bat_coronaviruses_-_the_washington_post.pdf



    It certainly appears like the Chinese may have been setting the stage for our current situation. However, I reject any notions that this was intentional. It is like a dooms-day machine. You don't want to fool around with it. It would take some very warped thinking to risk wrecking the world by using a virus that may end up getting back at the those who released it. Also, it should be clear that there is no proof as to the origin of this virus one way or another, and that aspect may be permanent without more help from the Chinese.


    Last edited by Double Helix; July 28th, 2021 at 06:13 PM.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Helix View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    What has Fauci actually said? Provide a citation please, if you would be so good.

    I have not seen any reports that he thinks it is of man-made origin. I would have expected that to be headline news, if he had said such a thing.
    Perhaps you have not read or have forgotten the post (#7) with Fauci's latest position, which was published by the BBC back in May (though not a direct quote):

    From the article below:

    "Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, has maintained he believes the virus was passed from animals to humans, though he conceded this month he was no longer confident Covid-19 had developed naturally."

    end quote

    "Covid: Biden orders intelligence report on virus origin"

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-57260009


    There are an increasing number of scientists with expertise in this area who are back-tracking on their initial claims that the virus must have come from an intermediate animal.

    For more insight into how a lab leak may have occurred, try running a search on "Humanized ACE2 mice". I also recall reading a number of articles that stated some experiments were conducted in BSL-2 containment labs, not the BSL-4 such experiments should require. One reference to that, and other significant issues, can be found in the following:

    "Opinion: State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses"

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...coronaviruses/

    quoting from this article:

    "There are similar concerns about the nearby Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention lab, which operates at biosecurity level 2, a level significantly less secure than the level-4 standard claimed by the Wuhan Insititute of Virology lab, Xiao said. That’s important because the Chinese government still refuses to answer basic questions about the origin of the novel coronavirus while suppressing any attempts to examine whether either lab was involved."

    end quote
    I am well aware of that, but Fauci was nowhere near saying what you claim he said. All he said was he was no longer confident the virus had developed naturally. That is a long way from saying he "no longer believes it has a natural origin", which is what you claimed he said. It just means he is now open to the possibility that it did not arise in the wild.

    This sort of sloppy thinking on your part is highly regrettable. You are putting 2 and 2 together and making five.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    I am well aware of that, but Fauci was nowhere near saying what you claim he said. All he said was he was no longer confident the virus had developed naturally. That is a long way from saying he "no longer believes it has a natural origin", which is what you claimed he said. It just means he is now open to the possibility that it did not arise in the wild.
    While I admit to an overstatement, it is a major change from what he was saying before. And it should be noted that a major shift in many opinions is also going on. Many who claimed it must have come from "the wild" are now singing a different tune. That you missed the original post on Fauci's comment demonstrates you have paid a minimal consideration to the many details involved in this issue, which is curiously a common feature with many who comment on this topic.

    Fauci is also under a lot of political pressure regarding funding of the labs in China over the years. Republicans are claiming he helped fund experiments which may have resulted in this virus, which is not true. It is more than likely he is tempering his views as to issues of origin. But his recent acceptance of a possible lab leak is considered by many to be highly significant. When one is confident it came from the wild, it excludes all other options. That is CLEARLY no longer the case.

    Sadly you did not address the other technical issues. This one aspect out of the many noted is far from a rigorous rebuttal. A suggestion that this is all about simple math, in disregard of the other details, is not a scientific approach.

    Perhaps you can remedy that by addressing the many other issues regarding its origin, and exactly what you are "well aware of". A well informed debate is always a pleasure.


    The references below do not at all suggest a baseless conspiracy theory. Indeed, quite the opposite.


    "Another Group of Scientists Calls for Further Inquiry Into Origins of the Coronavirus"

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/13/s...cientists.html


    "More Scientists Call for Lab Leak COVID-19 Origin Investigation"

    https://www.infectioncontroltoday.co...-investigation


    "Fight Over Covidís Origins Renews Debate on Risks of Lab Work"

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/20/s...eak-wuhan.html


    "A Mouse Model of SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Pathogenesis"

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7250783/

    Last edited by Double Helix; July 29th, 2021 at 08:37 PM. Reason: added additional reference
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  18. #17  
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    It should be obvious that to prove a natural origin for the virus, a direct or intermediate animal must be found with a nearly identical genome as the current virus causing the global pandemic. As yet, no direct or intermediate host has been located despite enormous efforts. While these results do not, and may never rule out a natural origin, it is the only way to verify its appearance in humans from nature. There is simply no other approach for such a proof.

    If we have any chance to prevent a repeat of another pandemic, all possible sources must be examined. It would be negligent on the part of experts and governments if reasonable alternatives to its origin are not vigorously explored. It is, after all, well known that viral outbreaks have occurred by both natural transmission and laboratory sources. However, unlike the search for a natural origin, reliable information from various sources tend to suggest the real possibility of a lab leak. Such observations should not be lightly dismissed, or censored as they have been in many instances. (Run search on "social media censors lab leak theory"- but the worm has turned).

    In order to provide more information on the search for the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and to eliminate precepts of baseless conspiracy theories, a "Fact Sheet" on what is known by the U.S. Government was published in the Congressional Record Volume 167, Number 104 (Tuesday, June 15, 2021). See the link below* for this and other related information to the publication of this Fact Sheet, which was part of a U.S. Senator's investigation regarding a lab leak, and why it was not considered as a rational option (at that time). For brevity, the Fact Sheet was extracted from the above publication to present only its relevant findings by the U.S. State Department :

    Fact Sheet Activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology

    United States Department of State

    Scientists in China have researched animal-derived coronaviruses under conditions that increased the risk for accidental and potentially unwitting exposure.The CCP's [Chinese Communist Party] deadly obsession with secrecy and control comes at the expense of public health in China and around the world. The previously undisclosed information in this fact sheet, combined with open-source reporting, highlights three elements about COVID-19's origin that deserve greater scrutiny:

    1. Illnesses inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)

    The U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses. This raises questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli's public claim that there was ``zero infection'' among the WIV's staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses. Accidental infections in labs have caused several previous virus outbreaks in China and elsewhere, including a 2004 SARS outbreak in Beijing that infected nine people, killing one.The CCP has prevented independent journalists, investigators, and global health authorities from interviewing researchers at the WIV, including those who were ill in the fall of 2019. Any credible inquiry into the origin of the virus must include interviews with these researchers and a full accounting of their previously unreported illness.

    2. Research at the WIV

    Starting in at least 2016--and with no indication of a stop prior to the COVID-19 outbreak--WIV researchers conducted experiments involving RaTG13, the bat coronavirus identified by the WIV in January 2020 as its closest sample to SARS-CoV-2 (96.2% similar). The WIV became a focal point for international coronavirus research after the 2003 SARS outbreak and has since studied animals including mice, bats, and pangolins.The WIV has a published record of conducting ``gain-of-function'' research to engineer chimeric viruses. But the WIV has not been transparent or consistent about its record of studying viruses most similar to the COVID-19 virus, including ``RaTG13,'' which it sampled from a cave in Yunnan Province in 2013 after several miners died of SARS-like illness.WHO investigators must have access to the records of the WIV's work on bat and other coronaviruses before the COVID-19 outbreak. As part of a thorough inquiry, they must have a full accounting of why the WIV altered and then removed online records of its work with RaTG13 and other viruses.

    3. Secret military activity at the WIV

    Secrecy and non-disclosure are standard practice for Beijing. For many years the United States has publicly raised concerns about China's past biological weapons work, which Beijing has neither documented nor demonstrably eliminated, despite its clear obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention. Despite the WIV presenting itself as a civilian institution, the United States has determined that the WIV has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China's military. The WIV has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.

    end quote

    From these revelations, it should be clear that investigations into a lab origin, if accurately conducted, must not be ruled out based on preconceived notions as to any "low probability" for such an event.

    To conclude, there is currently no evidence to support a natural origin of the virus. This position is favored strictly because of numerous prior instances by which this has occurred. There is circumstantial evidence which suggests a lab leak, but nothing has yet been found to confirm it. As noted before, the origin of this virus may never be resolved.


    *https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/...t1-PgS4535.htm
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    The primary findings of a U.S. intelligence investigation on the origin of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has been reported (1). Although the full report remains to be published, the results, not surprisingly, are inconclusive.

    The Chinese response to the report remains typical - denial. Indeed, they continue to insist that it came from a research lab in the U.S., Fort Detrick. Since the pandemic doubtlessly started in Wuhan, China, one can only wonder how it got from Fort Detrick to Wuhan. Some might believe that an evil plot must be at play with this story line.

    The very notion that the U.S. created this virus and exported it to China to start the pandemic is indicative of the desperate attempts by the Chinese to deflect any notions that it even had its origin there. They have become so fond of this farcical story that they are pushing it to anyone who will listen, particularly to their own people (2).

    The New York Times published an extensive article back in June regarding various viral pathogens and their direct link to human experimental activities (3). One of the most significant and telling aspects from this article involves lab leaks of the first SARS coronavirus. Another paper in the British Medical Journal describes some of these leaks and where they occurred (4).

    Quoting from (3) :

    "Nearly every SARS case since the original epidemic has been due to lab leaks — six incidents in three countries, including twice in a single month from a lab in Beijing. In one instance, the mother of a lab worker died."

    end quote

    Most people, or at least professionals in the life sciences, should be inclined to believe that such observations suggest a lab leak origin for the current virus is a very distinct possibility. This is especially true since it has already happened six times in the past with a very similar virus.

    One of the most fundamental principles of accurate scientific observations requires "reproducible results". As such, a lab source for the current virus SARS-CoV-2 should not be the least bit surprising based on previous, reproducible results.




    "Coronavirus origins: US intelligence report 'inconclusive'"

    1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-...mpaign=KARANGA


    "Wuhan lab leak theory: How Fort Detrick became a centre for Chinese conspiracies"

    2. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-58273322


    "Where Did the Coronavirus Come From? What We Already Know Is Troubling."

    3. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/25/o...virus-lab.html


    "Breaches of safety regulations are probable cause of recent SARS outbreak, WHO says" (dated 2004)

    4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC416634/
    Last edited by Double Helix; August 25th, 2021 at 05:19 PM.
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