The Evolution of the SARS-COV-2 virus

In summary, the sudden appearance of SARS-COV-2 in humans raises questions about its ability to attack human cells and why it is highly contagious. Research has shown that the spike protein in the virus contains two components, one that binds to human cells and another that allows the virus to enter the cell. The activation of the second component requires cleavage of the spike protein, and SARS-CoV-2 contains a "potential furin cleavage site" that is not present in similar viruses. This suggests that human enzymes may be able to cleave the spike protein at this site, allowing the virus to infect human cells. It is believed that the virus originated in bats but evolved to gain the ability to infect humans through contact with
  • #71
Vanadium 50 said:
I don't think you answered my questions. Is there any source you consider reliable? For that matter, is there any evidence whatsoever that would convince you to change your mind?
I suspect you think my mind is closed and I am a lab origin hell or high water. Not true.

For the Nature/In The Wild hypothesis to be more valid for me I would like to see more evidential samples of a chain of mutation In The Wild.

Trying to be objective I have even offered that the unknown host/s should be mammal/reside in China/have contact with humans/ and most importantly their ACE2 receptors should be very similar to humans.

Returning to your question of reliability. There are many good experiments. However, where they falter is in the interpretation of results. Red flags for me are when "strongly" or "extremely unlikely" are used.
 
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  • #72
Warning - This is not suggested for those lacking in curiosity.

How Peer Review is Use to Suppress

It is hard for me to explain the persist energy and constant vigor being dispatched in defense of the Natural/Wild Life Origin for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is almost as if it is a virus itself.

If you have not read this article you should read it and the comments -Beijing’s useful idiots - Science journals have encouraged and enforced a false Covid narrative https://unherd.com/2021/06/beijings-useful-idiots/

I thought the article well done. Do also read the comments. However, I might have missed something. I stand ready to debate this. Perhaps I am completely wrong.


 
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  • #73
I did not read the comments, but did finish the article. My overall impression is that it is written in the form and tone normally used in conspiracy theory articles... and without a single traceable reference to any of the purported facts that are presented.

The emotional tone is of a type that is rather effective for those that are not used to rigorous, step-by-step thinking that requires facts rather than opinion. :cry:
 
  • #74
Tom.G said:
I did not read the comments, but did finish the article. My overall impression is that it is written in the form and tone normally used in conspiracy theory articles... and without a single traceable reference to any of the purported facts that are presented.

The emotional tone is of a type that is rather effective for those that are not used to rigorous, step-by-step thinking that requires facts rather than opinion. :cry:
Much of the difference is not so much the facts, but their interpretation. For example, they say "This masked a link to three miners who had died from a strange respiratory disease while clearing out bat droppings in a cave in south China, which was hundreds of miles from Wuhan but used by Shi and her colleagues to collect samples from bats. The Wuhan researchers even admitted they had eight more undisclosed Sars-like viruses from the mine.". While the passage quoted is based on facts, the suspicion it attempts to raise is not warranted, since Shi Zhengli's group had openly published several years before that they had been making sampling trips and collected samples that included sequences from Sars-like viruses. While there were a couple of details omitted that prevented one easily knowing which particular previously reported trips and partial samples were involved, almost everything that is made to seem like a "cover-up" was very openly published.

Here's a published paper from 2016 describing samples from a mine
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26920708/
"Sequenced partial RdRp fragments had 80%–99% nucleic acid sequence identity with well-characterized Alphacoronavirus species, including BtCoV HKU2, BtCoV HKU8, and BtCoV1,and unassigned species BtCoV HKU7 and BtCoV HKU10. Additionally, the surveillance identified two unclassified betacoronaviruses, one new strain of SARS-like coronavirus, and one potentially new betacoronavirus species"

Here is another published paper from 2017 describing many SARS-like coronaviruses from more caves
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29190287/
"The full-length genomes of 11 newly discovered SARSr-CoV strains, ... In addition, we report the first discovery of bat SARSr-CoVs highly similar to human SARS-CoV in ORF3b and in the split ORF8a and 8b."

While I don't immediately see the story about the miners in a scientific publication till April and November 2020, they had already published in 2018 a report of likely human infection (that did not result in a pandemic) by bat coronaviruses.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29500691/
Serological Evidence of Bat SARS-Related Coronavirus Infection in Humans, China

The technique is similar to that famously used by Zohner (and others before him) to make people want to ban dihydrogen monoxide.

The tragedy is that in fact they seem to have responsibly done serious and quite complete investigations into the possibility of a lab leak, and have reported the results quite openly. But some distrust the reported results without any evidence.
 
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  • #75
Tom.G said:
I did not read the comments, but did finish the article. My overall impression is that it is written in the form and tone normally used in conspiracy theory articles... and without a single traceable reference to any of the purported facts that are presented.

The emotional tone is of a type that is rather effective for those that are not used to rigorous, step-by-step thinking that requires facts rather than opinion. :cry:

The article – (Beijing’s useful idiots - Science journals have encouraged and enforced a false Covid narrative https://unherd.com/2021/06/beijings-useful-idiots/) could have been shorter and more succinct. It was written by a journalist. It does have a conspiratorial tone to it. However, the focus of the article – that there was a concerted effort by scientific publications to reject or impede any article that suggested that the Covid virus might have been influenced in some way – deserves consideration.

The intent being to make it seem that all of science supported the Nature only scenario.

“and without a single traceable reference to any of the purported facts that are presented.”

The article starts out with comments on the difficulty that Nikolai Petrovsky had in getting his paper published.

The paper by this distinguished scholar was finally published in Nature after being rejected everywhere for over a year. It is an excellent paper - In silico comparison of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-ACE2 binding affinities across species and implications for virus origin - https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-92388-5

Perhaps there were some errors in the paper that delayed its publication. However, Petrovsky has authored over 200 papers and would appreciate the difference between error and suppression.

I consider the paper by Petrovsky to be seminal.

The other examples in the article are not as strong but do support a continued effort by scientific publications to suppress any mention that the SCARS CoV -2 virus might have been influenced.
 
  • #76
Tom.G said:
I did not read the comments, but did finish the article. My overall impression is that it is written in the form and tone normally used in conspiracy theory articles... and without a single traceable reference to any of the purported facts that are presented.

The emotional tone is of a type that is rather effective for those that are not used to rigorous, step-by-step thinking that requires facts rather than opinion. :cry:

I have researched everywhere and have not been able to find a step by step sequential time line of how the SCARS - CoV -2 virus emerged via random mutation and natural selection.

Nature only (The Science of Some How)

1. Genome sequenced
2. Parts partially matched - bat - Pangolian
3. Some how the viral content of these mammals mixed?
4. Intermediary?
5. Some how jump made to humans via unknown host.

I would certainly appreciate some step-by-step thinking
 
  • #77
Phil Core said:
I have researched everywhere and have not been able to find a step by step sequential time line of how the SCARS - CoV -2 virus emerged via random mutation and natural selection.
Have you tested your "analytical" method on other viruses that have infected humans from animals?

Have all other such cases been explained to a level sufficient to satisfy you?

Are all viral infections of humans from other species suspicious to you, or is it only those that could be attributed to China?

How long did it take previous cases of viruses infecting people from other species to be established in such detail that you are satisfied?

Phil Core said:
I have researched everywhere and have not been able to find a step by step sequential time line of how the SCARS - CoV -2 virus emerged via random mutation and natural selection.
Where is this "everywhere" you have researched?
These should be listed if you want your negative conclusions to be taken seriously.

You are very tolerant of the shortcomings of what you cite as evidence for your apparently already determined conclusions, but dismissive of other sources.
This really hurts you credibility.
 
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  • #78
Phil Core said:
I have researched everywhere and have not been able to find a step by step sequential time line of how the SCARS - CoV -2 virus emerged via random mutation and natural selection.

Nature only (The Science of Some How)

1. Genome sequenced
2. Parts partially matched - bat - Pangolian
3. Some how the viral content of these mammals mixed?
4. Intermediary?
5. Some how jump made to humans via unknown host.

I would certainly appreciate some step-by-step thinking
Lipsitch is a pretty solid voice of reason on the topic in my opinion. For what it's worth, while he's spoken out pushing for deeper investigations into a possible lab origin, he also called the narrative that the virus couldn't have jumped and adapted to humans this quickly nonsense.

https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2021/05/27/amanpour-marc-lipsitch-covid-lab-leak-theory.cnn
 
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  • #79
Jarvis323 said:
Lipsitch is a pretty solid voice of reason on the topic in my opinion. For what it's worth, while he's spoken out pushing for deeper investigations into a possible lab origin, he also called the narrative that the virus couldn't have jumped and adapted to humans this quickly nonsense.

https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2021/05/27/amanpour-marc-lipsitch-covid-lab-leak-theory.cnn
I disagree. I think Lipsitch co-wrote an extremely poorly judged letter asking for deeper investigations into a lab origin. His letter wrongly and illogically criticized the WHO report that said a lab leak was very unlikely. His letter was illogical because it criticized the WHO report on the basis of the length of its arguments, rather than on their strength. The WHO report seriously considered the possibility of a lab leak, even though that was not its primary brief, and its assignment of a very low probability to a lab leak was correct and based on evidence. Note that the WHO report did not rule out a lab leak, and was open to revisiting it if more evidence came to light. The WHO report also outlined further investigations into the earliest cases and how zoonosis might have occurred (incidentally, some of these investigations would also point toward a lab leak if it had occurred).

Lipsitch's letter could have a basis only either in ignorance or unsubstantiated accusations that Shi Zhengli of the WIV was lying. Lipsitch's letter helped to feed conspiracy theories (and was in fact co-authored with conspiracy theorist Alina Chan, among others). It is not scientifically correct to pretend that the zoonotic and the lab leak theories are almost equally likely - although that may seem to be unbiased - it is biased in the face of evidence, and is tantamount to hyping the lab leak theory. The only way the lab leak theory can still be given almost equal weight as the zoonotic theory is to accuse Shi Zhengli of lying. We have her publication record consistent with open reporting of the lab's work over many years, and her statements on their investigations into the possibility of a lab leak are consistent with that record. Of course we cannot prove that she is not lying, but standard ethics requires evidence before making accusations. An accusatory attitude without evidence jeopardizes, rather than fosters, the international cooperation needed for further investigations the origins of the pandemic (such as outlined in the WHO report), and to build better responses to future outbreaks.
 
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  • #80
atyy said:
I disagree. I think Lipsitch co-wrote an extremely poorly judged letter asking for deeper investigations into a lab origin. His letter wrongly and illogically criticized the WHO report that said a lab leak was very unlikely. His letter was illogical because it criticized the WHO report on the basis of the length of its arguments, rather than on their strength. The WHO report seriously considered the possibility of a lab leak, even though that was not its primary brief, and its assignment of a very low probability to a lab leak was correct and based on evidence. Note that the WHO report did not rule out a lab leak, and was open to revisiting it if more evidence came to light. The WHO report also outlined further investigations into the earliest cases and how zoonosis might have occurred (incidentally, some of these investigations would also point toward a lab leak if it had occurred).

Lipsitch's letter could have a basis only either in ignorance or unsubstantiated accusations that Shi Zhengli of the WIV was lying. Lipsitch's letter helped to feed conspiracy theories (and was in fact co-authored with conspiracy theorist Alina Chan, among others). It is not scientifically correct to pretend that the zoonotic and the lab leak theories are almost equally likely - although that may seem to be unbiased - it is biased in the face of evidence, and is tantamount to hyping the lab leak theory. The only way the lab leak theory can still be given almost equal weight as the zoonotic theory is to accuse Shi Zhengli of lying. We have her publication record consistent with open reporting of the lab's work over many years, and her statements on their investigations into the possibility of a lab leak are consistent with that record. Of course we cannot prove that she is not lying, but standard ethics requires evidence before making accusations. An accusatory attitude without evidence jeopardizes, rather than fosters, the international cooperation needed for further investigations the origins of the pandemic (such as outlined in the WHO report), and to build better responses to future outbreaks.
I disagree with your assessment. The letter asked for transparency, which there hasn't been. Lipsitch is a scientist, it isn't his job to judge whether someone is lying. It's his job to look at the data and evidence. WIV has kept the data and evidence secret. I agree that's unacceptable.

Scientific investigations can't be conduction based on unverified assertions alone.
 
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  • #81
atyy said:
(and was in fact co-authored with conspiracy theorist Alina Chan, among others).
I'm just curious as well why Alina Chan is considered a conspiracy theorist?

We had a thread in GD the other day, where people are trying to define that term. Here you are weaponizing it, lumping her in with flat Earthers for example, to discredit her and the letter she coauthored. Can you justify discrediting Lipstich and the letter he coauthored based on logic alone?
 
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  • #82
atyy said:
Lipsitch's letter could have a basis only either in ignorance or unsubstantiated accusations that Shi Zhengli of the WIV was lying. Lipsitch's letter helped to feed conspiracy theories (and was in fact co-authored with conspiracy theorist Alina Chan, among others). It is not scientifically correct to pretend that the zoonotic and the lab leak theories are almost equally likely - although that may seem to be unbiased - it is biased in the face of evidence, and is tantamount to hyping the lab leak theory. The only way the lab leak theory can still be given almost equal weight as the zoonotic theory is to accuse Shi Zhengli of lying.
I don't see Lipsitch et al inferring that Zhengli or others at Wuhan Inst. of Virology are lying, and I don't see Alina Chan as being a conspiracy theorist, nor even entertaining a conspiracy regarding WIV and SARS-Cov-2. I do read a call for further investigation, rather than what appears to be a dismissal of the potential for release of SARS-Cov-2 from WIV, or some other association.

The letter states, "Although there were no findings in clear support of either a natural spillover or a lab accident, the team assessed a zoonotic spillover from an intermediate host as “likely to very likely,” and a laboratory incident as “extremely unlikely” [(4), p. 9]. Furthermore, the two theories were not given balanced consideration. Only 4 of the 313 pages of the report and its annexes addressed the possibility of a laboratory accident (4). Notably, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus commented that the report's consideration of evidence supporting a laboratory accident was insufficient and offered to provide additional resources to fully evaluate the possibility (5)."

It appears that the authors of the letter are concerned that WHO determined "a laboratory incident as “extremely unlikely”", in the absence of evidence. It would be more appropriate to say that it is indeterminate. The authors are not calling for an "equal weight" to the laboratory leak theory.

In theory, contact tracing would have indicated potential pathways from the earliest cases, but if some were asymptomatic, perhaps some pathways cannot be traced.

If all identified cases cannot be traced to the food market (and there could be missing links), where did the other cases originate ostensibly independently of the market.

The current position of the US government is "For more than a year, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has systematically prevented a transparent and thorough investigation of the COVID-19 pandemic’s origin, choosing instead to devote enormous resources to deceit and disinformation."

https://2017-2021.state.gov/fact-sheet-activity-at-the-wuhan-institute-of-virology/index.html

Furthermore, "The U.S. government does not know exactly where, when, or how the COVID-19 virus—known as SARS-CoV-2—was transmitted initially to humans. We have not determined whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

The virus could have emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals, spreading in a pattern consistent with a natural epidemic. Alternatively, a laboratory accident could resemble a natural outbreak if the initial exposure included only a few individuals and was compounded by asymptomatic infection. Scientists in China have researched animal-derived coronaviruses under conditions that increased the risk for accidental and potentially unwitting exposure."

It seems a more in depth investigation is needed.

On the other hand, Global Times publishes a refutation of a laboratory origin on May 24, 2021.
https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202105/1224362.shtml
Researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences published a report that further refutes the highly hyped theory that the virus came from the laboratory. They identified a new SARS-CoV-2-related virus lineage from bats discovered in 2015 in Mojiang county, Southwest China's Yunnan Province.
 
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  • #83
Jarvis323 said:
I disagree with your assessment. The letter asked for transparency, which there hasn't been. Lipsitch is a scientist, it isn't his job to judge whether someone is lying. It's his job to look at the data and evidence. WIV has kept the data and evidence secret. I agree that's unacceptable.
It is not clear what you mean by WIV keeping data and evidence secret. We know about the lab's research because it has published its work for years, including steadily cataloging the viruses in its samples and publishing it. The WIV carried out investigations into the possibility of a lab leak, and reported those results in July 2020. There have been false reports in the mainstream media such as the Newsweek report mentioned in post #39. I discussed in post #40 why that report is not true.
Jarvis323 said:
I'm just curious as well why Alina Chan is considered a conspiracy theorist?

Jarvis323 said:
We had a thread in GD the other day, where people are trying to define that term. Here you are weaponizing it, lumping her in with flat Earthers for example, to discredit her and the letter she coauthored.
I don't think it is controversial that Alina Chan is a conspiracy theorist. This can be seen, for example, by the suspicions that Alina Chan raised based on the WIV's "failure to mention the miners who died in 2012 and the furin site on the virus genome". A cursory examination of her Tweets gives plenty of support that she is a conspiracy theorist (for example, her support of DRASTIC "Without the work done by the DRASTIC team, I don't really know where we would be today with the origins of covid-19."). Many of her statements are technically true, but it is wrong to say that those are any basis for suspicion. As I have said, these are misinformation tactics similar to those that make people want to ban dihydrogen monoxide.
Jarvis323 said:
Can you justify discrediting Lipstich and the letter he coauthored based on logic alone?
Yes, based on logic alone, his letter is illogical because it criticized the WHO report based on the length of evidence presented, rather than on the strength of evidence presented. It also ignored that the WHO report did not rule out further investigations into the lab leak if more evidence arose, Importantly, the WHO report outlined further studies into the earliest cases (ie. looking for cases earlier than the present official earliest cases), primarily on the basis of understanding zoonosis - but one should also note that such studies would point towards a lab leak if it had occurred.

It is good to work for transparency, but it was not correct to ask for it mainly on the basis of insufficient attention to the lab leak theory, and in a context implicitly supporting unfounded accusations of lying by the WIV scientists. If the intention was to increase transparency, it has only helped obtain the opposite situation (for example, endangering the further studies outlined in the WHO report, including studies that could shed light on both the zoonotic and the lab leak theories).
 
  • #84
atyy said:
It is good to work for transparency, but it was not correct to ask for it mainly on the basis of insufficient attention to the lab leak theory, and in a context implicitly supporting unfounded accusations of lying by the WIV scientists. If the intention was to increase transparency, it has only helped obtain the opposite situation (for example, endangering the further studies outlined in the WHO report, including studies that could shed light on both the zoonotic and the lab leak theories).
If not investigating a lab origin is a condition for allowing an investigation of a zoonotic origin, then something must be wrong.
 
  • #85
Astronuc said:
It appears that the authors of the letter are concerned that WHO determined "a laboratory incident as “extremely unlikely”", in the absence of evidence. It would be more appropriate to say that it is indeterminate. The authors are not calling for an "equal weight" to the laboratory leak theory.
But that was wrong. The WHO determined the lab leak as extremely unlikely based on evidence. That assessment could be wrong only if the WIV scientists had lied. While the authors may not have been calling for equal weight to be given to the lab leak theory, they were calling for more equal weight to the lab leak theory.
 
  • #86
atyy said:
I don't think it is controversial that Alina Chan is a conspiracy theorist. This can be seen, for example, by the suspicions that Alina Chan raised based on the WIV's "failure to mention the miners who died in 2012 and the furin site on the virus genome". A cursory examination of her Tweets gives plenty of support that she is a conspiracy theorist (for example, her support of DRASTIC "Without the work done by the DRASTIC team, I don't really know where we would be today with the origins of covid-19."). Many of her statements are technically true, but it is wrong to say that those are any basis for suspicion. As I have said, these are misinformation tactics similar to those that make people want to ban dihydrogen monoxide.
When you say that you think Alina Chan is a conspiracy theorist, are you implying something about her credibility? I'm not sure if in doing so you are arguing she is crazy, likely to be wrong, is untrustworthy, etc. Or are you admonishing conspiracy therorists (by your definitions) on the basis that they have harmful effects on society regardless of their technical merrits and credibility?

I don't see calling her a conspiracy theorist as an end of argument.
 
  • #87
Jarvis323 said:
If not investigating a lab origin is a condition for allowing an investigation of a zoonotic origin, then something must be wrong.
It is not an absolute, rather the balance of weight still being placed on the lab leak despite evidence. International cooperation requires governments to work together. Unfounded accusations do not help that.
 
  • #88
Jarvis323 said:
When you say that you think Alina Chan is a conspiracy theorist, are you implying something about her credibility? I'm not sure if in doing so you are arguing she is crazy, likely to be wrong, is untrustworthy, etc. Or are you admonishing conspiracy therorists (by your definitions) on the basis that they have harmful effects on society regardless of their technical merrits and credibility?

I don't see calling her a conspiracy theorist as an end of argument.
What I mean is that the present state of the evidence renders a lab leak very unlikely unless Shi Zhengli has lied. Some news reports make it seem that we only have circumstantial evidence against a lab leak. However, Shi Zhengli has reported active investigations into the possibility of a lab leak including negative serology tests and a quite thorough search of her samples that turned up no sequence close enough. She has published the full details of that closest sequence, and the fact that a part of this sequence had been published earlier (not hidden) are consistent with open publication of the lab's research over many years. So it is not only that we have no evidence for a lab leak. We have very strong evidence against a lab leak, unless her reports of the results of active investigations into the possibility of a lab leak are not true.

Alina Chan (and DRASTIC that she has praised) have supposedly uncovered evidence of secrecy or cover-up by Shi Zhengli and her colleagues. At this stage, with none of the people related to the lab coming forward with statements to the contrary, they would have to be in a conspiracy to hide information. So Chan's and DRASTIC's theories are literally conspiracy theories. None of the evidence put forth by Chan and DRASTIC support secrecy or cover-up by the WIV. Although there may be incidental details uncovered by DRASTIC not available in the international journals, all of their major conclusions can be obtained by examination of the WIV's published papers.
 
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  • #89
On the issue of statements made by Shi and others, I don't put much weight on those statements because I know the immense pressure they would be under in terms of what they say. What they have said is along the lines of what is expected regardless of what happened. They don't exactly have the right to say whatever they want without reprocussions. Even if they are lying, it is understandable and we shouldn't blame them.

But further, I am not convinced that a lab leak could not have happened if they are telling the truth.

A serious transparent investigation is needed before we can even tell how relevant those statements are in the first place.
 
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  • #91
In post #79 I explained why I thought a letter co-signed by Lipsitch was illogical and poorly judged.

Here are interesting comments by Michael Worobey, another co-author, that the letter may have backfired.

"...“I always thought that the lab leak was a long shot, but I thought it was worth investigating. I did then, and I do now,” he said.
...
He knew he was sticking his neck out by signing onto the letter published in Science, but he hoped it would give researchers some cover to continue exploring every possible explanation — no matter how unlikely or unpopular — for how the pandemic began.

Shortly after the letter came out, though, the Biden administration announced a renewed push to investigate the lab-leak theory, angering the Chinese government and dimming the prospects for unfettered scientific cooperation between the two countries.

Worobey said he doesn’t regret signing it, but “it’s possible the letter actually backfired in that sense.”
“We may have lost an opportunity to engage with scientists (in China) who are now feeling defensive,” he said. ..."

Another co-author of that letter Pamela Bjorkman, has also stated that the effects of the letter were contrary to what she intended.

"I thought the letter would have the effect of prompting more funding for searching for natural viruses in animal reservoirs, which I personally have always assumed represent the origin of SARS-CoV-2 infections in humans. Perhaps naively, I did not anticipate that the letter would be used to promote the lab origin hypothesis. Looking back on the wording of the letter, however, I now think that I should have realized this would happen and should have been more proactive — either not signed the letter at all or else requested more wording changes to make my position clear."
 
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  • #92
atyy said:
What I mean is that the present state of the evidence renders a lab leak very unlikely unless Shi Zhengli has lied. Some news reports make it seem that we only have circumstantial evidence against a lab leak. However, Shi Zhengli has reported active investigations into the possibility of a lab leak including negative serology tests and a quite thorough search of her samples that turned up no sequence close enough. She has published the full details of that closest sequence, and the fact that a part of this sequence had been published earlier (not hidden) are consistent with open publication of the lab's research over many years. So it is not only that we have no evidence for a lab leak. We have very strong evidence against a lab leak, unless her reports of the results of active investigations into the possibility of a lab leak are not true.

Alina Chan (and DRASTIC that she has praised) have supposedly uncovered evidence of secrecy or cover-up by Shi Zhengli and her colleagues. At this stage, with none of the people related to the lab coming forward with statements to the contrary, they would have to be in a conspiracy to hide information. So Chan's and DRASTIC's theories are literally conspiracy theories. None of the evidence put forth by Chan and DRASTIC support secrecy or cover-up by the WIV. Although there may be incidental details uncovered by DRASTIC not available in the international journals, all of their major conclusions can be obtained by examination of the WIV's published papers.
"We have very strong evidence against a lab leak, unless her reports of the results of active investigations into the possibility of a lab leak are not true."

I do not find the evidence that strong. Your evidence seems to be that a few people were tested for exposure to Covid and that Shi published some data on some sequencing she had done.

No one has had complete access to the day to day records of what when on in the lab during 2019 - 2020. There is no day to day account of what was done each day in the lab and who was doing it.

1. What was being done in the lab on a day to day basis? Work log
2. Number of people involved? Personnel log
3. Inventory of supplies?
4. Lots of other day to day records that would support the individual reports of parts of the project.

An idea that you have never seemed to have considered is that perhaps additional research was done somewhere else rather than in Shi's level 4 WIV lab and she really did not know the full extend of the work. It is like working on a need to know, compartmentalized project.

I have some idea of how a virus could be influenced in a lab and I don't think that Shi has the necessary skills. Source of bats yes. Source of ideas no.
 
  • #93
Its really a puzzle as to why this is still an issue, certainly trying to trace the origin has a function in understanding the virus, but this is known to be quite difficult, even the evolutionary history of the influenza virus that caused the 1918 pandemic remains a mater of debate. It seems in the USA this has become a way of discrediting the Chinese Government rather than understanding the disease. The original WHO team that went to China had limited time to do their work but still had access to masses of data, they intended to go back and this was not considered to be a problem until the political blame game started. It's interesting that at the G7 summit when Pr. Biden tried to involve the European countries in these attacks, he was politely ignored.

As in most of these situations, that involve biological organisms, there are lots of pieces of information that muddy the water. We still have very limited information about coronaviruses in the wild, despite the massive impetus in research caused by Covid, but it has become clear that small clusters of Coronavirus infections have been occurring in rural areas for decades, we simply don't know which coronaviruses caused them.
It is really fairly common for viruses to jump species, it doesn't just affect humans, in fact currently there is also a pandemic among amphibians and another among plants but no one seems to be blaming a Chinese lab for those. There is also the fact that virtually all the common viral infections seen in humans, originated in other animals, becoming established in humans only when the situations facilitated these infections. Despite the frequency of how often cross species infections happen, there are significant barriers to them becoming established as a human pathogen. The last Coronavirus to jump species, such a close relative of Covid 19 it earned it its name of SARS-Cov 2, failed at the last hurdle, effective transmission. SARS has disappeared, which is just as well considering its severity.

I just think that if this virus was created in a lab, that would make it truly unique in the history of human disease. If it was a deliberate creation it's difficult to see any possible purpose, if it escaped, then presumably it must have still had a natural source, and it would make no sense to start trying to manipulate an unclassified virus with no knowledge of its "abilities". This is a situation in which a variant of Occams Razor could be a useful guide.
 
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  • #94
The reason the origin question is of concern is that a very large segment of the scientific community was cock sure that the only explanation for the origin of the SARS-Cov 2 was some strange bat - pangolian union. COVID-19: Time to exonerate the pangolin from the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to humans - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7405773/ The reason being that similar parts of the virus could be found in Nature. They made it sound like a lab leak was preposterous.

And then to defend the WHO's recent report is beyond the pale. Where, when, how, who was all monitored.

Here is a You Tube video that is very interesting - It gives some clues as to what people where really doing.

Daszak does ramble for quite some time but around the 28 min mark - Daszak notes that “coronaviruses are pretty good… you can manipulate them in the lab pretty easily… the spiked proteins drive a lot about what happens. You can get the sequence you can build the protein, we work with Ralph Baric at UNC to do this, insert into the backbone of another virus and do some work in a lab.”

FYI - Baric was working with mice whose ACE receptors had been "humanized". The virility of the SARS-Cov 2 virus is attributable to its binding strength with human ACE receptors.

A related article is https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4104828 It is published in the Taiwan News but it does provide new information especially with respect to the time line of events.
 
  • #95
Phil Core said:
No one has had complete access to the day to day records of what when on in the lab during 2019 - 2020. There is no day to day account of what was done each day in the lab and who was doing it.

1. What was being done in the lab on a day to day basis? Work log
2. Number of people involved? Personnel log
3. Inventory of supplies?
4. Lots of other day to day records that would support the individual reports of parts of the project.
One hallmark of conspiracy theories is that claimants tend to demand extreme and impossible to acquire evidence to disprove them while leaning on thin evidence at best to support them. You want to look at their timesheets to prove there is no project called "Coronavirus Bioweapon Research" on it? Seriously? That request is wholly unreasonable and wouldn't prove anything anyway. And you know it doesn't prove anything, so it's not a serious request: it's made because you know it isn't attainable, so it provides a permanently open door.
Phil Core said:
An idea that you have never seemed to have considered is that perhaps additional research was done somewhere else rather than in Shi's level 4 WIV lab and she really did not know the full extend of the work. It is like working on a need to know, compartmentalized project.
...and if it wasn't done there, then an unidentified lab somewhere else could have been doing the work? That's well beyond "thin evidence", it's whole-cloth fantasy.
 
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  • #96
Phil Core said:
Here is a You Tube video that is very interesting - It gives some clues as to what people where really doing.

Daszak does ramble for quite some time but around the 28 min mark - Daszak notes that “coronaviruses are pretty good… you can manipulate them in the lab pretty easily… the spiked proteins drive a lot about what happens. You can get the sequence you can build the protein, we work with Ralph Baric at UNC to do this, insert into the backbone of another virus and do some work in a lab.”

I didn't hear that quote at that timestamp, maybe you could try again with where it is because I don't want to listen to him ramble for half an hour. What I did hear from about 27:30-29 is him talk about just how common coronaviruses are in bat populations and how there is also a lot of human exposure (not to mention the prior SARS outbreak itself). This is building the environment/groundwork for natural causes of this. Frankly, it tells us we haven't been paying enough attention to these diseases and the likelihood of a pandemic like the one we're in.

[edit] Found it, it's more like 29:50. I don't know exactly what you think he's saying there (some vague conspiracy theory implication surely), but what he is actually saying is that it should be possible to develop vaccines. He back-handedly predicted the vaccine success (this interview was in May of 2020). [edit] Actually, that's just when it was posted. It's actually from Dec of 2019.

To paraphrase, what he said was: There's lots of coronaviruses out there, constantly jumping back and forth between animals and humans, so we need to work on protecting from future pandemics. The virus is easy to manipulate in the lab, so we should be able to produce vaccines for them.

And yet you (evidently) heard: The virus is easy to manipulate in the lab, so we should be able to create a bioweapon.
 
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  • #97
I apologize. The quote can be found around the 30:04 mark.

He says this. If you think that supports a Nature only origin must be the new math.

“coronaviruses are pretty good… you can manipulate them in the lab pretty easily… the spiked proteins drive a lot about what happens. You can get the sequence you can build the protein, we work with Ralph Baric at UNC to do this, insert into the backbone of another virus and do some work in a lab.”

Are you familiar with Baric's work. Very interesting.

"One hallmark of conspiracy theories is that claimants tend to demand extreme and impossible to acquire evidence to disprove them while leaning on thin evidence at best to support them."

Wow! All I am asking for is the daily logs that should be readily available in any research lab. Have not been able to get the daily Wuhan logs for 2019-2020. To call asking for the daily logs extreme and impossible is ??

Perhaps you have never worked on a need to know, departmentalized study. They do exist. If I was doing suspect research I would not do all of it at a location that everyone is familiar with.

Why would it be impossible to do some of the research here - State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing, China?

Danzak does justify the need for research as a means of developing vaccines. Perhaps something when awry? Regardless they were manipulating virus sequences that had been adapted for humans in labs.
 
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  • #98
Phil Core said:
I apologize. The quote can be found around the 30:04 mark.

He says this. If you think that supports a Nature only origin must be the new math.
Ok, that's enough. You're ignoring the context of what he's saying. The question asked - the words immediately before that quote - were: "You can't vaccinate against them...what do we do?" And the quote you provided continues on with discussion about how to create vaccines.

Thread closed. No more conspiracy theories please.
 
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