3. Secret military activity at the 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.
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.
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.
Today’s revelations just scratch the surface of what is still hidden about COVID-19’s origin in China. Any credible investigation into the origin of COVID-19 demands complete, transparent access to the research labs in Wuhan, including their facilities, samples, personnel, and records.
As the world continues to battle this pandemic – and as WHO investigators begin their work, after more than a year of delays – the virus’s origin remains uncertain. The United States will continue to do everything it can to support a credible and thorough investigation, including by continuing to demand transparency on the part of Chinese authorities. Bureau of East Asian and Pacic Aairs China Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Health Oce of the Spokesperson
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. The United States and other donors who funded or collaborated on civilian research at the WIV have a right and obligation to determine whether any of our research funding was diverted to secret Chinese military projects at the WIV.
BEIJING—A World Health Organization team investigating the origins of Covid-19 is planning to scrap an interim report on its recent mission to China amid mounting tensions between Beijing and Washington over the investigation and an appeal from one international group of scientists for a new probe. The group of two dozen scientists is calling in an open letter on Thursday for a new international inquiry. They say the WHO team that last month completed a mission to Wuhan—the Chinese city where the first known cases were found—had insufficient access to adequately investigate possible sources of the new coronavirus, including whether it slipped from a laboratory. Their appeal comes as the U.S.—which recently reversed a decision to leave the WHO—lobbies for greater transparency in the investigation, saying it is waiting to scrutinize the report on the Wuhan mission, and urging China to release all relevant data, including on the first confirmed infections in December 2019, and potential earlier ones. Beijing, meanwhile, is pressing for similar WHO-led missions to other countries, including the U.S., to investigate whether the virus could have originated outside China and spread to Wuhan via frozen food packaging. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesussaid on Feb. 12 that the team would release an interim report briefly summarizing the Wuhan mission, possibly the following week, with a full report coming weeks later. But that summary report has yet to be published and the WHO team is now scrapping that plan, said Peter Ben Embarek, the food-safety scientist who led the team. The WHO team plans to publish a summary along with the full, final report, he said. That final report “will be published in coming weeks and will include key findings,” a WHO spokesman said.
A team of experts selected by the World Health Organization to investigate the origins of the virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic returned last week from Wuhan, site of the world’s first outbreak. The team, having broken the ice with Chinese scientists, plans to produce a joint report on the possible origins of the virus. The two groups of scientists, from China and the W.H.O., agreed to pursue some ideas that the Chinese government has been promoting, like the possibility that the virus was transported on frozen food. But the W.H.O. team also became frustrated by China’s refusal to turn over raw data for analysis. Peter Daszak, a member of the W.H.O. team and the president of EcoHealth Alliance in New York, is primarily concerned with the animal origins of the virus. A specialist in animal diseases and their spread to humans, Dr. Daszak has worked with the Wuhan Virology Institute, a collaboration that last year prompted the Trump administration to cancel a grant to his organization. In an interview after his return to New York, he said that the visit had provided some new clues, which all of the scientists, Chinese and international, agreed most likely pointed to an animal origin within China or Southeast Asia. The scientists have largely discounted claims that the virus originated in a lab, saying that possibility was so unlikely that it was not worth further investigation.
He reflected on the atmosphere in Wuhan and his first glimpse of the seafood market where the initial outbreak occurred last year, although it was not the site of the first cases. He also said the path ahead would be straightforward scientifically, but not politically. A transcript of the conversation, condensed and edited for length, follows:
You’ve been to China and to Wuhan many times before. How was this different?
Well, this was weird. There’s certain things when you go into China that you’re supposed to do. The first thing you do is have a meeting and then have a meal. And if you don’t have a meal, it’s considered extremely rude. This time we spent two weeks in Zoom calls from our quarantine hotel. Then we went to meet in person and still didn’t have meals with our host. We had meals in a separate room.
So it was just a very difficult, very intense, very emotional trip. In Wuhan, there’s this feeling of post-traumatic shock. The city went on lockdown, I think, 76 days. They were locked in their apartments — people died, and they didn’t know about it. And from then on, they’ve been accused of starting a pandemic, and it’s been called the Wuhan virus, the China virus, and there was just a sense of outrage and sadness.
Did that make it difficult in terms of the scientific purpose of the trip?
No. You’ve got a task to do. You’ve volunteered. You know what it’s going to be like. You get caught up in the historical importance. I don’t know if we were the first foreigners to walk around the Huanan seafood market, which is blocked off even to Chinese citizens. The only people that have been in there have been the Chinese disease investigators. We met with the doctors that treated the first known Covid patients. These people have been through harrowing conditions, and they’re now lauded as heroes in China, and then the rest of the world now is fighting that war. And China, of course, is absolutely petrified of this virus catching hold again.
When you arrive at the airport, they come on the plane in full P.P.E.; you’re escorted down a separate quarantine pathway; you get tested. You’re driven to the hotel, you go in your room, and you’re locked in for two weeks. It’s just severe. The people who come to your door are in full P.P.E. The waste from your trash, from the hotel room, goes into a yellow bag with a biohazard sign on it.
It was a totally different experience when I returned home, where I didn’t even get a notification that I’ve got to quarantine. I signed on to the New York state app, but no one is going to knock on my door and tell me, “Stay indoors.”
Did you learn anything from this trip that you didn’t know before? From Day 1, the data we were seeing were new that had never been seen outside China. Who were the vendors in the Huanan seafood market? Where did they get their supply chains? And what were the contacts of the first cases? How real were the first cases? What other clusters were there?
When you asked for more, the Chinese scientists would go off, and a couple of days later, they’ve done the analysis, and we’ve got new information. It was extremely useful. At the time, you couldn’t really say much. We were trying to not undermine the process by revealing anything while we were on the trip.
What can you say now about the market and what you saw?
The market closed on the 31st of December or the 1st of January, and China C.D.C. sent a team in of scientists to try and find out what was going on. It was a very extensive study, swabbing every surface of this place. We knew early on that there were 500 samples collected, and there were many positives, and in that sampling were some animal carcasses, or meat. But there was not really much information publicly about what had been done. So we got all that information. And that, to me, was a real eye-opener. They’d actually done over 900 swabs in the end, a huge amount of work. They had been through the sewage system. They’d been into the air ventilation shaft to look for bats. They’d caught animals around the market. They’d caught cats, stray cats, rats, they even caught one weasel. They’d sampled snakes. People had live snakes at the market, live turtles, live frogs. Rabbits were there, rabbit carcasses. A farm with rabbits could have been really critical. There was talk about badgers, and in China, when they say badger, that means ferret badger. It’s a mustelid, related to weasels. Animals were coming into that market that could have carried the coronavirus. They could have been infected by bats somewhere else in China and brought it in. So that’s clue No. 1. There were 10 stalls that sold wildlife. There were vendors from South China, including Yunnan Province, Guangxi Province and Guangdong Province. Yunnan Province is where the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2 is found in bats. Guangxi and Guangdong are where the pangolins were captured. They had close viruses. You’ve got animals coming in to the market which are susceptible. Some of these are coming from places where we know the nearest relatives of the virus are found. So there’s the real red flag. Now the Chinese group did swab those animals, and they were all negative, but it’s just one small group of animals in the freezer that were left behind. We don’t know what else was for sale there. So these two clues are really important. When we got to actually visit the market, to me it was quite striking. The pictures you see of that market closed now are of quite orderly buildings with shutters, and you think, This a very efficient, typical city market. It doesn’t really look like a live animal market. Once you get there on the ground, it’s different. It’s pretty ramshackle. It looks like a place that would sell live animals. There’s plenty of evidence of live aquatic animals, the turtle tanks, the fish tanks, the snakes, which we know were available. What we now have are a clear link and a potential pathway.
What about the cases that appeared before the outbreak in the seafood market?
There was other spread going on outside of Huanan market. There are other patients who have no links to the market, quite a few in December. There were other markets. And we do know that some of the patients had links to other markets. We need to do some further work, and then the Chinese colleagues need to do some further work. When we sat down as a group, the China team and the W.H.O. team on the last full day of work, and said, “Let’s go through the hypotheses,” the one that received the most enthusiastic support was this pathway — wildlife, through a domesticated wildlife link, into Wuhan.
What is the next step? For the animals chain, it’s straightforward. The suppliers are known. They know the farm name; they know the owner of the farm. You’ve got to go down to the farm and interview the farmer and the family. You’ve got to test them. You’ve got to test the community. You’ve got to go and look and see if there are any animals left at any farms nearby and see if they’ve got evidence of infection, and see if there is any cross-border movement. If the virus is in those southern border states, it’s possible that there’s been some movement across neighboring countries like Vietnam, Laos or Myanmar. We’re finding more and more related viruses now. There’s one in Japan and one in Cambodia, one in Thailand.
For the human side, look for earlier cases, for clusters; look in blood banks for serum, if possible. Anything like this is going to be sensitive in China, and it’s going to take some persuasion and diplomacy and energy for them to do that because, to be honest, looking for the source of this virus within China is not a great, high priority I think for the Chinese government. Anywhere this virus is shown to emerge is a political issue. That’s one of the problems, and that is clear and obvious to anyone who has been looking at this.
Do you have a particular animal that you suspect right now as an intermediate link, more strongly than others?
It’s too up in the air. We don’t know if civets were on sale. We know they are very easily infected. We don’t know what the situation is with the mink farms in China or the other fur farms, like raccoon dogs, even though they’re normally farmed in a different part of China. That needs to be followed up on, too. But if you were to say which pathway would you put the most weight on, I think the virus emerging either in Southeast Asia or Southern China from bats, getting into a domesticated wildlife farm. I’ve been to many of these, and they often have mixed species — civets, ferret badgers, raccoon dogs. Those animals would be able to get infected from bats. Either the people that work there get infected and bring it in, or animals are shipped in, live or recently killed, that bring the virus into a market. Once it’s in a market — either Huanan or another one in Wuhan — you’ve got a dense population of people moving through those markets. And it’s going to be a real potential for an amplification.
The new data that you saw, for instance, on the vendors and their supply chains, will that be in your full report?
I hope so. There’ll be some things that are going to be confidential, without a doubt. Patient records are kept highly confidential in China. We have an image in the West of China being authoritarian and they are videoing everyone. They can have access to anything. But patient records are very private, and some are not accessible. We wanted to meet with certain patients. They didn’t want to meet, so they weren’t pushed to meet with us. There’s no reason to believe that was shenanigans. I’m hoping all the information about vendors, vendor chains will be there. But if not, we’ve seen it. We’ve got it. And we will be following up.
James Gorman is a science writer at large and the host and writer of the video series “ScienceTake.” He joined The Times in 1993 and is the author of several books, including “How to Build a Dinosaur,” written with the paleontologist Jack Horner.
PETER DASZAK FINANCED THE CREATION OF SARS CoV-2
PETER DASZAK has a good reason for wanting to "debunk" the idea that SARS CoV-2 was not a laboratory leak because if it was he could be held responsible for a pandemic.
Another part of Daszak's job is to discredit any sugestion that the Chinese had any responsibilty for the pandemic even though a disease broke out in a city where controversial experiments with the virus that caused the disease were being performed in the highest level biocontainment lab in China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Why not in some other Chinese city, village or town? Nor is it a coincidence PETER DASZAK and SHI ZHENGLI were inducing Gain of Function (GoF) mutations in the SARS CoV-1 viruses around the time the first case of Covid-19 appeared. They produced Corona viruses capable of infecting human beings. Because viruses mutate so readily during their replication, all new viruses have to be checked to make sure they only have the mutations the lab caused. So the virus mutated into a new and even more deadly nanoparticle on its own. In early November 2019 the virus leaked from the aging biocontainment level 4 lab into the streets of Wuhan. Remember we are dealing with invisible nanoparticles, not elephants escaping from the circus. It is hard to keep track of something you can't see. SARS CoV-2 is both artificial and self-generating. It has not been found in nature as SARS CoV-1 has. Most virologists believe SARS CoV-2 comes from bats, which it originally did, and rule out laboratory manipulation. But there is also some dissention including reports the virus is more attracted to humans than to its intermediate animal hosts. Others report it similarity to the AIDS virus. These and other resourses are found in this data base. By farming out GoF experiments to WIV, after they were banned in the US, Daszak started the wheels in motion that eventually produced a virus that is called Covid-19. But there is little disagreement that this virus did not originate in the Wuhan Wet Market as first believed.
When peterdaszak.com went online the first ones to become aware of it were the Chinese. Hours after it first came on line they were visiting. The CCP had an alert on their agent Peter Daszak. But by visiting the page they confirmed the fact he was a Chinese agent or agent of influence.
PETER DASZAK is not a medical doctor but holds a B.Sc. in Zoology in 1987 at University College of North Wales (UCNW), and a Ph.D. in parasitic infectious diseases in 1994 at University of East London. Peter was a prime target of Chinese intelligence recruitment as he was already in bed with the CCP. He parrots the Party Line. But he also was co-opted by the CIA until Trump cut his funds off. ECOHEALTH is a think tank put together by the CIA that was supposed to protect America from Pandemics by keeping an eye on bats. But ECOHEALTH began to subsidize Gain-of-Function experiments at WIV and a recombinant virus leaked from the lab into the streets of Wuhan then into the market and out again. Was it coincidence that SARSCov2 started close to WIV? Just how close the Chinese won't say as they refuse to give out the address of patient zero.
Dr. Daszak is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and Chair of the NASEM’s Forum on Microbial Threats. He is a member of the NRC Advisory Committee to the US Global Change Research Program, the Supervisory Board of the One Health Platform, the One Health Commission Council of Advisors, the CEEZAD External Advisory Board, the Cosmos Club, and the Advisory Council of the Bridge Collaborative. He has served on the IOM Committee on global surveillance for emerging zoonoses, the NRC committee on the future of veterinary research, the International Standing Advisory Board of the Australian Biosecurity CRC; and has advised the Director for Medical Preparedness Policy on the White House National Security Staff on global health issues. Dr. Daszak is a regular advisor to WHO on pathogen prioritization for R&D. Dr. Daszak won the 2000 CSIRO medal for collaborative research on the discovery of amphibian chytridiomycosis, is the EHA institutional lead for USAID-EPT-PREDICT, is on the Editorial Board of Conservation Biology, One Health, GeoHealth, One Health Outlook, Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, and is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Ecohealth. He has authored over 300 scientific papers and was listed as a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher in 2018. His work has been the focus of extensive media coverage, ranging from press articles in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Washington Post, US News & World Report, and broadcast appearances on 60 Minutes, CNN, ABC, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, Science Friday, and Fresh Air with Terry Gross.
A newly discovered fungus appears to be the cause of an epidemic among amphibians that is killing off frogs and toads of a wide variety of declining species in rain forests in Australia and Central America, according to a new report by an international team of researchers. Scientists say the new study may help solve the mystery of why amphibians are vanishing around the world, often from pristine, isolated habitats. ''It's one thing to go and look for frogs and say they're gone, but what we needed were the bodies to work on,'' said Dr. Peter Daszak, parasitologist at Kingston University in England and an author of the report. Now, with all the carcasses at their disposal, he said, ''at last we seem to be getting somewhere.'' NYT
But zoonoses fall into a gray area, and the 2003 monkeypox outbreak in the Midwest is a perfect example of what can go wrong, said Peter Daszak, director of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine at the Wildlife Trust, a group specializing in human-animal diseases. The disease, related to smallpox but less deadly, arrived in a shipment of 18 Gambian giant pouched rats imported for a Chicago pet store, where they infected prairie dogs. By summer's end, there were 37 confirmed human cases -- none fatal, but some scary -- mostly among prairie-dog owners. Millions of live animals come into the country each year, and very few have really good surveillance," Dr. Daszak said. "Fish and Wildlife checks cargoes to see if they have endangered species, but it's the U.S.D.A. that does health checks, and they don't go unless it's an agricultural product, so the pet trade tends to get a pass." "The C.D.C. does a great job with outbreak investigation, but that's after the fact," he said of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "After monkeypox, they put a blanket ban on rodents from some West African countries. But who's looking at rodents from other places? Nobody. And that's a gap." NYT
It is likely, the study found, that one of these "SARS-like" viruses evolved into the SARS virus at an exotic animal marketplace, where it infected civets, which, in turn, infected humans, according to Michael Farzan, a Harvard Medical School assistant professor who was not involved in the research. But why did this happen when it did? One intriguing possibility is that it is linked to China's economic boom, according to Peter Daszak, a co-author of the SARS paper who is executive director of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine. With the newfound wealth there, he said, animal markets have grown as more people can afford fresh animal meat. As the markets grow, so do the chances that a virus will jump from one species to the next. NYT
The flu that is moving through humans appears to have a combination of genes from two normally separate sets of pigs, those from the Americas and from Eurasia, scientists say. However, it is unknown how those pigs met, and there is not yet any genetic proof that this particular flu was ever in a pig. Peter Daszak, president of the Wildlife Trust, found records showing that Mexico imported two pigs from France in 2007, the United States imported a few from Britain and Ireland, and Canada imported hundreds from Europe. “And surely this isn’t the whole truth,” he said. “There must be a hidden illegal trade.” NYT
“By mapping encroachment into the forest you can predict where the next disease could emerge,” Dr. Daszak, EcoHealth’s president, says. “So we’re going to the edge of villages, we’re going to places where mines have just opened up, areas where new roads are being built. We are going to talk to people who live within these zones and saying, ‘what you are doing is potentially a risk.’ ” NYT
Peter Daszak, a parasitologist and president of the EcoHealth Alliance, has even put a number on it: 5.3 new ones each year, based on a study using data from 1940 to 2004. He and his co-authors blamed population growth, deforestation, antibiotic overuse, factory farming, live animal markets, bush meat hunting, jet travel and other factors. NYT
520 Eighth Avenue, Ste. 1200, New York, NY 10018 212.380.4460 AS SOON AS THIS PANDEMIC ENDS THOSE WHO SURVIVED COVID WILL DEMONSTRATE IN FRONT OF THIS OFFICE
It was the darkest hour since the new illness, known as Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, first appeared in Saudi Arabia late in 2012. In all, more than 700 cases have been documented in 20 countries, nearly all of them linked to Saudi Arabia. More than 250 people have died. King Abdullah fired the country’s health minister and his deputy in April, leaving experts wondering whether the shake-up would bring greater transparency and international cooperation. “In the U.S., when you have a crisis like the Veterans Administration scandal, the new head is in front of the TV cameras explaining what the new plan is,” said Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a veterinary organization that tracked the disease in animals. “There is no tradition of openness in Saudi Arabia.” NYT
The goal of mapping scenarios out is not to create panic. It’s to get countries ready,” said Dr. Peter Daszak, the president of the alliance. “This virus will get better and better at spreading — that’s what we’re up against. We need to be ahead of the curve.” NYT
In a move that worries many public health experts, the federal government is quietly shutting down a surveillance program for dangerous animal viruses that someday may infect humans. The United Nations Environment Program estimates that a new animal disease that can also infect humans is discovered every four months. Ending the program, experts fear, will leave the world more vulnerable to lethal pathogens like Ebola and MERS that emerge from unexpected places, such as bat-filled trees, gorilla carcasses and camel barns. The end of the program “is definitely a loss,” said Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit global health organization that received funding from the program. “Predict was an approach to heading off pandemics, instead of sitting there waiting for them to emerge and then mobilizing. That’s expensive." NYT
One such scientist is Zheng-Li Shi, of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a senior author of the draft paper (not yet peer reviewed and so far available only in preprint) that gave nCoV-2019 its identity and name. It was Ms. Shi and her collaborators who, back in 2005, showed that the SARS pathogen was a bat virus that had spilled over into people. Ms. Shi and colleagues have been tracing coronaviruses in bats since then, warning that some of them are uniquely suited to cause human pandemics.
In a 2017 paper, they set out how, after nearly five years of collecting fecal samples from bats in the Yunnan cave, they had found coronaviruses in multiple individuals of four different species of bats, including one called the intermediate horseshoe bat, because of the half-oval flap of skin protruding like a saucer around its nostrils. The genome of that virus, Ms. Shi and her colleagues have now announced, is 96 percent identical to the Wuhan virus that has recently been found in humans. And those two constitute a pair distinct from all other known coronaviruses, including the one that causes SARS. In this sense, nCoV-2019 is novel — and possibly even more dangerous to humans than the other coronaviruses.
I say “possibly” because so far, not only do we not know how dangerous it is, we can’t know. Outbreaks of new viral diseases are like the steel balls in a pinball machine: You can slap your flippers at them, rock the machine on its legs and bonk the balls to the jittery rings, but where they end up dropping depends on 11 levels of chance as well as on anything you do. This is true with coronaviruses in particular: They mutate often while they replicate, and can evolve as quickly as a nightmare ghoul.
Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, a private research organization based in New York that focuses on the connections between human and wildlife health, is one of Ms. Shi’s longtime partners. “We’ve been raising the flag on these viruses for 15 years,” he told me on Friday with calm frustration. “Ever since SARS.” He was a co-author of the 2005 bats-and-SARS study, and again of the 2017 paper about the multiple SARS-like coronaviruses in the Yunnan cave.
Mr. Daszak told me that, during that second study, the field team took blood samples from a couple of thousand Yunnanese people, about 400 of whom lived near the cave. Roughly 3 percent of them carried antibodies against SARS-related coronaviruses.
“We don’t know if they got sick. We don’t know if they were exposed as children or adults,” Mr. Daszak said. “But what it tells you is that these viruses are making the jump, repeatedly, from bats to humans.” In other words, this Wuhan emergency is no novel event. It’s part of a sequence of related contingencies that stretches back into the past and will stretch forward into the future, as long as current circumstances persist.
So when you’re done worrying about this outbreak, worry about the next one. Or do something about the current circumstances.
Current circumstances include a perilous trade in wildlife for food, with supply chains stretching through Asia, Africa and to a lesser extent, the United States and elsewhere. That trade has now been outlawed in China, on a temporary basis; but it was outlawed also during SARS, then allowed to resume — with bats, civets, porcupines, turtles, bamboo rats, many kinds of birds and other animals piled together in markets such as the one in Wuhan.
Current circumstances also include 7.6 billion hungry humans: some of them impoverished and desperate for protein; some affluent and wasteful and empowered to travel every which way by airplane. These factors are unprecedented on planet Earth: We know from the fossil record, by absence of evidence, that no large-bodied animal has ever been nearly so abundant as humans are now, let alone so effective at arrogating resources. And one consequence of that abundance, that power, and the consequent ecological disturbances is increasing viral exchanges — first from animal to human, then from human to human, sometimes on a pandemic scale.
We invade tropical forests and other wild landscapes, which harbor so many species of animals and plants — and within those creatures, so many unknown viruses. We cut the trees; we kill the animals or cage them and send them to markets. We disrupt ecosystems, and we shake viruses loose from their natural hosts. When that happens, they need a new host. Often, we are it.
The list of such viruses emerging into humans sounds like a grim drumbeat: Machupo, Bolivia, 1961; Marburg, Germany, 1967; Ebola, Zaire and Sudan, 1976; H.I.V., recognized in New York and California, 1981; a form of Hanta (now known as Sin Nombre), southwestern United States, 1993; Hendra, Australia, 1994; bird flu, Hong Kong, 1997; Nipah, Malaysia, 1998; West Nile, New York, 1999; SARS, China, 2002-3; MERS, Saudi Arabia, 2012; Ebola again, West Africa, 2014. And that’s just a selection. Now we have nCoV-2019, the latest thump on the drum.
Current circumstances also include bureaucrats who lie and conceal bad news, and elected officials who brag to the crowd about cutting forests to create jobs in the timber industry and agriculture or about cutting budgets for public health and research. The distance from Wuhan or the Amazon to Paris, Toronto or Washington is short for some viruses, measured in hours, given how well they can ride within airplane passengers. And if you think funding pandemic preparedness is expensive, wait until you see the final cost of nCoV-2019.
Fortunately, current circumstances also include brilliant, dedicated scientists and outbreak-response medical people — such as many at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, EcoHealth Alliance, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), the Chinese C.D.C. and numerous other institutions. These are the people who go into bat caves, swamps and high-security containment laboratories, often risking their lives, to bring out bat feces and blood and other precious evidence to study genomic sequences and answer the key questions.
As the number of nCoV-2019 cases has increased, and the death toll along with it, one metric, the case fatality rate, has remained rather steady so far: at about or below 3 percent. As of Tuesday, less than three out of 100 confirmed cases had died. That’s relatively good luck — worse than for most strains of influenza, better than for SARS.
This good luck may not last. Nobody knows where the pinball will go. Four days from today, the number of cases may be in the tens of thousands. Six months from today, Wuhan pneumonia may be receding into memory. Or not.
We are faced with two mortal challenges, in the short term and the long term. Short term: We must do everything we can, with intelligence, calm and a full commitment of resources, to contain and extinguish this nCoV-2019 outbreak before it becomes, as it could, a devastating global pandemic. Long term: We must remember, when the dust settles, that nCoV-2019 was not a novel event or a misfortune that befell us. It was — it is — part of a pattern of choices that we humans are making.
David Quammen is an author and journalist whose books include “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.”NYT
Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, who has been working in China for 15 years studying diseases that jump from animals to people, said, “We don’t know the source yet, but there’s pretty strong evidence that this is a bat origin coronavirus.” He said, “It’s probably going to be the Chinese horseshoe bat,” a common species that weighs up to an ounce. NYT
In early 2018, during a meeting at the World Health Organization in Geneva, a group of experts I belong to (the R&D Blueprint) coined the term “Disease X”: We were referring to the next pandemic, which would be caused by an unknown, novel pathogen that hadn’t yet entered the human population. As the world stands today on the edge of the pandemic precipice, it’s worth taking a moment to consider whether Covid-19 is the disease our group was warning about.
Disease X, we said back then, would likely result from a virus originating in animals and would emerge somewhere on the planet where economic development drives people and wildlife together. Disease X would probably be confused with other diseases early in the outbreak and would spread quickly and silently; exploiting networks of human travel and trade, it would reach multiple countries and thwart containment. Disease X would have a mortality rate higher than a seasonal flu but would spread as easily as the flu. It would shake financial markets even before it achieved pandemic status.
In a nutshell, Covid-19 is Disease X.
Even as there are signs that the epidemic’s spread might be slowing in China, multiple communities and countries have now reported sustained transmission in their midst. The number of confirmed cases has exploded in South Korea in recent days. In Italy, villages and towns are on lockdown, Fashion Week in Milan has been disrupted and festivals are being canceled while public health authorities search for patient zero to identify who else is likely infected and may spread the disease in Europe. Iran appears to have become a new hub of transmission. The looming pandemic will challenge us in new ways, as people try to evade quarantines, and misinformation campaigns and conspiracy theorists ply their trade in open democracies.
But as the world struggles to respond to Covid-19, we risk missing the really big picture: Pandemics are on the rise, and we need to contain the process that drives them, not just the individual diseases.
Plagues are not only part of our culture; they are caused by it. The Black Death spread into Europe in the mid-14th century with the growth of trade along the Silk Road. New strains of influenza have emerged from livestock farming. Ebola, SARS, MERS and now Covid-19 have been linked to wildlife. Pandemics usually begin as viruses in animals that jump to people when we make contact with them.
These spillovers are increasing exponentially as our ecological footprint brings us closer to wildlife in remote areas and the wildlife trade brings these animals into urban centers. Unprecedented road-building, deforestation, land clearing and agricultural development, as well as globalized travel and trade, make us supremely susceptible to pathogens like coronaviruses.
Yet the world’s strategy for dealing with pandemics is woefully inadequate. Across the board, from politicians to the public, we treat pandemics as a disaster-response issue: We wait for them to happen and hope a vaccine or drug can be developed quickly in their aftermath. But even as Covid-19 rages, there still is no vaccine available for the SARS virus of 2002-3, nor for HIV/AIDS or Zika or a host of emerging pathogens. The problem is that between outbreaks, the will to spend money on prevention wanes, and the market for vaccines and drugs against sporadic viral diseases isn’t enough to drive research and development.
During its World Health Assembly in 2016, the W.H.O. set up the R&D Blueprint to bridge this gap and announced a priority list of pathogens that most threaten global health and for which no vaccines or drugs were in the pipeline. SARS made the list, as did MERS, Nipah, Ebola and other rare but serious diseases caused by epidemic viruses. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations — a global partnership between public, private, philanthropic and civil society organizations launched at Davos in 2017 — stepped up to the plate and sourced funding to develop vaccines and therapeutics against some of these.
To escape from the Age of Pandemics, we’ll need to treat them as a public health issue and start working on prevention in addition to responses. Our first goal should be to broaden our armory against potential mass epidemics. When some of us added “Disease X” to the W.H.O.’s priority list two years ago, we wanted to make the point that it’s not sufficient to develop vaccines and drugs for known agents when the next big one is likely to be a different pathogen — a virus close to SARS, say, but not close enough that the same vaccine can work against both.
As Covid-19 strikes today and a spate of other pathogens are ready to emerge in the future, we continue to butt up against nature. Scientists estimate that there are 1.67 million unknown viruses of the type that have previously emerged in people. Discovering and sequencing them should be a priority — a simple case of “know your enemy.” In the aftermath of SARS, research on coronaviruses originating in bats has discovered more than 50 related viruses, some of which have the potential to infect people; this information can now be used to test for broad-action vaccines and drugs. Scaling up this effort to cover all viral families, as the Global Virome Project proposes to do, is a logical first step toward prevention.
A radical shift is also needed in the way that tests, vaccines and drugs are designed so that entire groups of pathogens are targeted instead of individual pathogens that are already known. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States is working on a universal flu vaccine that would cover all known strains of influenza; a universal coronavirus vaccine, an Ebola-virus vaccine and others will also be needed.
With a smaller investment, we can also try to get ahead of pandemics by working with communities in hot spots of emerging diseases. Disease surveillance should be focused on farmers, rural communities and anyone who has extensive contact with wildlife, to look for unusual illnesses, test for novel pathogens and work with people to develop alternatives to high-risk activities such as the wildlife trade.
Pandemics are like terrorist attacks: We know roughly where they originate and what’s responsible for them, but we don’t know exactly when the next one will happen. They need to be handled the same way — by identifying all possible sources and dismantling those before the next pandemic strikes.
Peter Daszak is a disease ecologist and the president of EcoHealth Alliance, in New York.NYT
Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, an organization that works on animal-to-human spillover diseases, said that accumulating evidence on pangolins made it “doubtful that this species played a role in the outbreak.” “We need to keep looking for the original reservoir” — likely a bat,” he said, adding that the potential intermediate host would likely be another mammal species that’s more widely traded in the Yunnan-to-Wuhan corridor of China. While the pangolin trade is vast, Dr. Daszak said most of it “is in their scales, dried, in which viruses would almost certainly not be able to persist.” He opposes trade in the highly endangered animal. NYT
Daszak describes Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, as exactly the kind of threat that Disease X was meant to represent: a novel, highly infectious coronavirus, with a high mortality rate, and no existing treatment or prevention. “The problem isn’t that prevention was impossible,” Daszak told me. “It was very possible. But we didn’t do it. Governments thought it was too expensive. Pharmaceutical companies operate for profit.” And the W.H.O., for the most part, had neither the funding nor the power to enforce the large-scale global collaboration necessary to combat it. NYT
“What worries me the most is that we are going to miss the next emerging disease,” said a scientist named Peter Daszak, describing his fear of a coronavirus “that moves from one part of the planet to another, wiping out people as it moves along.”
In the intervening years, Daszak became president of the EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit research organization focused on emerging pandemics. EcoHealth worked with China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology to study coronaviruses in bats that could infect humans, and, as Science magazine put it, “to develop tools that could help researchers create diagnostics, treatments and vaccines for human outbreaks.” Since 2014, the EcoHealth Alliance has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health, until its funding was abruptly cut two weeks ago.
The reason, as “60 Minutes” reported on Sunday evening, was a conspiracy theory spread by Representative Matt Gaetz, the Florida Republican who in March wore a gas mask on the House floor to mock concern about the new coronavirus. On April 14, Gaetz appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show and claimed that the N.I.H. grant went to the Wuhan Institute, which Gaetz intimated might have been the source of the virus — the institute may have “birthed a monster,” in his words.
The first of Gaetz’s claims was flatly false, and the second unlikely; the C.I.A. has reportedly found no evidence of a link between the virus and the Wuhan lab. But at a White House briefing a few days later, a reporter from the right-wing website Newsmax told President Trump that under Barack Obama, the N.I.H. gave the Wuhan lab a $3.7 million grant. “Why would the U.S. give a grant like that to China?” she asked.
In fact, Trump’s administration had recently renewed EcoHealth’s grant, but Trump didn’t appear to know that. “The Obama administration gave them a grant of $3.7 million?” he asked. Then he said, “We will end that grant very quickly.”
And they did. But ending the grant dealt a blow to efforts to find treatments and a vaccine for the coronavirus. Remdesivir, the antiviral drug that’s shown some promise in Covid-19 patients, was earlier tested against bat viruses EcoHealth discovered. Now the nonprofit is facing layoffs.
This political hit on Daszak’s work is far from the only way that the Trump administration’s contempt for science has undermined America’s coronavirus response. Conservative antipathy to science is nothing new; Republicans have long denied and denigrated the scientific consensus on issues from evolution to stem cell research to climate change. This hostility has several causes, including populist distrust of experts, religious rejection of information that undermines biblical literalism and efforts by giant corporations to evade regulation.
But it’s grown worse under Trump, with his authoritarian impulse to quash any facts, from inauguration crowd sizes to hurricane paths, that might reflect poorly on him.
Until recently, it seemed as if Trump’s sabotage of efforts to combat climate change would be the most destructive legacy of his disregard for science. But the coronavirus has presented the country with an emergency that only sound science can solve. That means that the Trump administration’s disdain for expertise, its elevation of slavish loyalty over technical competence, has become a more immediate threat.
Months before this pandemic began, Reuters reported, the Trump administration axed the job of an epidemiologist working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in China to help detect emerging disease outbreaks. NYT
The grant had been given to EcoHealth Alliance, an organization with headquarters in New York that studies the potential for spillover of animal viruses to humans around the globe. The group collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been at the center of conspiracy theories about how the novel coronavirus originated. Virologists and intelligence agencies agree that the virus evolved in nature and spread from animals to humans.
Days after the news conference in April, the National Institutes of Health emailed Peter Daszak, the head of EcoHealth Alliance. They questioned his work with the Wuhan Institute, and after an exchange of emails, he was informed that the renewal of his grant for more than $3 million was canceled. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/21/health/wuhan-coronavirus-laboratory.html NYT PETER DASZAK ECOHEALTH ALLIANCE ON DEMOCRACY NOW!
"Look, first, the idea that this virus escaped from a lab is just pure baloney. It’s simply not true. I’ve been working with that lab for 15 years. And the samples collected were collected by me and others in collaboration with our Chinese colleagues. They’re some of the best scientists in the world. There was no viral isolate in the lab. There was no cultured virus that’s anything related to SARS coronavirus 2. So it’s just not possible. [Dr. Wang Yanyi said the institute now had three strains of live viruses, including one that was 96 per cent genomically similar to the Sars virus. But their highest similarity to Sars-CoV-2 was only 79.8 per cent, Wang Yanyi said.] Now, how did it get into the market? We know for sure that the Wuhan market was part of this outbreak, but we think that the first few cases weren’t in the market. And this is not uncommon. We’ve seen this with many, many other disease outbreaks, new viruses that emerge. They trickle out from rural areas through a person getting infected maybe in Hunan province and then moving into Wuhan, that maybe they’re part of the wildlife trade. Maybe a farmer got infected, or a farmer’s animals, and they were shipped into the markets. These wet markets aren’t just places to sell wildlife; they’re places where people congregate. They come in in droves. They circulate around. They’re really good places for a virus to spread. And if a person brings it in, or an animal, that virus will spread. And it looks like that’s what’s happened here."
If the disease "trickled out from rural areas" because there are as many bats in Wuhan as there are in New York City why didn't someone in those rural areas become infected first? Why wasn't Hunan put under lock-down? "Maybe a farmer got infected, or a farmer’s animals, and they were shipped into the markets." Why did the market closest to the Wuhan Institute of Virology get infected and no other wet markets? As documented in this Data Base the virus did not originate in the market but this Chinese agent of influence sticks with a variation of the market story.
CHINA DAILY CHI COM PROPAGANDA QUOTES PETER DASZAK : "Before accepting the first batch of test samples from COVID-19 patients on December 30, 2019, the institute’s labs did not have the novel coronavirus and no one at the institute has contracted COVID-19 to this day. “It is impossible for the virus to leak from such a high-security laboratory,” said Yuan Zhiming, a researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in an interview with CGTN on April 18. The claim that the novel coronavirus escaped from the laboratory is pure nonsense, said PETER DASZAK , chairperson of EcoHealth Alliance, a New York-based non-profit organization, who has been cooperating with the Wuhan Institute of Virology for 15 years. There is no virus cultivation related to the new coronavirus in the laboratories of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, so the so-called “laboratory leak theory” is impossible, said PETER DASZAK who is responsible for studying emerging infectious diseases worldwide."
Simply untrue as evidenced by the scientific papers generated by the Institute.
NPR "The real risk is in the wild in the way people interact with wildlife around the world," says PETER DASZAK , president of EcoHealth Alliance in New York City, a group that researches the origins of pandemics. "That's where we need to be focused if we want to really do something about preventing the next pandemic. We're finding 1 to 7 million people exposed to these viruses every year in Southeast Asia; that's the pathway. It's just so obvious to all of us working in the field," he says. No conspiracy theories Despite the evidence, misinformation about the virus's origins continue to proliferate. For PETER DASZAK who has worked on other outbreaks, the pattern is all too familiar: "Every time we get a new virus emerging, we have people that say, 'This could have come from a lab,'" he says. What's unusual about this outbreak, he says, is that senior officials in both China and the U.S. have traded accusations that each nation is somehow responsible for the virus. "It's a real shame that the conspiracy theories can get to the level they've got with policymakers," he says. The political heat has strained the very scientific collaborations meant to detect these viruses as they emerge, warns Jonna Mazet. The PREDICT system she runs relies on the voluntary cooperation of many countries, with researchers freely sharing data about viruses they're spotting within their borders. "With this sort of blame game that's going on, we put ourselves at much more risk." PETER DASZAK says the time for finger-pointing is over. "We have a bat virus in my neighborhood in New York killing people," he says. "Let's get real about this."
December 2006 SHI ZHENGLI a researcher at Wuhan Institute of Virology, co-authors an “Emerging Infectious Diseases” article with PETER DASZAK describing whole-genome sequences of two novel bat coronaviruses from Chinese horseshoe bats that target the ACE2 receptor, just like Covid-19.
October 30, 2013 SHI ZHENGLI and PETER DASZAK team up again to author a Nature article, entitled Isolation and characterization of a bat SARS-like coronavirus that uses the ACE2 receptor — offering strongest evidence to date that Chinese horseshoe bats are natural reservoirs of SARS-CoV.30 October 2013
November 9, 2015 Two Wuhan Institute of Virology scientists, Xing-Yi Ge and Shi Zhengli, use reverse genetics to generate a chimeric virus (one that has been created by combining cells of more than one distinct genotype) closely resembling the novel coronavirus Covid-19: “On the basis of these findings, we synthetically re-derived an infectious full-length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro and in vivo.” The Nature Medicine article also mentions, “Human lungs for HAE cultures were procured under University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institutional Review Board–approved protocols.”
February 22, 2017 The Wuhan Institute of Virology, China’s first biosafety level-4 lab (BSL-4), is certified to work on the most dangerous pathogens. Observes Nature, “But worries surround the Chinese lab, too. The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times.” The Wuhan Institute of Virology is the only BSL-4 virology lab in China staffed with two Chinese virologists, SHI ZHENGLI and Xing-Yi Ge, who both previously worked at a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill lab, which had already bio-engineered an incredibly virulent strain of bat coronavirus.
November 30, 2017 As Nature breathlessly tells it, “After a detective hunt across China, researchers chasing the origin of the deadly SARS virus have finally found their smoking gun. In a remote cave in Yunnan province, virologists have identified a single population of horseshoe bats that harbours virus strains with all the genetic building blocks of the one that jumped to humans in 2002, killing almost 800 people around the world.” That report was based on an article, entitled, “Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus,” published in San Francisco-based “PLOS Pathogens’ and jointly funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China. And wielding the smoking gun, besides a cast of usual suspects (Xing-Yi Ge and PETER DASZAK ) was none other than SHI ZHENGLI (Zhengli Shi in Chinese), a virologist who is often called China’s “bat woman” by her colleagues because of her virus-hunting expeditions in bat caves over the past 16 years.
January 19, 2018 U.S. Embassy in Beijing takes unusual step of repeatedly sending U.S. science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. One visit raises so many red flags, that a cable is sent noting, “a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.”
March 27, 2018 The Wuhan Institute of Virology issues a news release in English after the last of the U.S. Embassy visits. The news release was removed the week of April 6, 2020, although it remains archived on the internet.
November 18, 2019 The Wuhan Institute of Virology posts a job opening that seeks to fill “1-2 post-doctoral fellows” who will “take bats as the research object and provide answers regarding the molecular mechanism that can co-exist with Ebola and SARS-associated coronaviruses for a long time without causing disease, and its relationship with flight (aerosols) and longevity. Virology, immunology cell biology and multiple comics (refers to biological science study fields that end with -omics) are used to compare the differences between humans and other mammals.” Candidates are to send their resumes to Peng Zhou (??) Ph.D., the “Leader of the Bat Virus Infection and Immunization Group” at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
May 2020 Origin and cross-species transmission of bat coronaviruses in China Alice Latinne, Ben Hu, Kevin J. Olival, Guangjian Zhu, Libiao Zhang, Hongying Li, Aleksei A. Chmura, Hume E. Field, Carlos Zambrana-Torrelio, Jonathan H. Epstein, Bei Li, Wei Zhang, Lin-Fa Wang, Zheng-Li Shi, Peter Daszak DOI This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review [what does this mean?].
Do you think that we will ever know where Sars-Cov-2 came from – and does it matter?
It does matter, but we're never going to know 100 per cent for sure – it's very hard to definitively prove, without being there at the time. In that space of uncertainty, conspiracy theories abound – for instance the idea it could have been bio-engineered. This is ridiculous, but it’s time consuming to fight these fires. I think it will take a couple of years to track Sar-Cov-2 properly. We need to trace back the sorts of animals that were going into Wuhan’s wet market – and the people. It’s quite possible it was circulating on a farm for weeks or months before emerging in Wuhan. Every time we've looked at the origins of the new disease in the past, we’ve found out it was actually around a lot longer than thought. Perhaps we will find it was just missed because, in most people, it just causes a cough – who in rural China doesn't have a cough every now and again?
What do you think is driving the conspiracy theories we’ve seen over the last few months?
People buy into conspiracy theories because they’re convincing stories told by charismatic people with just enough science and fact to make them seem plausible. The truth also tends to be less interesting. In this case, people in China are exposed to bats, who harbour viruses. It’s a lot more exciting to blame scientists inside a top secret lab that’s blocked off with barbed wire even if what is going on behind those doors is actually pretty boring.
Do you think that our natural propensity to jump on conspiracy theories is being played on by politicians?
Clearly this is part of the politics now. Take the US. We're seeing conspiracy theories being elevated in a polarised press, to the point where politicians then use that to make policy decisions. Which is pretty frightening.
Who are your heroes and villains of the pandemic?
Then there are people like SHI ZHENGLI in China, who has stuck through death threats and a complete disparaging of her character, just to do what she does: try to save lives. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/will-see-outbreaks-inevitable-warning-worlds-famous-virus-hunter
DASZAK is sticking with the Wuhan Market origination myth. "It’s a lot more exciting to blame scientists inside a top secret lab that’s blocked off with barbed wire even if what is going on behind those doors is actually pretty boring." There is only a cyclone fence around WIV and making new virus is not boring. Finally the only cases in rural China where bats abound were characterized by a mild cough or no symptoms. No rural Chinese came down with full blown Sars-Cov-2.
"A grant to a New York nonprofit ECOHEALTH ALLIANCE aimed at detecting and preventing future outbreaks of coronaviruses from bats has been canceled by the National Institutes of Health, Politico reports, apparently at the direction of President Donald Trump because the research involved the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. On April 14, the The Washington Post published a column highlighting State Department cables about concerns regarding safety at the institute."
“Every single outbreak of a novel virus, somebody somewhere says, ‘Well this has been manufactured in a lab.’ … We estimate there are 1.7 million unknown viruses in wildlife, so there’s a lot of diversity out there and we need to be looking at that instead of pointing fingers." https://t.co/OJjvyWulEp— EcoHealth Alliance (@EcoHealthNYC) April 16, 2020
A recent Pew study found that one-in-three Americans believes a theory that the virus behind COVID-19 was lab released. There is no science to back this up. https://t.co/IlOO5vFuws— EcoHealth Alliance (@EcoHealthNYC) April 23, 2020
"Testing of samples from a Wuhan food market...failed to show links between animals being sold there & the pathogen. Gao Fu, director of China CDC said 'It now turns out that the market is one of the victims.'" https://t.co/yqDYsxwOq0— Peter Daszak (@PeterDaszak) May 27, 2020
I’m glad the reporters at @nytimes recognized the incredibly fast work and open sharing of data from our colleagues at Wuhan Institute of Virology led by Zhengli Shi and Peng Zhou. https://t.co/F795ou1tXY— Peter Daszak (@PeterDaszak) February 2, 2020
This Operation is built around the PREDICT program that failed the American people. The scientists involved in EcoHealth are wildlife / human interface scholars and have no idea of what went on in WIV.
Dr. Alice Latinne Research Scientist As a research scientist at EcoHealth Alliance, Dr. Alice Latinne aims at better understanding the dynamics of pathogens within and among wildlife populations, livestock, and humans, with a focus on projects in Asia. Alice studies the evolutionary dynamics of host-pathogen interactions, and their co-evolution at the phylogenetic and phylogeographic scale, in order to assess the risk of zoonotic pathogens emergence at high-risk human-wildlife interfaces. Alice’s work aims to explain patterns and likelihood of pathogen sharing among species, and to determine how the host phylogenetic and phylogeographic structure affects pathogen distribution and cross-species transmission. Alice is currently involved with our work on Nipah virus and host dynamics in S. Asia and assessing the risk of bat Coronavirus emergence in live animal markets of southern China. Trained as an evolutionary biologist, Alice earned her M.Sc. in Animal Biology and her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the University of Liège in Belgium. Her Ph.D. dissertation aimed at exploring the diversity and evolutionary history of murid rodents in limestone karsts of Thailand. During her doctoral research, Alice has spent a long time trapping rodents and small mammals in Southeast Asia before analysing the collected samples in genetics laboratory. Prior to her current position at EcoHealth Alliance, Alice was a Marie Curie COFUND fellow and she conducted postdoctoral research at the Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution in Montpellier (ISEM) and at the Kasetsart University in Thailand. Her research goals were directed toward understanding the evolution of murid rodents and their associated parasites and pathogens in Southeast Asia.
Dr. Kendra Phelps applies her keen interest in the ways that humans alter our own environment in her work creating bat surveillance networks in Western Asia. Through establishing a network of bat disease ecologists in the region which has previously been poorly studied, Kendra aims to expand our knowledge of the diseases bats can potentially spread to humans, and the ways in which humans can shift our own behaviors to prevent such disease spillovers. Dr. Phelps earned a BS from Auburn University and a Ph.D in Zoology from Texas Tech University. [a group of Texas Universities was suspected of having undisclosed ties to the Chinese.] She also worked in the Philippines as a Fulbright Fellow, there she studied cave-dwelling bats’ responses to cave disturbance and the interactions people living near those caves had with the bat populations. Before joining EcoHealth Alliance, Dr. Phelps worked as a lecturer and research associate at her alma mater, Texas Tech.
Dr. Anne Laudisoit is an eco-epidemiologist and wildlife biologist who, through her interest in the interface between human, animal, and environmental health, became a One Health disease ecologist. Dr. Laudisoit holds a joint Ph. D from the University of Antwerp and Liège working on plague epidemiology in Tanzania. Dr. Laudisoit has spent extensive time in Africa; she has spent the last several years in the Democratic Republic of Congo studying neglected tropical diseases like onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy, emerging zoonotic diseases like monkeypox, Rickettsia, and Bartonella, and teaching at the University of Kisangani. She now works with EcoHealth Alliance on the PREDICT program, aiming to predict future viral epidemics globally.
EcoHealth Alliance works at the leading edge of this field by building local capabilities and testing high-risk wildlife in Bangladesh, Côte d'Ivoire, Republic of Congo, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Liberia, Malaysia, and Thailand. After scientists collect swabs or small amounts of blood, they analyze the samples in the lab to look for evidence of disease. The findings are catalogued in a database, that mathematical experts use to create predictive maps of potential disease outbreaks. This approach not only allows researchers to find new diseases, but also helps communities prepare for and respond to the threat of an outbreak.
Tom Hughes Senior Scientist As Malaysian Project Coordinator at EcoHealth Alliance, Tom Hughes coordinates all of our sampling, testing, capacity building and training efforts in Malaysia. Tom’s responsibilities include setting up and running the Study of Zoonotic Infections among Persons Exposed to Wild Animals, a collaborative research project with the Malaysian Government, as well as being the PREDICT country coordinator for the USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats program and Deputy Chief of Party for the USAID Infectious Disease Emergence and Economics of Altered landscapes (IDEEAL) Project. Tom began working with EcoHealth Alliance in June 2005 on the Nipah virus research project in Malaysia. In 2007, he took on the new role of coordinating the Study of Zoonotic Infections among Persons Exposed to Wild Animals in Malaysia, to determine if close contact with wild animals results in the transfer of zoonotic diseases. In 2010, Tom became the PREDICT Malaysia country coordinator for USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats program. The aim of this research is to create an early warning system for potential zoonotic disease spillover into livestock and humans. Tom is working closely with partners from the Ministry of Health, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, the Department of Veterinary Services, Sabah Wildlife Department and local universities to develop personnel and laboratory capacity and establish sustainable disease surveillance systems.
Dr. William B. Karesh is the Executive Vice President for Health and Policy at EcoHealth Alliance. He serves as the president of the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) Working Group on Wildlife Diseases and also chairs the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Wildlife Health Specialist Group, a network of wildlife and health experts around the world. Dr. Karesh also serves on the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Health Regulations Roster of Experts focused on the human-animal interface and wildlife health. Currently, Dr. Karesh is the EPT Partner Liaison for the USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT-2 program, a >$120 million effort focused on predicting and preventing pandemic diseases. He is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Early investigations into SARS-CoV-2 emergence and the resulting COVID-19 disease outbreak proposed the proximate cause was a zoonotic spillover event in late November or early December 2019 in Wuhan, China. This was supported by preliminary epidemiological studies, including the initial clinical series which linked two-thirds of the identified cases to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. Critically, the study found no direct connection to the market for 14 individuals, including the first known case of COVID-19, leaving open the possibility of alternate points of origin and infection. Additionally, virologic samples of wildlife in the Huanan market could not be linked to SARS-CoV-2, suggesting transmission at the market was downstream from the spillover event. Here we consider that SARS-CoV-2 may have already been circulating in the community prior to the identification of the Huanan Market cluster. This hypothesis is supported by emerging epidemiologic and phylogenetic evidence indicating that the virus emerged in southern China and may have already spread internationally, and adapted for efficient human transmission by the time it was detected in late December.
"The new virus revealed itself gradually in humans last December 2019, in Wuhan, and in January 2020 several Chinese laboratories, including SHI ZHENGLI - a Chinese virologist who researches SARS-like coronaviruses of bat origin. SHI ZHENGLI directs the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, WIV a biosafety level 4 laboratory located in Jiangxia District, Wuhan. Her lab sequenced wholly or partly the genomes of samples from different patients, including five complete genomes. SHI ZHENGLI and her colleagues made their announcement on January 23, 2020 that the virus found in those five patients was 96.2-per-cent identical to the bat coronavirus they had warned about three years earlier." [The 4% differences is thousands of genomes. The viruses were SIMILAR not identical and the virus was not an evolutionary cousin of CoV-19 nor could it cause disease in humans]. "By that time, the virus had been circulating in Wuhan for at least seven weeks, and three consequential misconceptions had been propagated, not just by political leaders but by hospital officials and the Chinese version of the C.D.C.:
That the outbreak had begun in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which famously sold much more than seafood;
That the virus wasn’t dangerous
That it didn’t pass from person to person.
"On the second and third points, there was disagreement by clinicians treating patients, such as Zhang Li, at Wuhan’s Jinyintan Hospital, who told the Wall Street Journal in late February, “I was on alert because this was a new pneumonia and because I’d dealt with SARS.” The misconception that the market was the origin of the outbreak is implicitly contradicted by a scientific paper published in late January 2020, by a group of physicians from Wuhan and Beijing, describing clinical features of the first forty-one patients. Twenty-seven of them, the paper said, had been exposed in the Huanan market. Since a single horseshoe bat would be unlikely to infect twenty-seven people, even if they diced it into hors d’œuvres, and since by some accounts bats weren’t even on sale in the market at that time, a few scientists have speculated that there was an intermediate host animal—a snake, a pangolin, a palm civet?—in which the virus amplified itself, before that larger creature was sold or butchered. The molecular evidence for snakes is weak, pangolins are a complicated story, and civets aren’t implicated this time."
"An American physician and scholar Daniel R. Lucey (who had also worked the SARS outbreak, in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Toronto) wondered about the fourteen other early patients. He noticed that the first of them, falling sick on December 1, 2019 had no direct or secondary contact with the market. That meant, given the incubation period, that the virus must have been circulating in Wuhan outside the market since November 2020. This doesn’t controvert the likelihood of the virus originating in a bat, but it suggests that perhaps it went into the Huanan market, as well as coming out of it, in humans." SARS-CoV-2 is a subtle bug."
"The logic seems straightforward. But a more complete analysis of early cases suggests that locating the origin of the virus may not be so simple. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that of the first 425 patients, only 45 percent had connections to the market. A separate Jan. 24, 2020 analysis published in the Lancet found that three of the first four cases — including the first known case — did not have market links [and neither did 13 of the first 41 confirmed cases]."
Jan. 24, 2020 analysis published in the Lancet: "From Jan 10, 2020, we enrolled a family of six patients who travelled to Wuhan from Shenzhen between Dec 29, 2019 and Jan 4, 2020. Of six family members who travelled to Wuhan, five were identified as infected with the novel coronavirus. Additionally, one family member, who did not travel to Wuhan, became infected with the virus after several days of contact with four of the family members. None of the family members had contacts with Wuhan markets or animals, although two had visited a Wuhan hospital. Five family members (aged 36–66 years) presented with fever, upper or lower respiratory tract symptoms, or diarrhoea, or a combination of these 3–6 days after exposure. They presented to our hospital (The University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital, Shenzhen) 6–10 days after symptom onset. They and one asymptomatic child (aged 10 years) had radiological ground-glass lung opacities."
"Scientific American quotes Dr. Kevin Olival Vice President for Research at EcoHealth Alliance a group that has been implicated in funding the pandemic: "How and where the SARS-CoV-2 spillover occurred is not known for certain. There was an early suspicion that the initial outbreak could have started at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, which was closed on January 1 2020. But “we don’t know if the spillover happened outside the market and then began spreading after it was brought there,” says. It is also unclear if there was an intermediate animal host between the disease-carrying bats and humans." [Everything is unclear. ] Dr. Olival’s role as Senior Research Scientist at EcoHealth Alliance involves coordinating the modeling and analytics research; integrating evolutionary and ecological theories to understand the drivers of disease emergence; and managing zoonotic disease surveillance efforts in Thailand and Indonesia under the USAID PREDICT project.
In an effort to identify and respond to new zoonotic diseases before they spread to humans, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) established its Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program. The EPT program consists of four projects: PREDICT, RESPOND, IDENTIFY, and PREVENT. The PREDICT project seeks to identify new emerging infectious diseases that could become a threat to human health. PREDICT partners locate their research in geographic "hotspots" and focus on wildlife that are most likely to carry zoonotic diseases - animals such as bats, rodents, and nonhuman primates.
Despite referencing Scientific American and NEJM to show the virus didn't start at the market the Washington Post claimed it was doubtful the virus orginated at WEV. Why? "conspiracy theories." The Covid-19 Research Institute did not unearth any conspiracy to release the virus, instead it discovered evidence that the virus, which was created naturally in bats, altered using GAIN-OF-FUNCTION and/or RECOMBINANT techniques by microbiologists who made the virus more deadly and transmissible than previous SARS Corona virus and accidentally leaked. This genetic engineering also gave the virus the ability to allow it to transmit a plethora of diseases, evade detection and do a whole lot of other things viruses found in nature don't do.
A shrimp vendor Wei Guixian in the Wuhan Market was first thought to be patient zero. Wei claimed she got the disease from a dirty toilet seat used by a meat vendor, not from eating uncooked bats. In the United States the story was spread by the Wall Street Journal but it originated in China in a publication called The Paper. The NYT reported: "The Paper is different from BuzzFeed, Vice and other digital voices that have risen up to challenge traditional media: It is overseen by the Chinese Communist Party, prospering at a time when China’s leaders are increasingly restricting what their people read and watch."
According to a statement from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission on December 31, Ms Wei was one of the first 27 patients diagnosed with COVID-19, and one of the 24 cases who had direct links to the Huanan Market but not patient ZERO whose identity has not been revealed. Dr. Wu Wenjuan, who treated patient ZERO said he lived four or five bus stations from the market which really tells us nothing. For all we know patient ZERO could have lived next door to WIV or worked there disposing of biohazardous waste.
When asked whether the first diagnosed elderly person has any relatives related to the Wuhan Virus Research Institute or the South China Seafood Market, Director Wu Wenjuan of Jinyintan Hospital said that he cannot "conclude" now. Obviously, we cannot have any definite judgment before there is no conclusive evidence. The Wuhan Municipal Health and Health Commission once pointed out in a circular that the first new coronary pneumonia case occurred on December 8 last year, but an international authoritative medical journal "The Lancet" (The Lancet) published on January 24 by the new crown The paper written by Huang Zhaolin, deputy director of Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital and other patients with severe pneumonia, pushed the onset time of the first patient to December 1st. The paper was written by nearly 30 researchers from Chinese medical institutions, and a large number of them are working on the front line of treating new coronary patients. Dr. Wu Wenjuan, director of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Jinyintan Hospital and one of the authors of the above-mentioned paper, disclosed to the BBC on Monday (February 17) that the patient who developed on December 1 was a patient over 70 years old man. The time of onset on December 1 was the conclusion drawn from the recall of comprehensive family members through an epidemiological survey. This patient has a little cerebral infarction and Alzheimer's disease, and the condition is very bad when he is delivered," Wu Wenjuan said. She refused to disclose the patient's last name. It is reported that after the onset of the disease, the patient was first sent to another hospital in Wuhan, but as the condition deteriorated, he was transferred to Jinyintan Hospital on December 29. At that time, Huang Chaolin and Wu Wenjuan were on the scene. Wu Wenjuan said that the old man had been sick at home before and had not been to the South China Seafood Market, which is a trading market in Wuhan selling seafood and game products. As a large number of merchants in this market became ill at the beginning of the outbreak, it was once considered as the origin of the outbreak. "He lives far away from the four or five stations (bus stops) of the seafood market," Wu Wenjuan said. "And because he is sick, he basically doesn't go out."According to a paper published in The Lancet, none of the family members of the old man developed fever or respiratory symptoms after the onset of illness, and no epidemiological links were found between him and subsequent patients. Only 10 days after his onset, three other people had symptoms, and two of them had no history of exposure to the South China Seafood Market. For this patient who has been at home for a long time and has never been to the South China Seafood Market, why can he be infected with this newly discovered virus? Is there any other way of infection? Wu Wenjuan did not respond directly. "What you are asking is exactly the direction of our next research," she said. But what is obvious is that this is in conflict with the widespread assumption that the epidemic is caused by wild animals directly spreading the virus to the seafood market in South China.
GAIN OF FUNCTION research is when scientists purposefully cause mutations that give viruses new abilities in an attempt to better understand the pathogen. Flu viruses are basically eight pieces of RNA wrapped up in a ball. To create the gain-of-function mutations, the research used a DNA template for each piece, called a plasmid. Making a single mutation in the plasmid is easy and it's commonly done in genetics labs. If you insert all eight plasmids into a mammalian cell, they hijack the cell's machinery to create flu virus RNA. "Now you can start to assemble a new virus particle in that cell," Ron Fouchier, who created an Avian Flu virus that could infect humans, says. One infected cell is enough to grow many new virus particles — from one to a thousand to a million; viruses are replication machines. And because they mutate so readily during their replication, the new viruses have to be checked to make sure it only has the mutations the lab caused. The virus then goes into the ferrets, passing through them to generate new viruses until, on the 10th generation, it infected ferrets through the air. By analyzing the virus's genes in each generation, they can figure out what exact five mutations lead to H5N1 bird flu being airborne between ferrets. And, potentially, people. The potential for the modified H5N1 strain to cause a human pandemic if it ever slipped out of containment has sparked sharp criticism and no shortage of controversy. Rutgers molecular biologist Richard Ebright summed up the far end of the opposition when he told Science that the research "should never have been done." "When I first heard about the experiments that make highly pathogenic avian influenza transmissible," says Philip Dormitzer, vice president and chief scientific officer of viral vaccines at Pfizer, "I was interested in the science but concerned about the risks of both the viruses themselves and of the consequences of the reaction to the experiments."
In 2014, in response to researchers' fears and some lab incidents, the federal government imposed a moratorium on all GOF research, freezing the work. https://www.freethink.com/articles/gain-of-function-mutation
"The question is whether benefits of such research outweigh risks. The answer is not simple. A highly pathogenic bird flu virus transmissible in humans could arise in ways not predicted by laboratory studies. And it is not clear whether this laboratory virus would behave in humans as it does in ferrets. Nonetheless, new data provide valuable insights that can inform influenza preparedness and help delineate the principles of virus transmission between species.Given these uncertainties, important information and insights can come from generating a potentially dangerous virus in the laboratory. While the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention provide excellent public health surveillance for novel influenza strains, influenza outbreaks still occur suddenly and in unexpected places. The recent H1N1 pandemic exemplifies the problem: In 2009, a new influenza virus emerged. It was shown to have originated from an animal reservoir, and it spread so rapidly that it strained the pharmaceutical industry’s capacity to prepare vaccines fast enough to blunt its spread. We do not fully understand the underlying factors that allow influenza viruses to be transmitted efficiently in humans after they emerge from different species. The ferret transmission studies were intended in part to fill these important gaps in knowledge. Understanding the biology of influenza virus transmission has implications for outbreak prediction, prevention and treatment. In defining the mutations required for mammalian transmission, public health officials are provided with genetic signatures that, like fingerprints, could help scientists more readily identify newly emergent, potentially harmful viruses, track their spread and detect threatening outbreaks. The ability to identify such viruses even a few months faster than by conventional surveillance provides critical time to slow or stop an outbreak. For example, the CDC implements public health protective measures and stockpiles antiviral drugs. Identifying threatening viruses can also facilitate the early stages of manufacturing vaccines that protect against such a virus in advance of an outbreak. In addition, determining the molecular Achilles’ heel of these viruses can allow scientists to identify novel antiviral drug targets that could be used to prevent infection in those at risk or to better treat those who become infected. Decades of experience tells us that disseminating information gained through biomedical research to legitimate scientists and health officials provides a critical foundation for generating appropriate countermeasures and, ultimately, protecting the public health."
"One of the goals of pandemic influenza research is to recognize and anticipate how viruses are evolving in the wild toward a phenotype that is dangerous to humans, thereby staying one step ahead of potential pandemics. In this regard, compelling research questions relevant to global health and pandemic preparedness include determining whether highly pathogenic viruses, such as H5N1, have the ability to mutate and/or reassort with another influenza virus to become readily transmissible by the airborne route among humans. If so,
"Within this context, global attention has been paid recently to two NIH-funded studies of H5N1 transmissibility and pathogenesis in ferrets. In those studies, H5N1 viruses were made transmissible via respiratory droplets among ferrets by engineering the virus; well-described and published protocols including reverse genetics, reassortment, and passaging of viruses in mammals were used. Manuscripts describing the studies have generated an unprecedented degree of discussion, concern, and disagreement among scientists, as well as the public, regarding whether the experiments should have been performed in the first place and whether they should be published in their entirety. Major sources of concern have been that the results might be used by bioterrorists to harm the public or that the virus might accidentally escape and cause a pandemic."
"However, whenever one deliberately manipulates a virus or a microbe, it is always possible, at least theoretically, that the research results could be used by bioterrorists to intentionally cause harm, or that an accidental release of a pathogen from a laboratory could inadvertently cause harm. Such research is referred to as “dual-use research,” as the research potentially has both positive and negative applications. A particular subset of dual-use research is referred to as “dual-use research of concern” or DURC. DURC is defined as life sciences research that, on the basis of current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that can be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security (6). If a particular experiment is identified as DURC, that designation does not inherently mean that such research should be prohibited or not widely published. However, it does call for us to balance carefully the benefit of the research to public health, the biosafety and biosecurity conditions under which the research is conducted, and the potential risk that the knowledge gained from such research may fall into the hands of individuals with ill intent. Research that could enhance the transmissibility of H5N1 viruses clearly is DURC."
"In this regard, the question of whether to publish the two H5N1 studies in ferrets has been intensively discussed by an independent federal advisory committee known as the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB). On the basis of their recommendations and other evaluations, the U.S. government agreed that the research is important for the public health and should be published. However, important lessons were learned along the way and, appropriately, triggered an examination of our approach concerning the conduct, oversight, and communication of DURC. In this regard, the U.S. government announced on 29 March 2012 the U.S. Government Policy for Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern. This policy document outlines, for federal departments and agencies that conduct or fund life sciences research, steps to determine whether projects fall under the definition of DURC, to assess the risks and benefits of these projects, to review them regularly, and to develop risk mitigation plans. In the process of weighing the potential risks and benefits of publishing these two manuscripts, it also became clear that, when possible, it is critical to identify research with DURC potential before the initiation of the project and, certainly, before the results are submitted for publication. Such monitoring in the case of NIH-funded research requires the concerted effort of all involved, including scientists applying for or in receipt of NIH funding and NIH program officials. Additional guidelines will be needed as well to assist biosafety committees in evaluating DURC at the institutions where the research is conducted. Benefits and Risks of Influenza Research: Lessons Learned ANTHONY S. FAUCI, Francis S. Collins Science 22 Jun 2012: Vol. 336, Issue 6088, pp. 1522-1523 DOI: 10.1126/science.1224305."
"The World Health Organization has expressed concern that US attempts to block publication of aspects of recent research on the H5N1 avian influenza virus may undermine an international agreement on sharing information on the virus. The research relates to genetic mutations that might increase the virus’s risk of transmission to humans. WHO raised its concerns in a statement released on 30 December 2011 and urged that information gathered through such research be shared in the manner delineated in its pandemic influenza preparedness (PIP) framework which came into effect in May 2011."
"GAIN-OF-FUNCTION studies, or research that improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease, help define the fundamental nature of human-pathogen interactions, thereby enabling assessment of the pandemic potential of emerging infectious agents, informing public health and preparedness efforts, and furthering medical countermeasure development. Gain-of-function studies may entail biosafety and biosecurity risks; therefore, the risks and benefits of gain-offunction research must be evaluated, both in the context of recent U.S. biosafety incidents and to keep pace with new technological developments, in order to determine which types of studies should go forward and under what conditions. In light of recent concerns regarding biosafety and biosecurity, effective immediately, the U.S. Government (USG) will pause new USG funding for gain-of-function research on influenza, MERS or SARS viruses, as defined below. This research funding pause will be effective until a robust and broad deliberative process is completed that results in the adoption of a new USG gain-of-function research policy. Restrictions on new funding will apply as follows: New USG funding will not be released for gain-of-function research projects that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals via the respiratory route. The research funding pause would not apply to characterization or testing of naturally occurring influenza, MERS, and SARS viruses, unless the tests are reasonably anticipated to increase transmissibility and/or pathogenicity."
"As this report was being finalized, CDC leadership was made aware that earlier this year a culture of lowpathogenic avian influenza was unintentionally cross-contaminated at a CDC influenza laboratory with a highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of influenza and shipped to a BSL-3, select-agent laboratory operated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The CDC influenza laboratory where this incident occurred is now closed and will not reopen until adequate improvements are put in place. Although CDC is continuing to investigate and review this matter, Attachment A provides current information on the incident and the agency's response." [COMMENT: Most of these accidents involved the shipment of live anthrax bacteria initially believed to be inactivated exposed lab technicians to contamination.]
It is possible for viruses to escape from a laboratory by infecting a worker. In the early 2000s, there were three documented cases of the original SARS virus escaping from a laboratory environment, according to Lim Poh Lian, a senior consultant at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in Singapore. In the case of a 2003 incident in Singapore, a student became infected with SARS after his samples of West Nile virus were cross-contaminated with live SARS virus. That virus was being grown in relatively large quantities in the lab for studies on the disease, and the student was not properly trained in safety procedures for the lab he was working in. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/04/23/841729646/virus-researchers-cast-doubt-on-theory-of-coronavirus-lab-accident
Mother Jones: "The modern era of pathogen releases can be said to have begun in 1973 in England, when a lab assistant working with smallpox infected herself and spread it to three others, two of whom died. Four years later, smallpox was almost officially eradicated from the wild, yet the following year a medical photographer at Birmingham Medical School mysteriously died of the disease. It turned out that researchers in another part of the building were experimenting with smallpox, and the virus most likely reached the photographer through the ventilation system.
The Soviets got their moment in 1979, when a cloud of anthrax spores escaped a secret bioweapons lab when an air filter wasn’t properly replaced after maintenance. The spores killed at least 66 people in the adjacent town of Sverdlovsk. The Soviets aggressively denied it, but American intelligence was suspicious. The incident was only confirmed in 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union, when President Boris Yeltsin invited an independent team of scientists to investigate. Using 2010 data from the CDC, one expert estimated that somewhere in the United States, “a breach of containment happens about twice weekly.” Some have involved deadly agents including anthrax, avian flu, and Ebola. Most incidents are minor, but not all. Take two examples at lower-risk labs: In 2009, a researcher at the University of Chicago died after being infected by a weakened strain of plague. In 2012, a postdoc at San Francisco’s VA Medical Center came down with meningitis from his lab. While having dinner with friends, he began to feel dizzy. The next day, he was covered in a rash and was taken to the hospital, where he died.
"The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded bat-coronavirus research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China to the tune of US$3.7 million, a recent article in the British newspaper Daily Mail revealed. Back in October 2014, the US government had placed a federal moratorium on gain-of-function (GOF) research – altering natural pathogens to make them more deadly and infectious – as a result of rising fears about a possible pandemic caused by an accidental or deliberate release of these genetically engineered monster germs. Like so much of the British tabloid journalism this is only half true. The funding went to an intermediate organization known as ECOHEALTH ALLIANCE. A portion of $3.7 million in grants awarded between 2014 and 2019 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to EcoHealth Alliance, a global environmental health nonprofit organization, helped fund research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. However, not all of that $3.7 million went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and not all of the funding took place under the Obama administration. Approximately $700,000 of the $3.7 million total was approved under Donald Trump."
The Lancet: "On Dec 19, 2017, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that they would resume funding gain-of-function experiments involving influenza, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. A moratorium had been in place since October, 2014. At the time, the NIH had stated that the moratorium “will be effective until a robust and broad deliberative process is completed that results in the adoption of a new US Government gain-of-function research policy”. This process has now concluded. It was spearheaded by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) and led to the development of a new framework for assessing funding decisions for research involving pathogens with enhanced pandemic potential. The release of the framework by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), of which NIH is part, signalled the end of the funding pause." Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. Director, National Institutes of Health."
"The Education Department has asked the University of Texas System to provide documentation of its dealings with the Chinese laboratory U.S. officials are investigating as a potential source of the coronavirus pandemic. The request for records of gifts or contracts from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its researcher SHI ZHENGLI known for her work on bats, is part of a broader department investigation into possible faulty financial disclosures of foreign money by the Texas group of universities. As one of the nation's 14 Bio Safety Level 4 laboratories, the Galveston National Laboratory at UTMB belongs to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Biodefense Laboratory Network. It has collaborated with more than 70 countries and with scientists from the U.S. and abroad on biosafety and biosecurity, as part of its broad mission to advance global scientific collaboration. While it receives no financial support or gifts from global scientific laboratories, UTMB complies with obligations to report fiduciary relationships as required by statute." O'Keeffe, Wall Street Journal 5/1/2020
"The Office of the Director (OD) determines Institute programs, plans, and policies and provides management, program analysis, and scientific program reporting services to the Institute, as well as scientific leadership, policy guidance, and overall operational and administrative coordination. The OD serves as the chief liaison with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) director, other components of of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), other federal agencies, Congress, professional societies, voluntary health organizations, and other public health groups. It also coordinates the activities of NIAID extramural and intramural divisions.
NOVEMBER 2015 "Utilizing the SARS-CoV infectious clone, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus [a genetic chimerism or chimera is a single organism composed of cells with more than one distinct genotype] expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse adapted SARS-CoV backbone. The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild type backbone can efficiently utilize multiple ACE2 [Nearly 20 years ago, when a different coronavirus struck, Michael Farzan and his team figured out how it was getting into human cells: targeting a specific receptor called ACE2 found on certain cells] receptor orthologs, [orthologs are genes in different species that evolved from a common ancestral gene by speciation, and, in general, orthologs retain the same function during the course of evolution] replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells, and achieve in vitro titers [the concentration of an antibody, as determined by finding the highest dilution at which it is still able to cause agglutination [the clumping together in suspension of antigen-bearing cells in the presence of specific antibodies]] of the antigen] equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV. Additionally, in vivo experiments demonstrate replication of the chimeric virus in mouse lung with notable pathogenesis. Evaluation of available SARS-based immune-therapeutic and prophylactic modalities revealed poor efficacy; both monoclonal antibody and vaccine approaches failed to neutralize and protect from CoVs utilizing the novel spike protein. Importantly, based on these findings, we synthetically rederived an infectious full length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro and in vivo. Together, the work highlights a continued risk of SARS-CoV reemergence from viruses currently circulating in bat populations."
"....While offering preparation against future emerging viruses, this approach must be considered in the context of the US government-mandated pause on GAIN-OF FUNCTION (GOF) studies. Based on previous models of emergence the creation of chimeric viruses like SHC014-MA15 was not expected to increase pathogenicity. However, while SHC014-MA15 is attenuated relative to parental mouse adapted, equivalent studies examining the wild-type Urbani spike within the MA15 backbone produced no weight loss and replication attenuation. As such, relative to the Urbani Spike-MA15 CoV, SHC014 MA15 constitutes a gain in pathogenesis. Based on these findings, review panels may deem similar studies too risky to pursue as increased pathogenicity in mammalian models cannot be excluded. Coupled with restrictions on mouse adapted strains and monoclonal antibodies generated against escape mutants, research into CoV emergence and therapeutic efficacy may be severely limited moving forward. Together, these data and restrictions represent a crossroads of GAIN-OF-FUNCTION research concerns; the potential to prepare and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens. In developing policies moving forward, it is important to consider the value of the data generated by these studies and if they warrant further study or the inherent risks involved. ..Reported studies were initiated after the University of North Carolina Institutional Biosafety Committee approved the experimental protocol: Project Title: Generating infectious clones of Bat SARS-like CoVs; Lab Safety Plan ID: 20145741; Schedule G ID: 12279. These studies were initiated prior to the U.S. Government Deliberative Process Research Funding Pause on Selected Gain of Function Research Involving Influenza, MERS, and SARS Viruses and the current manuscript has been reviewed by the funding agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Continuation of these studies have been requested and approved by NIH. "https://www.med.unc.edu/orfeome/files/2018/03/a-sars-like-cluster-of-circulating-bat-coronaviruses-shows-potential-for-human-emergence.pdf http://www.phe.gov/s3/dualuse/Documents/gain-of-function.pdf,
"Editors’ note, March 2020: We are aware that this story is being used as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 was engineered. There is no evidence that this is true; scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus. November 20, 2015 In the version of this article initially published online, the authors omitted to acknowledge a funding source, USAID-EPT-PREDICT funding from EcoHealth Alliance, to Z.-L.S. The error has been corrected for the print, PDF and HTML versions of this article."
"Declan Butler November 12, 2015 An experiment that created a hybrid version of a bat coronavirus — one related to the virus that causes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) — has triggered renewed debate over whether engineering lab variants of viruses with possible pandemic potential is worth the risks. In an article published in Nature Medicine1 on November 9, 2015, scientists investigated a virus called SHC014, which is found in horseshoe bats in China. The researchers created a chimaeric virus, made up of a surface protein of SHC014 and the backbone of a SARS virus that had been adapted to grow in mice and to mimic human disease. The chimaera infected human airway cells — proving that the surface protein of SHC014 has the necessary structure to bind to a key receptor on the cells and to infect them. It also caused disease in mice, but did not kill them. Although almost all coronaviruses isolated from bats have not been able to bind to the key human receptor, SHC014 is not the first that can do so. In 2013, researchers reported this ability for the first time in a different coronavirus isolated from the same bat population. The findings reinforce suspicions that bat coronaviruses capable of directly infecting humans (rather than first needing to evolve in an intermediate animal host) may be more common than previously thought, the researchers say. But other virologists question whether the information gleaned from the experiment justifies the potential risk. Although the extent of any risk is difficult to assess, Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, points out that the researchers have created a novel virus that “grows remarkably well” in human cells. “If the virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory,” he says. CREATION OF A CHIMAERA The argument is essentially a rerun of the debate over whether to allow lab research that increases the virulence, ease of spread or host range of dangerous pathogens — what is known as ‘gain-of-function’ research. In October 2014, the US government imposed a moratorium on federal funding of such research on the viruses that cause SARS, influenza and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome, a deadly disease caused by a virus that sporadically jumps from camels to people). The latest study was already under way before the US moratorium began, and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) allowed it to proceed while it was under review by the agency, says Ralph Baric, an infectious-disease researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a co-author of the study. The NIH eventually concluded that the work was not so risky as to fall under the moratorium, he says. But Wain-Hobson disapproves of the study because, he says, it provides little benefit, and reveals little about the risk that the wild SHC014 virus in bats poses to humans."
"Other experiments in the University of North Carolina study show that the virus in wild bats would need to evolve to pose any threat to humans — a change that may never happen, although it cannot be ruled out. Baric and his team reconstructed the wild virus from its genome sequence and found that it grew poorly in human cell cultures and caused no significant disease in mice. “The only impact of this work is the creation, in a lab, of a new, non-natural risk,” agrees RICHARD EBRIGHT, a molecular biologist and biodefence expert at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. Both Ebright and Wain-Hobson are long-standing critics of gain-of-function research. In their paper, the study authors also concede that funders may think twice about allowing such experiments in the future. "Scientific review panels may deem similar studies building chimeric viruses based on circulating strains too risky to pursue," they write, adding that discussion is needed as to "whether these types of chimeric virus studies warrant further investigation versus the inherent risks involved”.
Yang XL1, Hu B1, Wang B1, Wang MN1, Zhang Q1, Zhang W1, Wu LJ1, Ge XY1, Zhang YZ2, PETER DASZAK P3, Wang LF4, SHI ZHENGLI ZL5 Author information [All worked at Wuhan Institute of Virology] Journal of Virology, Dec 29, 2015, 90(6):3253-3256 DOI: 10.1128/JVI.02582-15 PMID: 26719272 PMCID: PMC4810638 NIAID NIH HHS (2)? Grant ID: R01 / AI110964 19 publications Grant ID: R01AI110964 3 publications Google search of Grant ID: R01AI110964 takes us to NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Dr. FAUCI)
"We report the isolation and characterization of a novel bat coronavirus which is much closer to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in genomic sequence than others previously reported, particularly in its S gene. Cell entry and susceptibility studies indicated that this virus can use ACE2 as a receptor and infect animal and human cell lines. Our results provide further evidence of the bat origin of the SARS-CoV and highlight the likelihood of future bat coronavirus emergence in humans." We recently isolated a bat SL-CoV-1 strain (WIV1) and constructed an infectious clone of another strain (SHC014); significantly, these strains are closely related to SARS-CoV and capable of using the same cellular receptor (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 [ACE2]) as SARS-CoV-1. Despite the high similarity in genomic sequences and receptor usage of these two strains, there is still some difference between the N-terminal domains of the S proteins of SARS-CoV-1 and other SL-CoVs, indicating that other unknown SL-CoV-1s are circulating in bats."
MAY 13, 2020: Two Wuhan Institute of Virology scientists, Xing-Yi Ge and Zhengli-Li Shi, use reverse genetics to generate a chimeric virus (one that has been created by combining cells of more than one distinct genotype) closely resembling the novel coronavirus Covid-19: “On the basis of these findings, we synthetically re-derived an infectious full-length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro and in vivo.” The Nature Medicine article also mentions, “Human lungs for HAE cultures were procured under University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institutional Review Board–approved protocols.”
"Abstract The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic started in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has since impacted a large portion of China and raised major global concern. Herein, we investigated the extent of molecular divergence between SARS-CoV-2 and other related coronaviruses. Although we found only 4% variability in genomic nucleotides between SARS-CoV-2 and a bat SARS-related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV; RaTG13), the difference at neutral sites was 17%, suggesting the divergence between the two viruses is much larger than previously estimated. Our results suggest that the development of new variations in functional sites in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike seen in SARS-CoV-2 and viruses from pangolin SARSr-CoVs are likely caused by natural selection besides recombination. Population genetic analyses of 103 SARS-CoV-2 genomes indicated that these viruses had two major lineages (designated L and S), that are well defined by two different SNPs that show nearly complete linkage across the viral strains sequenced to date. We found that L lineage was more prevalent than the S lineage within the limited patient samples we examined. The implication of these evolutionary changes on disease etiology remains unclear. These findings strongly underscores the urgent need for further comprehensive studies that combine viral genomic data, with epidemiological studies of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
DISCUSSION In this study, we investigated the patterns of molecular divergence between SARS-CoV-2 and other related coronaviruses. Although the genomic analyses suggested that SARS-CoV-2 was closest to RaTG13, their difference at neutral sites was much higher than previously realized. Our results provide novel insights for tracing the intermediate natural host of SARS-CoV-2. With population genetic analyses of 103 genomes of SARS-CoV-2, we found that SARS-CoV-2 viruses had two major lineages (L and S lineages), and the two lineages were well defined by just two SNPs that show complete linkage across SARS-CoV-2 strains. The L lineage (~70%) was found to be more prevalent than the S lineage (~30%) in the SARS-CoV-2 viruses we examined, our evolutionary analyses suggested the S appeared to be more related to coronaviruses in animals. Since nonsynonymous sites are usually under stronger negative selection than synonymous sites, calculating sequence differences without separating these two classes of sites could lead to a potentially significant underestimate of the degree of molecular divergence. For example, although the overall nucleotides only differed by ~4% between SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13, the genomic average dS value, which is usually a neutral proxy, was 0.17 between these two viruses (Table 1). Of note, the genome-wide dS value is 0.012 between humans and chimpanzees , and 0.08 between humans and rhesus macaques . Thus, the neutral molecular divergence between SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13 is 14 times larger than that between humans and chimpanzees, and twice as large as that between humans and macaques. The genomic average dS value between SARS-CoV-2 and GD Pangolin-CoV is 0.469, which is comparable to that between humans and mice (0.5) , and the dS value between SARS-CoV-2 and GX Pangolin-Cov is even larger (0.722). The scale of these measures suggests that we should perhaps consider the difference in the neutral evolving site rather than the difference in all nucleotide sequences when tracing the origin and natural intermediate host of SARS-CoV-2. In this work, we propose that SARS-CoV-2 can be divided into two major lineages (L and S). Intriguingly, the S and L lineages can be clearly defined by just two tightly linked SNPs at positions 8,782 (orf1ab: T8517C, synonymous) and 28,144 (ORF8: C251T, S84L). orf1ab, which encodes replicase/transcriptase, is required for viral genome replication and might also be important for viral pathogenesis . Although the T8517C mutation in orf1ab does not change the protein sequence (it changes the codon AGT (Ser) to AGC (Ser)), it may affect orf1ab translation since AGT is preferred while AGC is unpreferred (Table S2). ORF8 promotes the expression of ATF6, the ER unfolded protein response factor, in human cells . Thus, it will be interesting to investigate the function of the S84L AA change in ORF8, as well as the combinatory effect of these two mutations in SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis. As previously noted , the data examined in this study are still very limited, and follow-up analyses of a larger set of data are needed to have a better understanding of the evolution and epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2.
If it could be proven that the virus mutated that would mean it was not artificial. Bloomberg Opinion: "Even for pandemic flu — a virus much more given to rapid change than the one that causes Covid-19 — a few months would be a short timeline for a widespread functional mutation. There isn't a clear-cut evolutionary case for a virus like SARS-CoV2, which has already managed to infect more than 6 million people and often causes mild symptoms, to quickly get milder. If anything, it seems more likely that it would be genetically stable.
"The corona virus that causes COVID-19, known as SARS-CoV-2, shares 96% of its genetic sequence with a virus found in bats. It is in the collection of viral genomes assembled during those studies that scientists have now found the bat virus closest to SARS-COV-2. A strain called RATG13 gathered in the same cave in Yunnan shares 96% of its genetic sequence with the new virus. RATG13 is not that virus’s ancestor. It is something more like its cousin. Edward Holmes, a virologist at the University of Sydney, estimates that the 4% difference between the two represents at least 20 years of evolutionary divergence from some common antecedent, and probably something more like 50." https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2020/05/02/the-pieces-of-the-puzzle-of-covid-19s-origin-are-coming-to-light
"Some of the speculation is based on an article the institute published in Nature in April 2018, saying it discovered a novel coronavirus originating from bats. In February this year, it published another article in Nature saying another novel coronavirus from bats was discovered, and the similarity between this virus and the Sars-CoV-2 is up to 96.2 per cent. “Actually, the virus mentioned in the 2018 article wasn’t SARS-CoV-2. The virus in the article mainly causes diarrhoea and death among piglets. It was later named SADS. The genome sequence of SADS is only 50 per cent similar to that of SARS-CoV-2. It’s a rather big difference,” Wang Yanyi said. The bat coronavirus that had a 96.2 per cent genomic similarity to Sars-CoV-2 was RaTG-13, Wang Yanyi said. “From the perspective of many non-professionals, the similarity rate of 96.2 per cent is a very high number. But coronavirus is one of the RNA viruses that have the largest genomes. “Take the SARS-CoV-2 for example. Its entire genome contains about 30,000 bases. The difference of a percentage of 3.8 means the difference of over 1,100 nucleotide positions. In the natural world, it takes a long period of time for a virus to naturally evolve and mutate to become Sars-CoV-2.”
Although the researchers identified the genome sequence of RaTG-13 they did not isolate nor obtain the live virus of RaTG-13 . “Thus, there is no possibility of us leaking RaTG-13 ,” Wang Yanyi said. Wang Yanyi said the institute now had three strains of live viruses, including one that was 96 per cent genomically similar to the SARS virus. But their highest similarity to SARS-CoV-2 was only 79.8 per cent, Wang Yanyi said.
This was a startling admission. If they had viruses 80% similar why not SARS-CoV-2?
May 2020: There is ongoing debate among policymakers and the general public about where SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, came from. While researchers consider bats the most likely natural hosts for SARS-CoV-2, the origins of the virus are still unclear. On May 10, 2020 in the journal Current Biology, researchers describe a recently identified bat coronavirus that is SARS-CoV-2's closest relative in some regions of the genome and which contains insertions of amino acids at the junction of the S1 and S2 subunits of the virus's spike protein in a manner similar to SAR-CoV-2. While it's not a direct evolutionary precursor of SARS-CoV-2, this new virus, RmYN02, suggests that these types of seemingly unusual insertion events can occur naturally in coronavirus evolution, the researchers say. "Since the discovery of SARS-CoV-2 there have been a number of unfounded suggestions that the virus has a laboratory origin," says senior author Weifeng Shi, director and professor at the Institute of Pathogen Biology at Shandong First Medical University in China. "In particular, it has been proposed the S1/S2 insertion is highly unusual and perhaps indicative of laboratory manipulation. Our paper shows very clearly that these events occur naturally in wildlife. This provides strong evidence against SARS-CoV-2 being a laboratory escape."
In 2004, according to Scientific American, a team from the WIV led by virologist SHI ZHENGLI began visiting caves in southern China, hoping to find the cause of SARS. They captured bats and took blood, saliva, and fecal samples, and tested the samples for viruses back in Wuhan. In 2009, the lab began working with PREDICT, a new program established at USAID to train and fund scientists to test “high-risk” areas for new viruses. By identifying unknown viruses before they spilled over into humans—to “find them before they find us,” as SHI ZHENGLI put it—researchers hoped to establish an early-warning system. PREDICT worked in dozens of countries, but the WIV was one of its linchpins, and SHI ZHENGLI became famous as China’s “Bat Woman.”
In 2013, the WIV discovered SARS-CoV, the cause of SARS, in a cave in Yunnan Province. SHI ZHENGLI team found that the bats of southern China were full of viruses, especially coronaviruses. Over 10 years, her team collected more than 10,000 samples from bats in the region and discovered hundreds of new coronaviruses, including some with the ability to infect humans. Many bats harbored multiple viruses, and there were alarming signs that the viruses were recombining with each other—swapping chunks of genetic code as they replicated, producing novel viruses with new abilities. “It is highly likely that future SARS- or MERS-like coronavirus outbreaks will originate from bats, and there is an increased probability that this will occur in China,” SHI ZHENGLI and her colleagues wrote in a 2019 paper that now seems chillingly prescient. “Therefore, the investigation of bat coronaviruses becomes an urgent issue for the detection of early warning signs.” “I had never expected this kind of thing to happen in Wuhan, in central China,” she told Scientific American. Wuhan is a skyscraper-filled metropolis of 11 million people hundreds of miles from the bat-friendly caves of southern China. Shi asked herself, “Could they have come from our lab?” SHI ZHENGLI described the next few weeks as the most stressful of her life. She frantically searched her lab’s records, looking for signs of an accident or inappropriate disposal, only relaxing once the genetic code of the new virus was sequenced and didn’t match the coronaviruses in her lab. “That really took a load off my mind,” she said. “I had not slept a wink for days.” Shi’s lab shouldn’t be completely cleared of possible blame until an independent body can review the lab’s records, which the Chinese government shows no signs of releasing. SHI ZHENGLI work at the time involved studying Corona viruses:
During the past two decades, three zoonotic coronaviruses have been identified as the cause of large-scale disease outbreaks–Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Swine Acute Diarrhea Syndrome (SADS). SARS and MERS emerged in 2003 and 2012, respectively, and caused a worldwide pandemic that claimed thousands of human lives, while SADS struck the swine industry in 2017. They have common characteristics, such as they are all highly pathogenic to humans or livestock, their agents originated from bats, and two of them originated in China. Thus, it is highly likely that future SARS- or MERS-like coronavirus outbreaks will originate from bats, and there is an increased probability that this will occur in China. Therefore, the investigation of bat coronaviruses becomes an urgent issue for the detection of early warning signs, which in turn minimizes the impact of such future outbreaks in China. The purpose of the review is to summarize the current knowledge on viral diversity, reservoir hosts, and the geographical distributions of bat coronaviruses in China, and eventually we aim to predict virus hotspots and their cross-species transmission potential.
In any case, while Shi’s comments were meant to be reassuring, they actually implied something unsettling. Most of us mistakenly believe that the risk of a biolab-based pandemic is infinitesimal. But clearly SHI ZHENGLI didn’t rule out an accidental escape from her lab. And, it turns out, she’s not alone. As much as biosecurity experts worry about nature as the source of the next pandemic, they also have grave concerns about labs.
The researchers identified RmYN02 from an analysis of 227 bat samples collected in Yunnan province, China, between May and October of 2019. "Since the discovery that bats were the reservoir of SARS coronavirus in 2005, there has been great interest in bats as reservoir species for infectious diseases, particularly as they carry a very high diversity of RNA viruses, including coronaviruses," SHI ZHENGLI says. RNA from the samples was sent for metagenomic next-generation sequencing in early January 2020, soon after the discovery of SARS-CoV-2. Across the whole genome, the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2 is another virus, called RaTG13, which was previously identified from bats in Yunnan province. But RmYN02, the virus newly discovered here, is even more closely related to SARS-CoV-2 in some parts of the genome, including in the longest encoding section of the genome called 1ab, where they share 97.2% of their RNA. The researchers note that RmYN02 does not closely resemble SAR-CoV-2 in the region of the genome that encodes the key receptor binding domain that binds to the human ACE2 receptor that SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect host cells. This means it's not likely to infect human cells. The key similarity between SARS-CoV-2 and RmYN02, is the finding that RmYN02 also contains amino acid insertions at the point where the two subunits of its spike protein meet. SARS-CoV-2 is characterized by a four-amino-acid insertion at the junction of S1 and S2; this insertion is unique to the virus and has been present in all SARS-CoV-2 sequenced so far. The insertions in RmYN02 are not the same as those in SARS-CoV-2, which indicates that they occurred through independent insertion events. But a similar insertion event happening in a virus identified in bats strongly suggests that these kinds of insertions are of natural origin. "Our findings suggest that these insertion events that initially appeared to be very unusual can, in fact, occur naturally in animal betacoronaviruses," SHI ZHENGLI says. "Our work sheds more light on the evolutionary ancestry of SARS-CoV-2," he adds. "Neither RaTG13 nor RmYN02 is the direct ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, because there is still an evolutionary gap between these viruses. But our study strongly suggests that sampling of more wildlife species will reveal viruses that are even more closely related to SARS-CoV-2 and perhaps even its direct ancestors, which will tell us a great deal about how this virus emerged in humans." Pure speculation of the part a scientist out to prove China was not responsible for this pandemic.
The researchers note that RmYN02 does not closely resemble SARS-CoV-2 in the region of the genome that encodes the key receptor domain that binds to the human ACE2 receptor that the novel coronavirus uses to infect host cells. This means it's not likely to infect human cells, they said. The key similarity between SARS-CoV-2 and RmYN02 is the finding that RmYN02 also contains amino acid insertions at the point where the two subunits of its spike protein meet, according to the researchers. The viral spike protein mediates SARS-CoV-2 entry into host cells and harbors a S1/S2 cleavage site containing multiple arginine residues (multibasic) not found in closely related animal coronaviruses. However, the role of this multibasic cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 infection is unknown. Here, we report that the cellular protease furin cleaves the spike protein at the S1/S2 site and that cleavage is essential for S-protein-mediated cell-cell fusion and entry into human lung cells. Moreover, optimizing the S1/S2 site increased cell-cell, but not virus-cell, fusion, suggesting that the corresponding viral variants might exhibit increased cell-cell spread and potentially altered virulence. Our results suggest that acquisition of a S1/S2 multibasic cleavage site was essential for SARS-CoV-2 infection of humans and identify furin as a potential target for therapeutic intervention.
The fact that these CCP controlled scientists can only find a virus that resembles SARS-CoV-2 in nature and not the virus itself gives creedance to the possibility it was enhanced and artifical. All it proves is that there are viruses in bats closely resemble SARS-CoV-2. Until SARS-CoV-2 is discovered in animals the possibility remains open that it is laboratory escape or evolved warp speed within a human. A virus virtually identical to SARS-CoV-1 was found in the Himalayan, or masked, palm civet. It is related to the mongoose, resembles a large weasel and is a threatened species.
Initial phylogenetic analyses reveal that the SARS-CoV-1 in civets and humans actually come from two distant branches, but the SARS-CoV from civets during the incipient phase of the epidemic had 99.8% sequence similarity to the human SARS-CoV https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ame2.12017
“Our research has shown that the SARS coronavirus found in human victims is the same as the SARS coronavirus found in civet cats,” a paper quoted Wang Ming, an official from the Guangzhou Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, as saying. As research progressed horseshoes bats were blamed, however, the Chinese put an end the epidemic when they slaughters and boiled most of the civets in all of China.
"SARS-CoV-2 infection have caused global pandemic and claimed over 5,000,000 tolls1–4. Although the genetic sequences of their etiologic viruses are of high homology, the clinical and pathological characteristics of COVID-19 significantly differ from SARS5,6. Especially, it seems that SARS-CoV-2 undergoes vast replication in vivo without being effectively monitored by anti-viral immunity7. Here, we show that the viral protein encoded from open reading frame 8 (ORF8) of SARS-CoV-2, which shares the least homology with SARS-CoV among all the viral proteins, can directly interact with MHC-I molecules and significantly down-regulates their surface expression on various cell types. In contrast, ORF8a and ORF8b of SARS-CoV do not exert this function. In the ORF8-expressing cells, MHC-I molecules are selectively target for lysosomal degradation by an autophagy-dependent mechanism. As a result, CTLs inefficiently eliminate the ORF8-expressing cells. Our results demonstrate that ORF8 protein disrupts antigen presentation and reduces the recognition and the elimination of virus-infected cells by CTLs8. Therefore, we suggest that the inhibition of ORF8 function could be a strategy to improve the special immune surveillance and accelerate the eradication of SARS-CoV-2 in vivo...The discrepancy of ORF8 between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV could at least partially be responsible for specific COVID-19 clinical and pathological characteristics, which somehow behaves as a chronic viral infection."
"The genome of SARS-CoV-2 is comprised of ~30,000 nucleotides, sharing 79% sequence identity with SARS-CoV. Similar with SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 has four structure proteins: Spike (S), Envelope (E), Membrane (M), and Nucleocapsid (N)17,18. It also harbors some accessory proteins at its 3’ portion (Fig. 1A). Given that the function of almost all structural and non-structural viral proteins of SARS-CoV has been identified, we reasoned that the possible HIV-1 Nef- or Vpu-like function, if exist, would likely fall into the membrane-bound structural proteins or these 3’ accessory ORFs. Initially, we examined the SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins and these un-clarified ORFs for the possible anti-immunity function. Among them, we found that the overexpression of ORF8 in 293T cells indeed significantly down-regulated MHC I (HLA-A2) molecules."
"Source: Coronavirus Research News Feb 29, 2020 3 months ago Latest coronavirus research by a team of researchers from Nankai University in Tianjin lead by Professor Ruan Jishou, a prominent virologists and genomicist have discovered that the new SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease has a mutated gene that is found in HIV virus. It is this unique feature that sets it aside from the rest of the known coronaviruses. The study is published this week on Chinaxiv.org, a platform used by the Chinese Academy of Sciences to release scientific research papers before they have been peer-reviewed."
"These findings have huge implications on the potency of the coronavirus and also what it can cause in humans, not just the Covid-19 disease. Furthermore, the Covid-19 disease should never be compared to like the common cold or influenza virus as this new coronavirus is in a separate league of its own. Though it has not been peer reviewed, two other studies including one in Europe has confirmed the findings. The combined findings from the three studies indicates that because of the HIV-like mutations, its ability to bind with human cells could be as much as 1,000 times more potent that the initial SARS virus of 2003. The findings also indicate that the new SARS-CoV-2 has a ‘dual attack’ approach of binding to human cells. The first is via the ACE2 receptors found on human cell membranes and it’s a typical mode of most coronaviruses. (The new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has a plus 80 percent genomic matching to the previous SARS virus, hence it explains this property that it possesses) However it must be noted that the ACE2 protein does not occur in large quantities in healthy people, and this partly helped to limit the scale of the SARS outbreak of 2002/2003 which infected close to 8,000 people globally. As the findings of the new study indicates that the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has a mutated gene similarly found on the HIV virus, it is also able to attack human cells via the target called furin, which is an enzyme that works as a protein activator in the human body. Typically many proteins are inactive or dormant when they are produced and have to be “cut” at specific points to activate their various functions which furin does in the human cellular pathways. Professor Ruan Jishou and his team at Nankai University in Tianjin discovered this new property of the SARS-CoV-2 when they were doing genome sequencing of the new coronavirus found a section of mutated genes that did not exist in the original SARS virus, but were similar to those found in HIV. Professor Ruan Jishou told Thailand Medical News via a phone interview, “This finding suggests that 2019-nCoV coronavirus may be significantly different from the SARS coronavirus in the infection pathway and has the added potency of using the packing mechanisms of other viruses such as HIV.” The findings of the study reveal that the mutation can generate a structure known as a cleavage site in the new coronavirus’ spike protein. Typically, a virus uses the outreaching spike protein to hook on to the host cell, but normally this protein is inactive. The cleavage site structure’s role is to trick the human furin protein, so it will cut and activate the spike protein and cause a “direct fusion” of the viral and cellular membranes. The result findings show that when compared to the initial SARs mode of entry, this binding method is more than a 1,000 times efficient." http://www.chinaxiv.org/abs/202002.00082
"Another research conducted also this month, by Professor Li Hua , another prominent virologist and genetic specialists, and his team from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, Hubei province, also confirmed Professor Ruan’s findings. The study indicated that the HIV-like gene found on the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was not detected on any of the other coronaviruses including the MERS, original SARS and even the Bat-CoVRaTG13, a bat coronavirus that was considered the original source of the new coronavirus with 96 per cent similarity in genes. Professor Li told Thailand Medical News,” This is maybe why the SARS-CoV-2 is more infectious than the other known coronaviruses.”
A European a study by French scientist professor Dr Etienne Decroly at Aix-Marseille University in France, which was published in the scientific journal Antiviral Research, also found a “furin-like cleavage site” that is absent in similar coronaviruses, thus confirming the initial findings as well. The new findings is bringing scientists and researchers towards understanding how the new coronavirus behaves and how it makes us ill plus helps in developing treatment protocols. Experts’ perception of the new coronavirus has changed dramatically over the past few weeks. The link to the furin enzyme could shed light on the coronavirus’ evolutionary history before it made the jump to humans. The mutation, which Professor Ruan’s team terms as an “unexpected insertion”, could come from many possible sources such as a coronavirus found in rats or even a species of avian flu."
NOBEL PRIZE WINNER LUC MONTAGNIER: THE VIRUS WAS CREATED IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE A VACCINE FOR AIDS
According to the crackpot professor Luc Montagnier, recipient of the Nobel prize in medicine in 2008 for his discovery of the human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) – the SARS-CoV-2 would have been engineered and contains some genes of HIV-1. “we came to the conclusion that there was manipulation around this virus. […] To a part but I do not say the total […] of the coronavirus of the bat, someone added sequences, in particular of HIV, the virus of AIDS. […] It is not natural. It’s the work of professionals, of molecular biologists. […] A very meticulous work.” However Professor Luc also believes bacteria and viruses give off electromagnetic waves which has not been proven and discredited him. https://21sci-tech.com/Articles_2011/Winter-2010/Montagnier.pdf
The part of the HIV-1 genome and the part of the SARS-CoV-2 genome that encode the two (different) glycoprotein envelopes are circa 90% similar. See for instance the differences between the SARS-CoV-2 and the HIV-1 isolate XJ16-6 glycoprotein envelope: While no proteinic sequence of HIV-1 is present in SARS-CoV-2, a tiny bit of the SARS-CoV-2 genome is in fact about 85% similar to a bit of the HIV-1 genome? This correspondence also appears in numerous other viruses. None-the-less crackpot or not his contentions are worth looking at:
Host: So what interests me this morning is that you are working right now on the virus..
Pr. Montagnier: I’m working on it, but not necessarily in the lab, since we mainly work on computers along with a colleague. We have no experiments, but the experience comes from the disease itself; from the measures that are made currently in labs and on patients
Host: And you came out with conclusions..
Pr. Montagnier: Well, we came to the conclusion that there has been a manipulation regarding this virus
Host: What do you mean?
Pr. Montagnier: In fact, part of the virus, not the whole, is manipulated. Well, the virus follows a classic model that comes from bats; but on top of this model they have added sequences of HIV, the AIDS virus.
Host: When you say “they have added”, you mean who?
Pr. Montagnier: Oh I don’t know!
Host: ..and it’s not natural.. this is what you mean?
Pr. Montagnier: No it’s not natural. It’s a lab work of professional molecular biologists. It’s a very accurate work.. we can say a work of watchmaker..
Host: But for what purpose?
Pr. Montagnier: Well for what purpose.. this is unclear. My job is to expose the facts. I accuse nobody. I don’t know who did it; neither why. The possibility is probably they wanted to make a vaccine against the Aids. So they took small sequences of the virus and they installed them on the larger sequence of the coronavirus
Host: So I’m not sure that I’m understanding all what you’re saying.. you mean that in this virus there’s a part of HIV?
Pr. Montagnier: You’re right. The genetic material of the virus is a long tape of RNA.. as in DNA but it’s RNA. On this tape; in a certain place of it, they have planted small sequences of HIV. And these sequences are not small for nothing; they have the possibility to modify what we call, for example, the antigens sites. This means that if we want to make a vaccine, we can modify the protein subject to the vaccine by a small sequence coming from another virus
Host 2: Some rumors said that it has a human origin but this was refuted by scientific authorities anyway
Pr. Montagnier: There’s a will to suppress the works on the subject. We are not the first. A group of renowned Indian researchers have published the same thing. But they forced them to retract it.
Host 2: They forced them in what way?
Pr. Montagnier: It has been cancelled. If you check their work you find a cancellation band.
Host 2: But most of scientists say the opposite of what you claim here.
Pr. Montagnier: Less and less. It just happened at the beginning of this year; and we see more and more works that suggest the same thing. I’m out of age and I’m a Nobel laureate so I can work freely; so no pressure can be exerted on me.
THE AUSTRALIAN STUDY: SPIKE PROTEIN OPTIMIZED TO BIND TO HUMAN ACE2
IN SILICO COMPARISON OF SPIKE PROTEIN-ACE2 BINDING AFFINITIES ACROSS SPECIES; SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE POSSIBLE ORIGIN OF THE SARS-COV-2 VIRUS
Sakshi Piplani1,2, Puneet Kumar Singh2 David A. Winkler3-6 Nikolai Petrovsky1,2* 1 College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Bedford Park 5046, Australia 2 Vaxine Pty Ltd, 11 Walkley Avenue, Warradale 5046, Australia 3 La Trobe University, Kingsbury Drive, Bundoora 3042, Australia 4 Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, Parkville 3052, Australia 5 School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD. UK 6 CSIRO Data61, Pullenvale 4069, Australia
ANOTHER POSSIBILITY WHICH STILL CANNOT BE EXCLUDED IS THAT SARSCOV-2 WAS CREATED BY A RECOMBINATION EVENT THAT OCCURRED INADVERTENTLY OR CONSCIOUSLY IN A LABORATORY HANDLING CORONAVIRUSES, WITH THE NEW VIRUS THEN ACCIDENTALLY RELEASED INTO THE LOCAL HUMAN POPULATION.
"Notably, this approach surprisingly revealed that the binding energy between SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and ACE2 was highest for humans out of all species tested, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is uniquely evolved to bind and infect cells expressing human ACE2. This finding is particularly surprising as, typically, a virus would be expected to have highest affinity for the receptor in its original host species, e.g. bat, with a lower initial binding affinity for the receptor of any new host, e.g. humans. However, in this case, the affinity of SARS-CoV-2 is higher for humans than for the putative original host species, bats, or for any potential intermediary host species. Although bats carry many coronaviruses including SARS-CoV, a relative of SARS-CoV-2, direct evidence for existence of SARS-CoV-2 in bats has not been found. As highlighted by our data, the binding strength of SARS-CoV-2 for bat ACE2 is considerably lower than for human ACE2, suggesting that even if SARS-CoV-2 did originally arise from a bat precursor it must later have adapted its spike protein to optimise its binding to human ACE2. There is no current explanation for how, when or where this might have happened. Instances of direct human infection by coronaviruses or other bat viruses is rare with transmission typically involving an intermediate host. For example, lyssaviruses such as Hendra are periodically transmitted from bats to horses and then to humans who contact the infected horse. Similarly, SARS-CoV was shown to be transmitted from bats to civet cats and from them to humans. To date, a virus identical to SARS-CoV-2 has not been identified in bats or any other non-human species, making its origins unclear. To date, the most closely related coronavirus to SARS-CoV-2, is the bat coronavirus, BatCoV RaTG1, which has 96% whole-genome identity to SARS-CoV-2. 50. The fact that SARS-CoV-2 has also not been found in any likely intermediate host raises questions of the origins of the original SARS-CoV-2." https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/2005/2005.06199.pdf
“We’re all wondering where this virus came from, and we can see from the new sequence and the sequences that we’ve already had for coronaviruses that it’s likely to be a recombinant of a number of different coronaviruses that are known,” says Racheal Roper She adds that this finding could help researchers understand how coronaviruses can jump into humans—2019-nCoV is the third to do so in the last 17 years. “This may continue, so the more we know about these the better.” “The authors talk about it transmitting finally to humans, but we don’t know that this is its final jump. It could transmit to cats or dogs and then circulate back to humans,” says Roper. “We were able to control and stop SARS because it didn’t get into any other animals. . . . Hopefully it won’t happen, but we shouldn’t assume that it’s just going to stop with us.”
GAIN-OF-FUNCTION MADE A COVID-19, THAT OCCURRED IN NATURE, MORE TRANSMITTABLE AND MORE LETHAL
One indication that this virus was enhanced by the Chinese scientists encouraged by DASZAK and FAUCI is that is doesn't act like any other virus did. It is far more deadly and causes many other symptons other than respiratory disease. It attacks children with a Kawasaki disease - an illness that causes inflammation (swelling and redness) in blood vessels throughout the body. It happens in three phases, and a lasting fever usually is the first sign. The condition most often affects kids younger than 5 years old. National Geographic reports on these weird symptoms but is afraid to even suggest they may be a result of Gain-of-Purpose experiments. Lynne Turner-Stokes, professor of rehabilitation medicine at King’s College, says Covid is a “multi-system disease” which can potentially affect any organ. It causes microvascular problems and clots. Lungs, brain, skin, kidneys and the nervous system may be affected. Neurological symptoms can be mild (headache) or severe (confusion, delirium, coma). Turner-Stokes says it’s uncertain why the illness is sometimes so protracted. One explanation is that the body’s immune system goes into overdrive, with an ongoing reaction. Another is that the symptoms are virus-driven. Either way, she says there can be a “recrudescence of symptomatology”. Or, as she also puts it using more colloquial language, “the whole caboodle comes back”.
National Geographic The Guardian
Thread— junes63 #NotMovingOn (@JuneSim63) May 17, 2020
This is my 5 yrs old great niece. She was fit & healthy until a mild bout of Covid19 5wks ago from which she appeared to recover.
She is now in ICU with a Kawasaki inflammatory response.
She is off the ventilator but has developed heart problems.1/#Marr #Ridge#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/AG9b7k4Sgn
There is a bidirectional relationship between Covid-19 and diabetes. On the one hand, diabetes is associated with an increased risk of severe Covid-19. On the other hand, new-onset diabetes and severe metabolic complications of preexisting diabetes, including diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolarity for which exceptionally high doses of insulin are warranted, have been observed in patients with Covid-19.1-3 These manifestations of diabetes pose challenges in clinical management and suggest a complex pathophysiology of Covid-19–related diabetes.
NPR: VIRUS IS TO DEADLY TO BE COMPUTER GENERATED
Regardless, genetic analysis shows the virus began to spread sometime in the fall or winter of 2019, says Robert Garry, a microbiologist at Tulane University. Those same analyses refuted an earlier theory that the virus was genetically engineered in a laboratory. Garry says the reason is simple — the virus infects people in a way that scientists had never seen before: "The virus is just really too good at what it's doing," he says. "No human using a computer could do this. This is very clearly a natural process that occurred." In addition, he says, there are no signs of human genetic modification in the virus's code. Although the exact route from nature to people remains a mystery, bats are the likely reservoir for the virus, says Simon Anthony, a researcher at Columbia University who specializes in emerging infectious diseases. Bats are believed to be the carriers of two other coronavirus diseases that can infect people: SARS, which was first identified in Asia in 2003, and MERS, which was first reported in the Middle East in 2012.
In general, SARS begins with a high fever (temperature greater than 100.4°F [>38.0°C]). Other symptoms may include headache, an overall feeling of discomfort, and body aches. Some people also have mild respiratory symptoms at the outset. About 10 percent to 20 percent of patients have diarrhea. After 2 to 7 days, SARS patients may develop a dry cough. Most patients develop pneumonia.
THE FRENCH STARTED THE WIV
In 2004, the Chinese and French governments signed a cooperation agreement on fighting and preventing new diseases, stressing the active cooperation between China and France in the construction of high-level biosafety laboratories and the system construction of biosafety laws and regulations etc. In order to implement the spirit of Sino-French agreement, in 2005, Wuhan Institute of Virology undertook the task of building a national biosafety laboratory of Wuhan, Chinese Academy of Sciences. With nearly 10 years of unremitting efforts, the laboratory completed the physical facilities in January 2015. In August 2016, it obtained the recognition and authentication certificate for the critical protection equipment installation and commissioning.
DEFENSE, EXTERNAL INTELLIGENCE (DGSE) AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS WERE STANDING AGAINST A PROJECT THAT COULD SERVE A MILITARY BACTERIOLOGICAL WEAPON PROGRAM.
At the time when it was launched by Jacques Chirac and his Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, in 2004, the P4 was at the heart of a showdown in France. Those in favor, politicians and scientists, said that China, which had barely emerged from SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), should be helped to defend itself against epidemics. But Defense, External Intelligence (DGSE) and Foreign Affairs were standing against a project that they believed could serve a military bacteriological weapon program. They suspected that Beijing would want to equip itself with five or seven P4 laboratories, including two for military purposes. "We knew the risks involved and thought that the Chinese would control everything and quickly eject us from the project. We believed that providing this cutting-edge technology to a country with an infinite power agenda risked exposing France in return, ”said a diplomat who followed the case closely. According to a high-ranking source, the project would also have provoked a crisis in Pasteur, where the Assembly of the Hundred, the parliament of the Institute, would have denounced the access authorized by the contract to some of its databases, before see the decision imposed by its management. " There were arguments, because China has a real medical problem with epidemics and France had an advantage in this technology very advanced. But the Chinese know how to copy and duplicate. And we thought the P4 would give China instruments if it ever wanted to start a biological weapons program, "said a senior diplomat, who was in strategic affairs at the time. French scholars played a big role in pushing the project. " There was a blindness of the scientific community which refused to see the reality of the Chinese system. Researchers believed that openness to capitalism would transform China into a normal country. It was to forget that it remained above all a Leninist state in which science is not independent but directed by the Communist Party ", explains Valérie Niquet, specialist in Asia at the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS). Since the start of the epidemic, the party and the state have been involved in research, manipulating dates and rewriting the history of the coronavirus.
On April 21, Le Figaro published an article "Investigation: How the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, exported by France, escaped all control" signed by Isabelle Lasserre. Some comments in the article are shocking. The Chinese Embassy in France wants to question them. She wrote in the article that: "On February 16, Chinese state media also reported deficiencies. They claimed in particular that researchers threw laboratory materials down the drain, after experimentation and without having subjected them to the specific treatment intended for biological discharges. They also pointed out that a certain number of researchers, to make ends meet, were selling laboratory animals which had undergone experiments on the markets of Wuhan. As anyone with common sense knows very well, a high-level laboratory is endowed with rigorous management systems and codes of conduct for scientific research, how is it possible that the basic faults described in the article appear? This is an extremely serious problem which seriously damages the reputation of Chinese research institutions and the national image of China. We ask the journalist to tell her readers specifically that her comments come from which media and which reports. Otherwise, they can only be considered as lies. The author of the text made many criticisms of the joint construction of the P4 laboratory in Wuhan by China and France. It is his personal opinion, in which the Embassy does not intervene. But the descriptions in the article are very likely to misinform readers, and do not promote mutual knowledge of the Chinese and French peoples and friendly cooperation between the two countries. The Chinese Embassy in France recommends the video of an interview given by Mr. Yuan Zhiming, Director of the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, on April 20 at CGTN. The author of the article could undoubtedly obtain useful information in this, which would help him to know the question concerned in a more complete and more precise way.
Yuan Zhiming: The core of the Wuhan BSL-4 Laboratory is surrounded by stainless-steel walls, forming a "box-within-a-box" structure. The core lab enclosure can ensure sufficient structural strength and tightness to form a static seal. The lab's dynamic seal uses negative pressure technology to ensure a strict and orderly pressure gradient between the functional areas, thereby effectively preventing any air contaminated by infectious pathogenic microorganisms from spreading to areas with low contamination probability and to the external environment.
Air emitted from the lab is filtered and discharged by two-stage high-efficiency filters to ensure the safety of the emissions. Waste water is discharged after high-temperature treatment in a sewage treatment system. Polluted waste in the lab is subjected to high-temperature and high-pressure treatment by double-door autoclaves, and then safely removed and delivered to a centralized medical waste disposal unit with corresponding qualifications for disposal. Whenever personnel pass through the entrance and exit channels, their positive pressure protective suits are chemically disinfected using the chemical showers to ensure the safety of the passageways. The above technical protection measures ensure that viruses inside the lab cannot escape.
Plum Island Reports Disease Outbreak By John Rather Aug. 22, 2004 THE Department of Homeland Security confirmed last week that the highly contagious foot-and-mouth virus had briefly spread within the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in two previously undisclosed incidents earlier this summer. A spokesman for the department, which took over the high-security laboratory from the Department of Agriculture in June 2003, said safety procedures had been stepped up and laboratory rooms disinfected after the incidents, which occurred on June 24 and July 19.
THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY (CCP) POLITICAL OPERATIVE AT WIV
Communism found a receptive home in mainland China as most of the people there, with some exceptions, have a similar genetic heritage which makes them into faceless robots who can churn out uniform products because of this genetic conformity. E.G. most have black hair and dark eyes. The WIV is run by Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee Changcai HE. HE was the chairman of the corporate trade union of Wuhan Branch from Jan. 2004 to Sep. 2013, and the Corporate Secretary of the Party at Wuhan Branch from Oct. 2005 to Jul. 2013. Since the Aug. of 2013, he has been the deputy director general of Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS. This CCP apparatchik runs the institute and if anyone steps out of line they are either imprisoned, sent to a "re-grooving" institute or killed.
CHICOM DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN
Academician Xi Chong Nanshan has already delivered a speech on TV. Wuhan New Coronavirus is not the true source of the virus. There are 5 new coronavirus series, ABCDE bat sleeve BAT (H52) and then mutates H53> The C family pathogens in China, with variants of C56 and MV2, spread throughout the world. But the United States had five major families of ABCDE two years ago, the US Government CDC (Center Disease of Control) Concealing the illness, when a military contest was held in Wuhan in November, two American soldiers went to the Wuhan Hospital in Hubei to catch a cold. It was the first hospital in Wuhan, China, which discovered a coronavirus transmission in early December (Golden Eagle) Tan Hospital and Wuhan Central Hospital). From this calculation, it should be that the US soldiers brought the virus into Wuhan in the Wuhan military competition, and the virus series H1 (referred to as the son) came to China. If China wants to check the origin of these two American blood sources, we can confirm the source. The US should have ABCDE two years ago (H13, H3, H1, H56, MV2) These five kinds of viruses have hundreds of pathogens in bats. Among them, the United States has mutated five kinds of pathogens. The United States has always been a stable fact. This is why the U.S. government is in a hurry to send them Americans back to the United States, and is afraid to find pathogens from Americans. In this way, the outbreak of the new coronavirus can rest on the Chinese. The viruses in the Middle East are MV2 and H56. No such virus has been detected in China. The seriously ill Iranians said that they had never been to China and had no Chinese friends, but had been to the United States. The world knows that many wealthy people in Middle Eastern countries buy properties in the United States, and their children are also studying in the United States. I am going to write this article today and spread it to the seven major media in the world. My title will read "Americans are the tumors of the world's viruses." The Washington Post published the title of the article last month, stating "Chinese are sick men of East Asia", the birthplace of the virus. I let the world see the hypocrisy, viciousness, loss of conscience, and the spread of the virus to people all over the world.
THE STATE DEPARTMENT CABLES INDICATE A LACK OF TRAINED TECHNICIANS AT WIV
“During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory, the researchers also showed that various SARS-like coronaviruses can interact with ACE2, the human receptor identified for SARS-coronavirus. This finding strongly suggests that SARS-like coronaviruses from bats can be transmitted to humans to cause SARS-like diseases. From a public health perspective, this makes the continued surveillance of SARS-like coronaviruses in bats and study of the animal-human interface critical to future emerging coronavirus outbreak prediction and prevention.” ( Jan. 19, 2018, DOS cable, drafted by two officials from the embassy’s environment, science and health sections who met with the WIV scientists.)
A report — obtained by the London-based NBC News Verification Unit — says there was no cellphone activity in a high-security portion of the Wuhan Institute of Virology from Oct. 7 through Oct. 24, 2019, and that there may have been a "hazardous event" sometime between Oct. 6 2019 and Oct. 11 2019. "Would be interesting if someone analyzed commercial telemetry data at & near Wuhan lab from Oct-Dec 2019," Marco Rubio tweeted. "If it shows dramatic drop off in activity compared to previous 18 months it would be a strong indication of an incident at lab & of when it happened."
Relying on the major science and technology infrastructure, this project aims to cultivate national high-level biosafety talents, to output significant scientific and technological breakthroughs and achievements, and to promote the scientific and technological support capabilities for biosafety and public health. According to the scientific and technological development programs of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), CAS, the Call Announcement 2020 of Advanced Customer Cultivation Project of Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, CAS is released. Please apply for the project accordingly. The specific contents are as below...The research achievements attained during the project implementation, including theses, monographs, patents, software and database etc. shall be marked with “Funded by Advanced Customer Cultivation Project of Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences”. Any achievements unmarked will not be counted in the assessment. Wuhan Institute of VirologyChinese Academy of Sciences Jan 15th, 2020
CHINA PREPARES ITSELF FOR THE PANDEMIC?
RECTIFICATION OF LAB THAT MAPPED GENOME
The Shanghai laboratory where researchers published the world’s first genome sequence of the deadly coronavirus that causes Covid-19 has been shut down. The laboratory at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre was ordered to close for “rectification” on January 12, 2020 a day after Professor Zhang Yongzhen’s team published the genome sequence on open platforms. It closed temporarily the following day.
WORLD LEADERS HAVE THEIR DOUBTS ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF THE VIRUS
“There are clearly questions that need to be answered about the origin and spread of the virus, not least so we can ensure that we are better prepared for future global pandemics. This work will need to be done with all of our international partners” - spokesman for UK prime minister Boris Johnson who contracted the virus.
POMPEO SAYS VIRUS WAS FROM LAB THEN WALKS IT BACK
“Sadly, we’re not much further than we were weeks and weeks ago,” Pompeo said when asked how the investigation is going. “The Chinese Communist Party has relentlessly deceived and denied information to the west. We have repeatedly asked to have teams go in and assist them to identify where the virus originated. We know it began in Wuhan, but we don’t know from where or from whom, and those are important things. Your listeners need to know. We still need to know that so we can break the code on this thing. One of the key facts for scientists and epidemiologists to build out vaccines and therapeutics and to identify how this was ultimately delivered to the world. You have to know where patient zero began and how patient zero became infected. Yet, the Chinese Communist Party has at every turn attempted to manage the World Health Organization to manage the information flow, to punish doctors who wanted to talk about this publicly, to undermine the central understandings of transparency that every country has a responsibility to deliver. As a result of that, we still have so many unanswered questions. We, the United States, the world, have so many unanswered questions that are incredibly important so we can address these issues going forward to keep the American people safe. This isn’t political. This isn’t aimed at achieving a political victory. It’s aimed squarely at getting the right health outcomes and saving lives across the world.”
"In early January, for example, China ordered samples of the virus to be destroyed, depriving the world of critical information. Even now, China continues to undermine the International Health Regulations by refusing to share accurate and timely data, viral samples and isolates, and by withholding vital information about the virus and its origins. And, to this day, China continues to deny international access to their scientists and relevant facilities, all while casting blame widely and recklessly and censoring its own experts...The World Health Organization has failed to publicly call on China to allow for an independent investigation into the origins of the virus, despite the recent endorsement for doing so by its own Emergency Committee. The World Health Organization's failure to do so has prompted World Health Organization member states to adopt the "COVID-19 Response" Resolution at this year's World Health Assembly, which echoes the call by the United States and so many others for an impartial, independent, and comprehensive review of how the World Health Organization handled the crisis. The resolution also calls for an investigation into the origins of the virus, which is necessary for the world to understand how best to counter the disease."
STILL HEAD OF WHO
This should not be taken as a sign that @WHO does not think the situation is serious. WHO is following this new #coronavirus outbreak every minute of every day, at country, regional and global level. I will not hesitate to reconvene the committee at a moment’s notice if needed.— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) January 23, 2020
I thank the Government of #China for its cooperation and transparency. The government has been successful in isolating and sequencing the virus very quickly, and has shared that genetic sequence with @WHO and the international community. #coronavirus— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) January 23, 2020
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION CULPABILITY
HEAD OF WHO IS MAOIST CHINESE AGENT OF INFLUENCE
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is an Ethiopian microbiologist and internationally recognized malaria researcher, who has served since 2017 as Director-General of the World Health Organization. Tedros is the first non-physician and first African in the role, who has been endorsed by the African Union. Born: March 3, 1965 (age 55 years), Asmara, Eritrea Nationality: Ethiopian Party: Tigray People's Liberation Front
Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) SUMMARY: The Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) is a political party in Tigray, Ethiopia that has been listed as a perpetrator in the Global Terrorism Database, based on ten incidents occurring between 1976 and 1990 (see GTD link). Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), also known as Popular revolution for the freedom of Tigray, Woyane, Weyane is an active group formed c. 1975. TRAC ANALYSIS: IDEOLOGY Separatist / New Regime Nationalist / Ethnic Nationalist, Left Wing Terrorist Groups (Maoist, Marxist, Communist, Socialist) TRAC ANALYSIS: TACTICS Attacks on Soft Targets, Assassinations as a Terrorist Tactic TRAC
"Much of the blame for WHO’s failures lies with Dr. Tedros, who is a politician, not a medical doctor. As a member of the left-wing Tigray People’s Liberation Front, he rose through Ethiopia’s autocratic government as health and foreign minister. After taking the director-general job in 2017, he tried to install Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe as a WHO goodwill ambassador. China inevitably gains more international clout as its economy grows. But why does WHO seem so much more afraid of Beijing’s ire than Washington’s? Only 12% of WHO’s assessed member-state contributions come from China. The U.S. contributes 22%. Americans at WHO generally are loyal to the institution, while Chinese appointees put Chinese interests first or they will suffer Beijing’s wrath. To avoid stigmatization against nation and race, the World Health Organization discourages the use of regions, countries, individuals, and animals on naming human infectious diseases and pathogens in its guidelines issued in 2015. The guidelines emphasize that viruses infect all people. That is to say, when an outbreak happens, everyone is at risk, regardless of his or her identity or location. The WHO on February 11 announced the name of the novel coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2 on social media to “prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said."
EARLY WHO REPORT
"Pneumonia of unknown cause – China Disease outbreak news 5 January 2020. On 31 December 2019, the WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China.According to the authorities, some patients were operating dealers or vendors in the Huanan Seafood market. Based on the preliminary information from the Chinese investigation team, no evidence of significant human-to-human transmission and no health care worker infections have been reported. Based on information provided by national authorities, WHO’s recommendations on public health measures and surveillance of influenza and severe acute respiratory infections still apply. WHO does not recommend any specific measures for travellers. In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share travel history with their healthcare provider. WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on China based on the current information available on this event."
WHO REPRESENTATIVE TO CHINA DURING EARLY PHASE OF PANDEMIC WAS EXPERT IN NONCOMMUNICABLE DISEASES
"Dr Gauden Galea Director of the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-course Mission. The Division aims to improve health in the WHO European Region by addressing the determinants, risks and consequences of chronic, noncommunicable conditions, by promoting mental and physical wellbeing across the life course, by the population-based prevention and clinical control of disease, and by preventing violence and injury. Biography: Dr Gauden Galea is a public health physician who has worked for WHO since 1998. He has held posts as regional adviser on noncommunicable diseases in the Western Pacific Region, and as coordinator of health promotion in WHO headquarters. Dr Galea has been Director of the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Health Promotion at WHO/Europe since January 2011. He has a special interest in health promotion, in the social determinants of noncommunicable diseases, and in the links between these diseases and the development agenda."
TRUMP PULLS USA OUT OF WHO
"The Chinese government has continually violated its promises to us and so many other nations these plain facts cannot be overlooked or swept aside. The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government. China's cover-up of the Wuhan virus allowed the disease to spread all over the world instigating a global pandemic that has cost more than 100,000 in American lives and over a million lives worldwide. Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities. Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe. They strongly recommended against me doing the early ban from China but I did it anyway it was proven to be 100% correct. China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying 40 million dollars per year compared to what the United States has been paying which is approximately 450 million dollars a year. We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engage with them directly but they have refused to act because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms. We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and serving urgent global public health needs. The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency. Why is it that China shut off infected people from Wuhan to all other parts of China. It went nowhere else. It didn't go to Beijing it went nowhere else but they allowed them to freely travel throughout the world including Europe and the United States. The death and destruction caused by this is incalculable. We must have answers not only for us but for the rest of the world. This pandemic has underscored the crucial importance of building up America's economic independence reshoring our critical supply chains and protecting America's scientific and technological advances. For years the government of China has conducted illicit espionage to steal our industrial secrets of which there are many today I will issue a proclamation to better secure our nation's vital university research and to suspend the entry of certain foreign nationals from China who we have identified as potential security risks."
KRISTIAN ANDERSON FAIRY TALES ON THE ORIGINS OF THE VIRUS
Based on their genomic sequencing analysis, Kristian Andersen, PhD, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research and his collaborators concluded that the most likely origins for SARS-CoV-2 followed one of two possible scenarios.
"In one scenario, the virus evolved to its current pathogenic state through natural selection in a non-human host and then jumped to humans. This is how previous coronavirus outbreaks have emerged, with humans contracting the virus after direct exposure to civets (SARS) and camels (MERS). The researchers proposed bats as the most likely reservoir for SARS-CoV-2 as it is very similar to a bat coronavirus. There are no documented cases of direct bat-human transmission, however, suggesting that an intermediate host was likely involved between bats and humans. In this scenario, both of the distinctive features of SARS-CoV-2's spike protein -- the RBD portion that binds to cells and the cleavage site that opens the virus up -- would have evolved to their current state prior to entering humans. In this case, the current epidemic would probably have emerged rapidly as soon as humans were infected, as the virus would have already evolved the features that make it pathogenic and able to spread between people." That a mighty quick evolution between SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2. Operation Warp Speed?
"In the other proposed scenario, a non-pathogenic version of the virus jumped from an animal host into humans and then evolved to its current pathogenic state within the human population. For instance, some coronaviruses from pangolins, armadillo-like mammals found in Asia and Africa, have an RBD structure very similar to that of SARS-CoV-2. A coronavirus from a pangolin could possibly have been transmitted to a human, either directly or through an intermediary host such as civets or ferrets. Then the other distinct spike protein characteristic of SARS-CoV-2, the cleavage site, could have evolved within a human host, possibly via limited undetected circulation in the human population prior to the beginning of the epidemic. The researchers found that the SARS-CoV-2 cleavage site, appears similar to the cleavage sites of strains of bird flu that has been shown to transmit easily between people. SARS-CoV-2 could have evolved such a virulent cleavage site in human cells and soon kicked off the current epidemic, as the coronavirus would possibly have become far more capable of spreading between people"
The virus evolved inside its human host? 8% of the human genome consists of retrovirus fragments so this is very possible. However if the virus mutated and the cleavage the amino acids at S1 and S2 came through mutation the virus would cause respiratory illness similar to SARS CoV-1 and not a whole catalogue of disease from "nose to toes." One would assume it made this jump in someone who worked in the Wuhan Wet Market and lot of contact with wildlife. But the market has been eliminated as the birthplace of the virus so so "Hans" Kristain Anderson's theory is another fairy tale.
SEE VIDEOS BELOW:
Bat origin of human coronaviruses
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