The wuhan and eco-health researchers had already started work on the furin cleavage sites and why would they stop when DARPA blocked it? Funding can’t only come from the US. Did CCP also block this research?
> there is published evidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was already engaged in some of the genetic engineering work described in the proposal and that viruses designed in North Carolina could easily be used in China.
Original letter: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6...
Lancet responding to criticism: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6...
>All but one scientist who penned a letter in The Lancet dismissing the possibility that coronavirus could have come from a lab in Wuhan were linked to its Chinese researchers, their colleagues or funders, a Telegraph investigation can reveal.
Suppose something strange happened and there were suspicions that it was CERN that was involved. Now a letter gets penned by the world's top particle physicists saying it's highly unlikely that the experiments at CERN would be involved. What do you suppose the likelihood would be that those particle physicists would have links to the researchers, colleagues or funders of CERN?
Particle physics (or gravitational wave research for example) is the odd one out here. Maybe because it is 100% fundamental research, where it is known to not produce applicable results.
If you don't believe this then look at the failure rate of the projects.
The other thing is that the funding agencies really, really, really don't like this - they want high risk research not handle turning. So if you get caught out you will get blacklisted - it's misconduct.
It's almost like if you move your research to a country who has no regards for safety or ethical concerns, that suddenly isn't a problem.
It's well-known that there has been high-risk coronavirus research across the globe. Actually there are even documentaries from before the pandemic, not sure why this has to be double-emphasized.
Not to me.
>Actually there are even documentaries from before the pandemic, not sure why this has to be double-emphasized.
Got any names/years so I watch them?
One particular reference (point) the documentary was revolving around was the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies which has been pointing out the problem with zoonotic epidemics/pandemics vs. populations and wild ecosystems intertwining too much. (AIDS, SARS, MERS)
Maybe that's interesting enough:
"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 ..."
Bat Coronaviruses in China, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466186/ from March 2019
That said, all this conspiracy discussion is giving the research a bad taste. I mean they cannot build up a lab in a bat cave or ignore the whole issue. And this is not the first epidemic/pandemic of this sort.
It's the first time I heard of anything of the sort.
Do you have any reference pointing out, or is this just Facebook hearsay?
As a reference never hurts, specially in a topic prone to disinformation, here's a link to the WHO's page on its official list of members of their "Global Study of the Origins of SARS-COV2".
Dr. Peter Daszak, Ph.D (EcoHealth Alliance, USA) is listed as a member.
If millions of people died and you were right there when it happened, a likely suspect, you might want to deflect blame as well.
Populism and Politics have little to do with the truth. If the masses are fired up over one theory, or if the highly politicized academic community is fired up over one of their own sensitivities, it can be destructive for many involved.
Refusing legitimate investigation - now that's a bad sign because people should want to clear their names.
We don't know what the answers are but it warrants further investigation.
Because the Trump administration decided that along with a bunch of other offshore collaboration funding decided to pull the money (America First!). There's a Vincent Racaniello episode on Microbe TV that explained what happened there. I don't remember the episode but here's his channel:
I think if folks would listen more to virologists than the press they'd find out that it's incredibly difficult to engineer new viruses (that's actually in his coursework - also on his channel), but it's also incredibly difficult to create stable "gain of function" (for weaponising) which has been suggested as the source of SARS2 and that whole Wuhan conspiracy theory thing.
Are virologists the only humans who, thwarted by one jurisdiction's limits, give up without considering doing their career-making, essential-to-humanity work elsewhere?
> …it's incredibly difficult to engineer new viruses… [and] …also incredibly difficult to create stable "gain of function"…
Indeed, but humans do incredibly difficult things all the time. In fact, they're often attracted to the challenge, and seek funding to help them do it, and often don't let a 'no' from any one funder stop them from bootstrapping work in other ways.
It's also incredibly difficult to engineer & get approval for vaccines to a brand-new disease, but that got done, recently, faster than ever before.
It was incredibly difficult to create nuclear weapons, but a lot of countries have done it independently.
Given the significant number of dangerous pathogen escapes from disease labs, it's also "incredibly difficult" to keep dangerous contagions safely contained. It's comparatively easy to accidently let them out!
My point is it would have required a virtual miracle for the proposed gain of function research to have produced something that could have escaped in the time framed that is possible regarding the rejected grant request. Additionally, good research has proven that Covid couldn't have been due to gain of function research either.
And why would it take a "virtual miracle" to accomplish via purposeful lab work the same thing that a 'wholly natural origin' explanation would suggest happened by dumb luck in natural recombinations?
What if it was both 'natural origin' and a 'lab leak'? For example, perhaps a wholly natural zoonotic event created the novelty, but it wasn't circulating in humans until after researchers found that crossover-ready virus in the wild – doing research similar to that in this just-revealed proposal – & brought it to Wuhan for study. Then, either with or without further 'gain-of-function' tinkering, inadvertently let it loose into an urban population?
2. There is no spike protein anyone knows of which would have been used in this research
3. The PRRAR furin cleavage site is not one humans would have tried it is unlike any other known furin cleavage sites in coronaviruses
4. There are now many known related sarbecoviruses which have been found with furin cleavage sites
5. Furin cleavage sites have independently evolved in multiple different branches of coronaviruses, probably a dozen times that we know of now.
6. The furin cleavage site is short and can easily happen through recombination with another virus due to coinfection.
7. This is very likely what happened due to infection with the SARS-CoV-2 ancestor and an HKU9-like virus.
It is not particularly suspicious that the thing which we were worried about happening and causing a zoonotic spillover event is the thing which actually happened.
They were going to experiment with multiple backbones, experimenting with multiple variations of spikes, looking specifically to try novel types of furin cleavage sites.
There was no public reporting of what happened with this research. We don't know what they have because WIV database was taken offline. They claimed to have searched it, but what they claimed was the closest match in the database was not, in fact, as close as a sequence they had published. Given that demonstrable lie, there is no way to verify any claim about what sequences were or were not known and possibly involved in this research.
Furthermore the person who submitted the proposal was also the person who broke ethical standards to preemptively shut down all discussion of a human release.
That isn't to take away from the possibility of a natural spillover. The facts that you say about that are facts. But accidental release is also possible. And the lack of transparency from those who are most likely to have made the mistake heightens suspicions, it does not lessen them.
It is research that "sounds like" what happened with the SARS-CoV-2 zoonotic spillover, but that isn't a strange coincidence. They were researching the thing they were worried about happening, and then it happened. Their research proposals naturally rhyme with what actually occurred because they had studied and understood the problem enough to guess more or less accurately what the process would be. There are still massive gaps in between this proposal and SARS-CoV-2 that you could fly a plane through.
It's like seeing smoke billowing out of a building and refusing to accept that there's a fire until you see the flames. Very convenient that your standard of evidence surpasses anything we can possibly obtain after the CCP scrubbed everything.
I would also argue that in the age of factory farming it is not so clear if more human-animal contact happens in rural areas or in big population centers. SARS was eventually traced back to palm civets which are farmed animals. In this industry wild animals, many of which are susceptible to SARS-like coronaviruses, are being bred in large numbers. To me this sounds like a perfect breeding ground for the viruses as well.
Also, factory farming is far safer than all other forms of farming. If the outbreak was unrelated to WIV and centered in Wuhan, wet-markets and exotic animal markets are the likely culprit.
The internet doesn't handle subtlety well, so just to spell it out...
If we admit things are coincidences then they can't be added up to get evidence. Lots of coincidences isn't evidence. The point is these things aren't coincidences. If a new coronavirus breaks out next door to a lab studying coronaviruses, then the lab is a possible source of the virus and the proximity is evidence. It is weak evidence and still unlikely, but evidence nonetheless.
However, when the lab is very close and the closest known bat virus (RaTG13) is a very long way away as is the case for SARS-CoV-2 then that is starting to get quite murky as evidence goes. It would be much easier for RaTG13 to travel the rather large distance from its natural location to Wuhan in a freezer/test tube than in a bat.
(a) It was successfully created in the lab using gain of function research they were developing
(b) It was accidentally or purposefully cultured naturally from one of the many strains they had collected from the field
(c) A researcher, assistant, or contractor was infected in the field as they were doing field work
Option (c) is particularly compelling because it doesn't require much additional complexity beyond the "official explanation". It still maintains that the origin of Covid-19 was a zoonotic spillover event, but points to the research as the direct cause of that event. And it's not necessarily the case that if the virus was in the bat population already that it necessarily would have spread. Rural populations might become briefly infected with a pandemic-level virus, but the spread is naturally quarantined since they have little contact with major metropolitan areas.
I don't think that a lab leak is implausible, but your statement that the small pointers "cease being coincidences" because they fit a narrative imparts far, far too much certainty to the lab leak theory.
How many major cities are there? hundreds. How many with a research center experimenting on coronavirus? (1 china, 2 in the USA) Just in China there are more than 100 cities with 1 millions people. Odds are 99+% that it has something to do with the research center. A very generous take would be that it has 1% chance of being unrelated.
If it’s conceivable that gain of function research can release a virus that kills millions, then the burden of proof is with the researchers to prove that they’re safe and this didn’t happen.
Why? The wet markets in Wuhan were sterilized and emptied (meaning that the animals inside were removed, killed, and their carcasses disposed of) at the very start of the outbreak - several days before anyone had definitive evidence that SARS-CoV-2 could be transmitted by person to person contact.
I'm sure that the Chinese government would love to have definitive evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is zoonotic, but that evidence likely went up in smoke (January 1st, 2020) weeks before anyone realized that COVID-19 would turn into a legitimate pandemic (January 23rd, 2020).
This is why there has been a lot of attention on certain animals, such as raccoon dogs and minks. It turns out that a lot of the early infections linked to the various Wuhan markets were from shop owners and employees who either sold or were in close contact a small number of animal species. It also turns out that these animals can be infected by SARS-CoV-2. See https://ncrc.jhsph.edu/research/animal-sales-from-wuhan-wet-....
The issue is that (as far as I'm aware) there's no immediate evidence that SARS-CoV-2 jumped to humans from any of these animals, only that there was an (again, as far as I'm aware) unknown intermediary species. However, because the animals at the wet market were disposed of, there's no way to definitively link SARS-CoV-2 to them.
The stuff you cite is circumstantial at best. Yes, given the seriousness of covid i would like someone to investigate it, but i would hardly call it billowing smoke.
> Very convenient that your standard of evidence surpasses anything we can possibly obtain after the CCP scrubbed everything.
Is that really relavent? Say CCP would in theory destroy evidence if such a situation arised. That's not an argument that says it is china's fault, its just an argument that we might not ever know. Its not like the people arguing that it was natural aren't using lack of chinese whistleblower as the evidence for naturalness.
At the very least i'd like evidence that suggests there is a higher probability that it was a chinese experiment than a natural occurance. Occam's razor and all. Arguing that it might be impossible to know what happened, increases uncertainty, but doesn't affect the relative probabilities.
In other words, your argument is like saying occam's razor concludes that fire extinguishers start fires because they are always found in the vicinity of fires.
Also I think many on this thread greatly underestimate the adaptive and evolutionary capabilities of nature. Having done some wet lab myself, I'm impressed at the ability of nature to do lateral gene transfer, and also it's damn hard to make any experiments work. Plus there are multiple layers of safety and containment around any lab experiment. Movies make engineering look like AI robots in labs and biology experiments that work on the first try, and people who say lab near outbreak must implicate the lab have probably spent more time watching movies about outbreaks than trying to engineer organisms themselves. Having spent a lot of time trying and failing to engineer organisms, occam's razor screams to me that the most likely explanation is natural evolution.
The real lab of concern are the hundreds of millions of people living in close contact with animal reservoirs, performing millions of competitive, uncontrolled evolution experiments daily, with single hosts sometimes simultaneously infected by multiple viruses, thus facilitating lateral gene transfer... and this continues to be the status quo. If you can accept that MERS and SARS CoV-1 are naturally evolved, then occam's razor would indicate that SARS CoV-2 is just one point in a series, and yet another coronavirus outbreak is likely to emerge in the next decade or so, from a dense urban area near animal reservoirs.
Distracting ourselves by fantasizing that only humans could be so devious to create such a virus makes us miss a very important opportunity to try and prevent the next outbreak through careful monitoring and research.
So, if you believe that we should have fire departments and fire extinguishers near ignition sources then, maybe we should have /more/ labs like Wuhan's in high risk areas, not less. And we'd want to encourage more cross border cooperation, not antagonize it, because viruses don't give a damn about your politics.
It's concerning that threads like this, on a forum as ostensibly pro-science as HN, are pushing ourselves further away from science and transparency...
The closest relative to this virus (it's not even that close, just 95% similarity) was found in a bat cave hundreds of miles away. They flew it in Wuhan and made experiments on it (this is all documented, not some crazy theory). Something tells me it's more likely to escape from the lab right there, rather than somehow infect people for hundreds of miles undetected. Your analogy is wrong, the lab is not really a fire extinguisher, because a fire extinguisher cannot cause fires on it's own! Lab leaks happen all the time https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_laboratory_biosecurity...
A better analogy is: a nuclear scientist works with heavy metals at a lab (far away from home), suddenly his family gets radiation poisoning. I wonder if it was the scientist that made a mistake, or should we focus all our search for natural radiation sources in the family's house? Sure, it's always a possibility, but what is it more likely? Also, you should at least acknowledge that the person is working with radiation and investigate that possibility thoroughly.
Those lab safety measure were criticized by the US state department https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/14/state-dep...
> And we'd want to encourage more cross border cooperation, not antagonize it, because viruses don't give a damn about your politics.
The Chinese took the virus database offline 2 months before the official outbreak...what a coincidence. And what a cooperation effort. Renaming the closest relative virus to hide it's trail. And a lot more.
Yeah, we need more cooperation, and China needs to do it first. They created this mess, the least they can do is cooperate rather than hinder investigations. We need better lab security and better protocols worldwide.
In this case it is the same thing unless you are claiming Covid started in some other country and they tried to hide the evidence.
There’s a number of perfectly reasonable ways for COVID to start without China doing anything, and making accusations based on thin evidence is not going to encourage collaboration.
I’ve not said that. My comment is in relation to idea that COVID was released from a lab.
> They literally murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people and yet you still defend a dictatorial regime?
I’m not interested in defending the CCP, I just take offence at the idea of the search for the origin of COVID being a witch hunt. People seem to be much more interested in vilified China, and than they are in the actual origin of COVID.
If you wanna criticise the Chinese government, then be my guest, I won’t defend them. But if you’re going to allow a dislike of China to cloud our understanding of where COVID came from then I’m going to make an objection.
We should focus on evidencing the origin of COVID, not finding reasons to further demonise China. If China have intentionally made it difficult to do that, then criticise the action, but it doesn’t change the fact we don’t have strong evidence of a lab release. Certainly the evidence is currently stronger than the evidence suggesting a natural jump.
Who is we? Is China included as well?
> I just take offence at the idea of the search for the origin of COVID being a witch hunt.
China claims Covid started in the US, where is the evidence for that?
> we don’t have strong evidence of a lab release.
Please read my comments again, I never claimed it leaked from a lab.
What hell are we talking about then?
> China claims Covid started in the US, where is the evidence for that?
You bought this up not me. I personally don’t give a shit what China claims. I’ve certainly never claimed that COVID originated in US, nor supported the idea. I have no evidence, and have done no research on this claim because I think it’s completely irrelevant, why the hell do you keep putting words in mouth?
> Who is we? Is China included as well?
China can whatever the hell China wants. So no “we” does not include China, I’m only talking about us here on west. Specifically those who seemed to be determined to prove that China is guilty a crime greater than being the unlucky nation where COVID made the jump. Something that’s a naturally occurring event, which is expected to happen on a semi-regular basis. Indeed the lack of new novel virus in the 20th and 21st century is some what notable, especially when you consider how globalised we are as a species.
So China can murder innocent people all over the world, hide or destroy evidence, buy all the PPE from other nations and not be held accountable and you support this, wow, just wow.
> Something that’s a naturally occurring event
Can you give some evidence for this wild claim that Covid was a naturally occurring event.
Read it (and the referenced documents) until you truly, deeply understand the science well enough to explain it to someone else.
At that point, you will know why the consensus is for natural jump between species.
Oh, and calm down, ranting is unbecoming.
Dont fall for such state sponsored propaganda and stop making personal attacks using a throwaway account, its very unbecoming.
It doesn't seem neccesary for a chinese lab to be involved, and the only evidence so far (afaik) is that it exists and was studying something similar. Meanwhile there exists (albeit definitely not ironclad) evidence that china wasn't involved.
If there is no evidence beyond circumstantial evidence that china had a lab near by, and there is a pretty much equally reasonable explanation that the event happened by chance, than i think occam's razor favours the one with less entities involved.
I'm not saying that china isn't involved. I'm saying that we basically have no idea and the argument that china did it is no more strong than the alternative. On the balance i find the natural explanation more compelling, but ultimately we have no idea. I also think there may be some cognitive biases going on - covid 19 has hurt, and we want scapegoat to blame. If it was natural, than we have only ourselves to blame for being underprepared. If china did it, we convinently have someone to hate.
If you take the other hypotheses, it goes like this: some bat coronavirus -> jumps to an unnamed animal -> jumps to a human. There is an unknown entity in this equation, which is the third party animal. This is necessary for the theory to work.
If you make me chose between a theory that has all the elements and one that might or might not find a mythical animal in the future...I think Occam's razor favors the one with all known elements. Otherwise, ad-absurdum, you can win any argument stating it's Occam's razor: you just introduce a single magic black box which can substitute any number of entities.
I am not doing this to blame China. I blame China for the opacity of the response, which at times seemed like they didn't care what happens with everyone else. I can blame China regardless of how this virus appeared. I also blame our top scientists, which covered their asses instead of coming out with everything they know and work for the greater good.
What I do want is better bio-labs safety protocols, something that can be monitor by third party inspectors, say from UN, just like we have for nuclear facilities. Lab leaks happen, it's not a Chinese thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_laboratory_biosecurity...
"The grant proposal very specifically is concerned with using the WIV1 and SHC014 backbones, nothing related to SARS-CoV-2." The counterargument is "Well, they could have altered the proposal when they pursued funding elsewhere." The takeaway is that it is not likely this specific proposal was funded elsewhere, leading to SARS-CoV-2.
"If they actually carried out the research in this grant proposal you don't get from there to SARS-CoV-2, those are all SARS-1-like." I do not personally know how to evaluate the accuracy of this claim, but if true, it resonates with the first claim: this proposal funded elsewhere would not lead to SARS-CoV-2.
The argument claims about it being hard/expensive I think are less compelling, as there is a lead time of several years with experts in field performing research. A more compelling version of this argument would look like (completely making up numbers): "On average, it takes 4.5 years to develop the first samples of a novel virus using a selected backbone, CRISPR technology, and gain-of-function culturing. Therefore, even if this research was funded in 2018 we would not expect it to have led to SARS-CoV-2". I'm not saying that argument is accurate at all, just saying it's more specific than "it's difficult".
The argument claims about the evidence being missing I think isn't going to be motivating for a person who has a reasonable expectation that secret research is done and does not have trust in government transparency (either US, China, or otherwise). I'm not making a point here that evidence isn't needed (far from it, evidence IS needed). I'm evaluating from a polemic perspective what kinds of claims and arguments are useful for advancing the conversation with someone who holding a dissonant viewpoint.
Thank you by the way for making specific claims that can be fact checked such as the two referenced at the top of this comment.
It isn't as simple as altering the proposal. You're speculating a very large and hidden process using sequences that were kept perfectly secret and have not been leaked, with virus backbones that would take considerable effort to create but which were never shared publicly (and kept perfectly secret before SARS-CoV-2 happened before there was any need for perfect secrecy). We have this leaked information from 2018 about the proposal with the WIV1/SHC014 backbones which leaked because it was not kept with perfect secrecy. Yet they managed to do all that work in perfect secrecy without any leaks. That is the hallmark of a conspiracy theory. It requires a bit of a time machine because Daszak would have to have known in 2018 to tighten up his "OpSec" in response to the pandemic that hadn't happened yet and leaks that hadn't yet occurred.
Things are also getting worse for the lab leak theory on other fronts, I just stumbled across this a few minutes ago:
If there's multiple lineages from multiple zoonotic spillover events that makes the lab leak theory a poor fit and will require a lot more mental gymnastics.
Also, I'm not sure why the lab leak hypothesis is suddenly trickier. They had all sorts of samples.
Labeling this all as "mental gymnastics" as in the article, or "a dagger in the heart of the lab leak hypothesis" is just the sort of motivated analysis confirmatory bias that caused all this in the first place. I'm not sure how arguing that SARS-CoV-2 involved two spillover events with crossover from multiple species is less mental gymnastics than "a lab had multiple samples".
Honestly I'd like to see more dispassionate discussion of this. That Nature piece is shameful.
At some level I don't care if it was a lab leak or not but I wish there wasn't this level of motivation behind both sides.
In any event, the grant proposal should raise a lot of red flags regardless. What bothers me often is this implied assumption that if the lab leak hypothesis is false, everything else is fine. It's all fine that a plausible biosecurity failure scenario was ridiculed, that major research groups clearly lied about and tried to cover up conflicts of interest, that we can trust these (GoF) lines of research are safe, that we can just trust the authority figures to not cause another pandemic, etc. etc. etc.
Better than TV.
I have to say though, the flagged reply was thoroughly entertaining. Thank you sir or ma’am for the high praise; I aim to please.
But, this nature piece is really problematic. When removing likely sequencing errors, the independent "spillover events" appear to fit perfectly into a single phylogeny with each node separated by a single mutation. And the A clade descends cleanly from the B clade. There are not enough mutations between them to support a complex explanation like multiple spillovers. This is linked but not explained properly by the nature piece https://virological.org/t/evidence-against-the-veracity-of-s...
But maybe some things just haven't leaked yet? Or were kept secret by others even more skilled at secrecy & misdirection than Daszak?
But nobody is alleging that they did all the work in perfect secrecy. Clearly we know about a lot of the work: you'd use the same equipment, location, and so forth. Only a few things are left that need to be secret; namely, the origin of the viral sequences that preceded SARS-CoV-2. And if those were present in the wild it seems not entirely surprising that WIV could have simply obtained them.
Furthermore, it is not really that surprising that research which potentially develops weapons of mass destruction is kept secret, pandemic or no. Whether it caused the pandemic or not, people are still generally concerned that this kind of thing was occurring.
Applying Occam, I’m going to bet that the origins of the virus will turn out to be entirely zoonotic or that someone got infected doing fieldwork rather than the lab engineering claims.
That sounds like a very tenuous line of reasoning to me. Almost like saying "We know that Mr. A proposed shooting Mr. B, so let's reconsider that Mr C. may have stabbed Mr. D."
The investigation will continue and those missing items you mention just might turn up since it appears from the leak that there are might be a significant number of unpublished sequences at WIV and EHA, etc.
If science is unsatisfied by what is found, actual scientists will move on and look elsewhere. This leak evidence is compatible with the man origin suspicions however.
There seems to be an extraordinary amount of CYA here.
But that doesn't invalidate the animal transfer hypothesis. Because that isn't how science works -- or even just how KNOWLEDGE works. No one operates under perfect certainty; we collect stronger or weaker evidence for various possibilities.
This grant application doesn't "prove" that SARS-CoV-2 was leaked from a lab. But nothing "proves" it wasn't. The existence of this grant application is evidence supporting the lab leak hypothesis, demonstrating conclusively that someone in the world was thinking, prior to the pandemic, about performing modifications to coronaviruses similar to what we have observed in the virus.
 Except mathematicians: https://xkcd.com/263/
Every single denial comment around here hinges on this confusion in terms and then tries to stick the "no proof" meaning to all the evidence, instead of bringing whatever evidence there is that it was a natural strain evolution or debating the various points.
Funny how instead a meta analysis of the discussion show one side piling up evidences while the other insists in trying to convince people that no proof equals no evidence.
> 3. The PRRAR furin cleavage site is not one humans would have tried it is unlike any other known furin cleavage sites in coronaviruses
I believe what you mean to say here is that there is no published literature describing these things. That may be true. But the people doing this work are the ones who would develop and then publish such knowledge, if it were indeed something they were working on.
> It is not particularly suspicious that the thing which we were worried about happening and causing a zoonotic spillover event is the thing which actually happened.
It isn't. What is suspicious is the following:
1. It happened in the city that houses the lab where this research was proposed to take place.
2. The natural reservoir of these viruses is hundreds of miles from this city.
3. The outbreak occurred exactly 2 years after this research was originally proposed, in the city that it was proposed to take place in, in roughly the amount of time one might expect this research to take.
4. Peter Daszak, despite coming out forcefully against the lab leak theory, and purposely downplaying his involvement with the lab in so doing, and being inexplicably selected as a member of the WHO team to investigate the lab origin theory, completely neglected to mention having made this proposal a mere two years prior.
If I were a major virus researcher, and my proposal to investigate the exact thing that just caused a massive global pandemic had been denied by DARPA two years prior, I would be shouting it from the rooftops as vindication. See, had you just let me investigate this, maybe we could have avoided this pandemic! But he didn't do that. He didn't mention it at all, despite its obvious relevance to all that has gone on.
This is not the behavior of someone with nothing to hide. Whether or not this virus originated in this lab, it's pretty clear that Peter Daszak is up to something he'd rather the world not discover.
Could you provide some data to support the assertion that the virus was engineered? I'm hoping something like a leaked paper, or a lab notebook, or maybe hand written data on a piece of scrap paper that somebody found in the garbage bin in china.. I mean, I'll take anything.
You will only accept hard evidence, yet you are aware that parties in China have actively removed some possible evidentiary sources. And others in USA promoted a campaign to shut down lines of enquiry, whilst withholding relevant information.
Many disciplines use Bayesian statistical models. In this case it may be the only way to "prove" a lab leak - assuming that were actually true.
I understand how this makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist. I hate that. It would certainly be better to have hard evidence. I belive we have to reserve judgement in it's absence. And keep investigating both avenues.
Btw A conspiracy theorist doesn’t change his conspiracy when new evidence comes to light. So if you are a critical thinker, you just want to know what happened there, whether lab or natural origin (or a combination of both?)
It would be interesting to see an updating Bayesian model played out over 18 months of investigation into SARS-COV-19 natural origin with no result so far. Absence of evidence is not proof of non-natural origins, but it does shift one's priors.
Thanks. I guess beyond the stereotypes there's no actual conspiracy theorists. Just people reasoning imperfectly with imperfect data.
To paraphrase Wernher von Braun - "Hard data is worth a thousand expert opinions." :)
Actually, Bayes statistics works great in poorly defined problem spaces where we can update our priors as new information becomes available. Just like in the issue under discussion.
Your example of rolling dice is Frequentist, not Bayesian. We wouldn't use Frequentist stats in this domain, for the reasons you mention.
Can you give me a few comparable scenarios where it worked great?
I don't know whether Bayesian search is currently being used to search for the unknown reservoir species from which SARS-COV-19 jumped to infect humans (assuming a natural cause).
Under this approach, the longer the search goes on, the more we may lessen our confidence in the prior assumption that it was a natural infection.
We don't see adaptation to the new host. This means that either the spillover happened a long time before it was detected (months, years), or the proximal host was a primate. Or, the virus could have been adapted to human cells and their surface proteins in relatively straightforward laboratory experiments. Then, if accidentally released, the phylogeny and virus adaptation process would look exactly like the one we are seeing with hundreds of thousands of viral genomes.
A spillover from nature would look like SARS1. There are rapid phenotypic adaptations in the beginning of the epidemic. The initial virus is infectious, but not anything like SARS2. In SARS2, it takes many months for real phenotypic change to appear. The rate of variation is clock-like because there are few easy phenotypic wins to be made.
This is hard evidence. What do you make of it? Maybe you have to understand genetics and evolution to "read" this material, but that doesn't negate it.
Why do you say so? Co-evolving organisms/species and their cross-interaction in a large changing global environment is not a deterministic process, or rather is not a process that we can predict with any great degree of accuracy. What things would "look like" is extrapolation, not evidence.
In any case, my main objection to your argument is that you're drawing inferences from an imperfect dataset and them employing backwards reasoning "Well nothing else explains it except theory A". Sorry, but that doesn't satisfy me. I still want to see actual evidence of actual work being done in an actual lab that corroborates the hypothesis. It is pretty much impossible to keep such large multi-year scientific development projects secret in this day and age. There are dozens of people involved, past employees, lab assistants, etc, etc. I work in biotech (I'm not claiming to be any expert on anything) and maybe that's why I'm finding it difficult.
... point to it being a natural zoonotic spillover event. Wuhan had a virus institute because it is a place where novel viruses are found, not the other way around.
Where did I say it was engineered? We have no evidence of its natural origin either. Can you provide its natural reservoir? An animal sample? Another coronavirus with this furin cleavage site? Anything?
What we are trying to do is ascertain the likelihoods of various scenarios given the evidence we have. Not the evidence we wish we had. I do not believe, nor have I anywhere asserted, that we have proven the virus was unnatural in origin. I also do not believe we have proven that the virus was natural in origin.
What I believe is that the evidence is presently insufficient to determine, and fairly ambiguous. What is unambiguous is the extraordinarily shady and self serving behavior of Peter Daszak. Why it is that he's doing that, I don't know. It could be because he participated in the engineering of this virus, but it could be for entirely separate reasons that pertain to him. I do think we should at least make a serious effort to find out, though.
And you know what, northern Laos where the RBD was found, and south Yunnan, where the well documented sars outbreak happened (which presumably led to the discovery of ratg13), share a border with each other
One of the reasons i despise the Silicon Valley tone of conversation is how naive (read removed from the brutality that exists in the world outside the US' protected borders) the line is.
Like, are you kidding me?
- Research Lab near outbreak
- Connected to person that proposed a similar GoF research for a grant in the US and was turned down
- History of loose ethical standards and evidence of published works connecting the CCP to military usage of viruses
- Absolutely no evidence of natural origin circumstantial or otherwise in spite of over 18 months of looking
And we have people here closing their eyes, fingers in their ears going "la la la" with moronic arguments like : "Can you show me the evidence?"
I mean, can you constructively participate in the discussion with an attempt to push it forward and call out the clear risks of weaponizing infectious vectors instead of saying "Nothing to see here, show me more" in the face of all we've seen.
All that does is gives a pass to the people doing this in the dark. Accident or not, that work is ongoing and if a literal global mass casualty event doesn't help regulate it, what will ?
From your second link: "Finally, the poly-basic (furin) site present in SARS-CoV-2 is absent in both RshSTT182 and RshSTT200."
Your third link doesn't discuss furin cleavage sites very much.
Your fourth link literally doesn't contain the substring "furin".
Your fifth link literally doesn't contain the substring "furin".
Your sixth link at least partially supports your claim with a single mention of furin, saying "The two viruses shared part of the furin cleavage site unique to SARS-CoV-2", but the whole truth is that while they have insertions at the S1/S2 cleavage site in the spike protein, they do not contain the full furin cleavage site. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RmYN02
From your seventh link: "None of these bat viruses harbors a furin cleavage site in the spike."
(Protip: in this claim #4 of yours under discussion, you should change "sarbecoviruses" to "betacoronaviruses".)
I have not evaluated 2-7.
The more important part here is an investigation on the origins of the virus is more about beurecracy than the actual science so unless you can conclusively prove that this virus could have never been engineered by a human you should stop bringing “improbability” of all of these processes as why we should trust these scientists.
Given that prior, "can you disprove the lab" is the Russell's Teapot hypothesis. No, I can't. I also can't disprove it rode in on a meteorite or was beamed in by aliens. And I'm not about to start.
>All valid points, but let’s be real scientists and work the other way?
What you're proposing isn't science and it isn't what 'real scientists' do.
And as far as I understand it, they are correct. Science doesn't convict an effect, it provides a lower bound on the likelihood of the effect's existence.
I've worked with many "real scientists" who will consider possiblity unless they see conclusive evidence against it. On the frontiers, there is very little conclusive evidence; this is why they are the frontiers.
I have also met "real scientists" who actively dismiss conclusive evidence if it doesn't line up with what they think will get funded.
It doesn't seem the first flavor is the one you are talking about.
Oh sure, I consider the possibility that there might be aliens out there. However, we both know that this is very different than considering the possibility that Obama was a reptilian. In any case, scientific frontiers are areas of active research. So yeah, lets go spelunking!
>I have also met "real scientists" who actively dismiss conclusive evidence if it doesn't line up with what they think will get funded.
That is an all too common human flaw :)
Yes knowingly abandoning the princinples of science in order to acquire money is quite the flaw. For whatever reason it is basically non-existent among grad students, but not uncommon among successful professors. It's almost like our institutions select for and reward this behavior.
Personally I think it's naive that people are omitting human and government intentions from all this, as if they are not actors in complex political world. These huge world changing events don't happen in a vacuum, and government actors are usually aware of all these ongoing research efforts for agendas and specific goals, which of course includes misleading the public.
Assuming an actual lab leak at WIV, from a US project similar to the one rejected by DARPA. And PRC is aware of all these facts.
Under these assumptions, this story/rumour could be seen as a threat, which re-emerges whenever PRC feels under pressure: "We won't go down alone for this"
My point was mostly that we won't really be able to figure out the microbiology details of it in order to make reasonable conclusions. I think it would be like trying to figure out the physics of the nuclear bomb during the Manhattan project, and concluding no such bomb can be built because no physicist has figured out nuclear reactions yet.
It does seem unlikely that the SARS-CoV-2 genome, or spike protein, or even just a small segment including the furin cleavage site, was synthesized. Although without knowing what protein folding modeling capabilities and synthesis capabilities the WIV had, who knows for sure?
And the rest of it is that you're arguing in favor of a science fiction explanation for the capabilities of the WIV lab.
Could you give the page # for this?
Using this figure, we could have some parameters around how much time such a project must have taken and its latest start date (assuming its evolved from known or closely-related-to-known viruses).
Using this figure, and a theoretical timetable, we can also specify how close a cousin virus we would need to have for such a process to develop SAR-CoV-2.
This could give us a more specific understanding of the feasibility of such research.
For example, RaTG13 is closest known virus was discovered in 2013. Does the rate of serial passage enable evolution from RaTG13 over ~7 years? If not, this provides a factual argument allowing us to determine even if gain-of-function research was imposed on RaTG13 the moment of its discovery, it could not have been developed into SARS-CoV-2. (I don't know how to evaluate the actual accuracy of this, but provided as a example of how knowing the serial passage rate would be helpful).
In the lab you'll get a handful of mutations not thousands.
After serial passage through some large fraction of a billion humans, with large evolutionary pressures due to the recent species jump, the delta variant is still well over 99% homologous to the reference Wu-1 strain.
A 96.1% different would require serial passage through billions of organisms, but they measure this difference in terms of years of evolution in nature which is on the order of 30-40 years.
The rate of evolution is a function of the mutation rate and the effective population size. There is no reason to believe that a lab setting, with highly parallel evolution on a very large, diverse population, will be as slow as passage through hosts in nature. The application of mutagens, and also the lack of selection by a host immune system can support much higher rates of change. And in coronaviruses, recombination is also very frequent, and this could easily give rise to multiple % levels of divergence in a single step. Finally, it's trivial to synthesize a genome of this size, and also to synthesize pools of related viruses based on common backgrounds.
The 30-40 year figure assumes the related virus is a direct ancestor and it stayed within the same species, which is quite a big if. It's useful as a metric within a single population, but not exactly evidence hard enough to play genetic detective.
If they just share ancestors that time is basically halved towards the most recent common ancestor, which puts it back somewhere in the mid 2000s. When evolving in parallel, within different species, the divergence grows really quick. Also when viruses jump species the mutation rate skyrockets at the beginning to adapt to the novel host, which could easily account for most of the difference between RaTG13 and Wu-1 anyway.
Wouldn’t this count as parallel passage though? Sure there’s more variability and evolutionary pressure on the mutations, but the speed of evolution (the number nucleotide mutations) is the same over the same period of time regardless of how many billions of people it infects in parallel.
* If a wild strain is too far away from covid, then it would have taken too long to do the passage.
* If a wild strain is almost identical to covid, then obviously covid derived from that without seeing the interior of a lab.
Under what circumstances would you consider that serial passage work done in a lab might have had something to do with covid?
Look how many infections were needed to go from Covid Classic to the Delta Variant. What's that a billion?
Comment I read from someone that aught to know what they are talking about pointed out that gain function in a lab produces viruses that are good at infecting cells in petri dishes. Not ones that are good at infecting vertebrates with full fledged immune systems trying to kill it.
This has nothing to do with the corona virus strains we are currently dealing with, and more importantly, there has never been any credible research proving that Covid was made in a lab. The only paper that got any traction suggested it was non-manipulation based gain of function research, but that was disproved only a few weeks after the paper's release as well. I know we all want to know where it came from, but the odds against us ever having actual evidence of it being from a lab are virtually zero. And no, rejected research proposals do not constitute proof of anything.
> Two, their proposal was for genetic manipulation of an existing virus, which research on the existing corona virus shows was not the case.
I think that’s invalidated if your first point is valid right? Since the proposal wasn’t accepted.
Doesn’t mean they didn’t go on to do it anyway (possibly in slightly different form), someone was clearly thinking about it.
No. There's evidence that COVID-19 was not created by direct genetic manipulation.
If they did it, it's not COVID-19.
There’s also evidence it cannot possibly (or well, with such a low chance it may as well be) have occured naturally.
What am I supposed to believe here? Even the people on my side of the fence, even the people that research this stuff themselves all seem to have an agenda and when research turns up one thing, I can practically guarantee that other research turns up the opposite.
There’s too much damn smoke in this whole thing for there to be no fire.
Now, I remember reading about it most likely not being a result of direct genetic manipulation, and it sounded sound to me.
Do you have any sources for your assertion that there is evidence it cannot have occurred naturally?
As far as I read such viruses have a natural tendency to sometimes jump species, as was likely the case with SARS-CoV and MERS.
People have asserted in this thread that it would take 30-40 years for the closest known natural covid relative to aquire the necessary 1000 mutations and turn into covid. And yet here we are, almost 2 years since the pandemic started, with no identified natural reservoir for covid.
Where is the covid source?
Consider https://www.cell.com/cell/pdf/S0092-8674(21)00991-0.pdf, a pro natural origins review of the literature. They tie themselves into knots to explain that the infamous furin cleavage site, while absent in the closest covid relative, could have naturally occurred, even if they admit they have zero actual evidence for that.
> Although the furin cleavage site is absent from the closest
known relatives of SARS-CoV-2 (Andersen et al., 2020), this is
unsurprising because the lineage leading to this virus is poorly
sampled and the closest bat viruses have divergent spike proteins due to recombination (Boni et al., 2020; Lytras et al.,
2021; Zhou et al., 2021). Furin cleavage sites are commonplace
in other coronavirus spike proteins, including some feline alphacoronaviruses, MERS-CoV, most but not all strains of mouse
hepatitis virus, as well as in endemic human betacoronaviruses
such as HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1 (Gombold et al., 1993; de Haan et al., 2008; Kirchdoerfer et al., 2016). A near identical
nucleotide sequence is found in the spike gene of the bat coronavirus HKU9-1 (Gallaher, 2020), and both SARS-CoV-2 and
HKU9-1 contain short palindromic sequences immediately upstream of this sequence that are indicative of natural recombination break-points via template switching (Gallaher, 2020). Hence,
simple evolutionary mechanisms can readily explain the evolution of an out-of-frame insertion of a furin cleavage site in
SARS-CoV-2 (Figure 2).
On the flip side, Nicholas Wade claims that Peter Daszak grant application proposes exactly that:
> The..grant proposal..now puts beyond doubt that engineering cleavage sites into SARS-like viruses was a technique to be explored at..Wuhan
https://nicholaswade.medium.com/new-routes-to-making-covid-1... (medium paywall, sorry) via https://twitter.com/R_H_Ebright/status/1441190122360225797.
Probably in bats or other animals prone to corona viruses. Likely some animal that naturally does not interact with humans a lot, and has significant populations in remote habitats. Basically everything that can live in difficult terrain is rather likely. Less likely, but far from impossible: it mutated over extended periods of time in some animal meat factory farm on an accelerated schedule thanks to how these farms operate, with animals showing few if any symptoms thanks to the young ages of the entire population (no old animals in your factory farm ;), until it finally made the jump to humans.
>to aquire the necessary 1000 mutations
They compared strains we already now about because somebody sequenced them; the important word there is "known". The thing about that is that there is a ton of strains we do not know about because nobody sequenced that particular local cohort of animals. Hell, we do not even know every species of animals are on planet at all, if the still hight rate of discovering new species is any indication - and we do constantly discover species that we can see with our naked eyes without having to whip out lab equipment.
>And yet here we are, almost 2 years since the pandemic started, with no identified natural reservoir for covid.
There is a real good chance that this "natural reservoir" is just a place nobody looked at with a sequencer hunting for virus strains, i.e. most of the Earth.
Or it might have been created in a lab.
The thing is, we do not know. But there is some evidence apparently that it was a natural origin because a) it looks like a natural progression from previously known strains and b) because there are no hallmark indicators for direct manipulation. Not entirely conclusive evidence, but sound argumentation making a case for the possibility of natural occurrence. And the theories you recapped arguing it cannot be natural just do not use a sound argumentation in my opinion as even I myself - not a domain expert and thinking about it for a few minutes - can poke gigantic holes in it.
Frankly, the "no natural source" argument as you presented it immediately reminded me of the pro-Creationist "missing link" argument.
All the while the evidence you mentioned is that there probably was a lab in Wuhan which probably did stuff with Corona viruses... which is rather vague argumentative. Sure, it's a clue furthering the lab theory a little, but it's hardly conclusive. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
OTOH, there is the furin cleavage site issue. Have your read the OA?!
> Since the genetic code of the coronavirus that caused the pandemic was first sequenced, scientists have puzzled over the “furin cleavage site.” This strange feature on the spike protein of the virus had never been seen in SARS-related betacoronaviruses, the class to which SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the respiratory illness Covid-19, belongs.
> Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University who has espoused the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 may have originated in a lab, agreed. “The relevance of this is that SARS Cov-2, the pandemic virus, is the only virus in its entire genus of SARS-related coronaviruses that contains a fully functional cleavage site at the S1, S2 junction,” said Ebright, referring to the place where two subunits of the spike protein meet. “And here is a proposal from the beginning of 2018, proposing explicitly to engineer that sequence at that position in chimeric lab-generated coronaviruses.”
* None of the known coronaviruses closely related to covid have such a feature. There is a lot of FUD in this space, which amounts to saying: Horses and seals are mammals, seals have flippers, therefore that horse with flippers you just saw has occurred naturally. Those stallions might have been quite horny.
* The OA 2018 grant proposes to perform gain of function work and create a FCS in SARS viruses at WIH. This research proposal has not been publicly disclosed by scientists that supposedly are investigating covid origin. WTF?
* The OA 2018 grant proposal mentions a database of 180 coronaviruses that are not publicly disclosed to this day. Apparently WIH stopped publishing coronavirus sequences after 2015. WTF? https://twitter.com/franciscodeasis/status/14160891976650014...
The closer relatives of covid without a FCS at the S1/S2 junction we find, the more damning for the WIH and their American friends. And perhaps we'll find the genetic ancestors of covid in the wild, and the WIH (proposed) work might have been a bizzarre coincidence. We don't know. But the stonewalling and the sneering at the public asking legitimate questions must stop.
I raise you a platypus.
Your analogy doesn't really work in my opinion; a horse with flippers would be far more unexpected than that cleavage site. The cleavage site might be novel - as far as we know - but it's not jar-dropping surprising either, and something that can occur naturally in a reasonable time frame.
>But the stonewalling and the sneering at the public asking legitimate questions must stop.
I can agree with this sentiment. In fact, I think I was asking a legitimate question when I asked for sources to the assertion that there is evidence it was lab-made.
I already conceded it is entire possible it's lab made. However, with what I read thus far, personally I still think signs point to natural occurrence than lab.
Chances are we will never know. If it was naturally occurring, then we may never find the "natural source" even if we tried. And it's not like we dispatched an army of scientists to look for such a source. It's more or less the same few people who did the collection of samples before the pandemic who are the ones still doing it now, probably even less so with travel restrictions still in place in a lot of locations.
If it was a lab escape - or worse a deliberate unleashing of a lab made virus - then whoever is responsible will try to keep it calm and seems to be doing a good enough job plugging any leaks as there have been none.
I also have to admit that I confused you with the person to whom my original reply was made, who seemed far more adamant that there is actual evidence (a proposal is circumstantial evidence at best, and certainly not scientific evidence), and ended with
>There’s too much damn smoke in this whole thing for there to be no fire.
>“I should mention that after discussions earlier today, Eddie, Bob, Mike, and myself all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory,” Andersen added.
Although that was from Jan 2020 and I'm sure more evidence has come in since then to shed more light.
Research is not equivalent. Just because two people make an argument does not make them equally valid. Unless you are a medical researcher you're not meant to somehow know how medical research papers work and what their results are on your own. It's not black and white. It's the same as trying to take electrical engineering papers and base opinions on it without any knowledge of the math or how it works.
All configurations could have an infinitesimal chance of occurring, but one configuration could still have a billion to one chance of occurring over another particular configuration.
Which is especially relevant if we have a relatively recent basepoint of comparison.
An infinite number of monkeys with typewriters might eventually reproduce Shakespeare, but 10000 monkeys doing it on their first try points to causation beyond "chance".
I feel this claim is simply not believable nor possible to take at face value, given that in order for a proof of impossibility to even be considered you need supporting evidence and a falsifiable model, which you have none.
Given this, do you have any reference that supports your assertion? I'd like to hear your rationale to claim that something like this is outright impossible.
If you're objecting to the idea that well-accepted scientific theories can't put a "very low probability" on certain things being observed ... what? That's exactly what a scientific theory -- or indeed, any well-posed belief -- should do!
No, I left out the weasel words from the original claim.
Either GP's claim is factual and indeed he is aware of proof of impossibility, or he is not and he's just knowingly spreading disinformation.
> If you're objecting to the idea that well-accepted scientific theories (...)
I object to the idea of random people on the internet knowingly spreading disinformation with baseless claims that fly on the face of critical thinking, and then resorting to vague appeals to authority, inversions of the burden of truth, and outright bullying to force-fed their disinformation.
If there is any proof whatsoever supporting the claim that such thing is impossible then just support your claim and present the evidence or source. Don't expect everyone to just take your word for it, specially after you tried desperately to invert the burden of proof.
It's not a "weasel word", "Scientific theories placing a low enough probability to match lay usage of 'impossible', and clarifying that you mean as much" isn't a weasel word; it's being precise, and scientific theories do classify things that way.
>Either GP's claim is factual and indeed he is aware of proof of impossibility, or he is not and he's just knowingly spreading disinformation.
There's a third possibility: OP is aware that some scientists think the mainstream scientific theory places a low probability on the claim in question, but does not rise to the level of an impossibility theorem.
>I object to the idea of random people on the internet knowingly spreading disinformation with baseless claims that fly on the face of critical thinking, and then resorting to vague appeals to authority, inversions of the burden of truth, and outright bullying to force-fed their disinformation.
I don't see how the parent did any of that, just how another commenter is overreacting to ideas they don't like.
Are you seriously telling me that if I look through your posting history, I won't find a single case of you suggesting something without posting links to rigorous proof?
If you're going to scream bloody murder at the idea that any unsupported idea would ever be uttered here, you could maybe glance at the sibling comments in the thread, like mine:
If that was the case then go ahead and just show the theory.
Just provide a single evidence that supports said claim. Any at all.
Don't just handwave after claiming something is impossible, otherwise you're just intentionally spreading lies and misinformation.
Well, there are plenty of options that are not direct genetic manipulation and random evolution from a known virus.
So then the work would have to have happened and the virus escape happened in 10 months. In the proposal they are looking at q5 of the project for the genetic engineering to happen.
I don't think that the time lines work - also the genetic engineering was slated to happen in North Carolina...
This is honestly the most damning part of evidence.
China has shown over and over their current strategy is to snap up resources, countries and partnerships that the West, and specifically the United States, refuse or ignore.
China would have strong motivation to have SARS related research considering SARS originates in their country.
So we have a country with strong motivation, lots of money and a repeated willingness to ignore ethical & safety concerns... I don't see how it isn't a big question mark. Especially considering how quickly and forcefully China shut down the conversation and refuse to allow in investigators.
What evidence? There was a grant proposal, and the proposal was rejected. Why do you feel that the fact that the rejected proposal referred to North Carolina is supposed to be "damning" at all, or even remotely relevant?
> China would have strong motivation to have SARS related research considering SARS originates in their country.
It has. They fund their own lab at Wuhan. Why is this damning in light of a failed grant proposal that never went off the ground?
You're willfully blinding yourself to how the world actually works.
You should really pay attention to what you're claiming, specially as there is absolutely zero substance or evidence supporting your claim. Your accusation boils down to the same exact witch hunt logic that led angry mobs to burn innocent people at the stake: claim you believe someone happened without zero evidence at all, proceed to allege someone of having the means to do it, from a massive logical leap start to accuse someone who you alleged is capable of something of actually doing it in spite, again, of having zero evidence at all, and proceed to throw that victim to the fire.
I suppose our witch hunting days are behind us, but you're dragging them back to the present by repeating the same logical mistakes and in the process throw innocents into the fire.
Do the world a favor and cut out all the baseless accusations and unsubstantiated claims. It's one thing to argue that some bits should be investigated, but it's an entirely different thing to screw up logical and rational thinking so badly to the point that you make the same completely baseless and unsubstantiated claims you're making.
If it wasn’t made in the lab, then it was already naturally occurring. Which means it didn’t need to escape anything, on account of it existing in the wild before it ever got near a lab.
The lab in Wuhan was studying Coronaviruses because of the threat they potentially posed to humans, and because the nearby bat populations were know to carry them.
Saying that the existence of a lab studying novel viruses in their natural habitat is evidence that I can from a lab, is like saying the existence of fire stations in a cities is evidence that fire fighters start fires.
There is only circumstancial evidence for it, but it is reasonable to suspect COVID-19 is the result of a researcher getting infected, not noticing, and introducing the virus to the human population. There is no evidence for, and it is very unreasonable to believe it was created in a lab.
If I was near a bank robbery at the time of occurrence, it does not count as evidence that I did it. Not even if I have a history of robbing banks. It must be combined with other, stronger evidence (I was inside the bank, my fingerprints were there, I was caught on camera) to build a case.
We don’t imprison people for crimes on the basis we couldn’t find any strong evidence, thus what ever shitty “evidence” we did find must be an acceptable basis for punishment.
(I'm only commenting on the words, I don't think I care where it came from at this point, not sure I could ever really believe it, whatever was concluded. Unless perhaps a bunch of countries/labs agreed, including the blamed one if applicable.)
> It must be combined with other, stronger evidence ...
This sounds like you agree. It's just weak evidence, and that's for darn sure.
The comment mentioning Bayes Theorem has the right idea. Your priors are exceptionally different from my own, so we do not see this the same way and maybe never will.
The Russian agents videoed wandering about with bottles of poison are evidence of another mechanism of introduction. Perhaps the presence of a market full of various wild animals known to carry coronavirus's is also worth considering.
Would you mind reviewing the site guidelines and sticking to them? You broke them badly with this comment.
I'm mystified why this hasn't already happened. I mean, his career depends on government largesse so it shouldn't even require coercion. Full cooperation or no cash.
That said, I think the context around this is extremely damning for Daszak. I didn't realize this until reading the Wikipedia article on Daszak, but he was the one that organized the Feb 2020 letter in the Lancet condemning suggestions of a lab origin for Covid-19 as conspiracy theories. But how could he do this while conveniently leaving out that his own organization was involved in highly risky coronavirus research?
Again, I don't think this news puts us much closer to uncovering the origins of Covid-19, but it does show how some of these folks leading the charge of "it had to be natural" were at the very least being duplicitous in their communications.
What's not being reported even in this Intercept article is that Fauci and the Eco Health Alliance are heavily involved with each other. One week before Daszak et al released their ridiculous "lab leak is a conspiracy theory" Lancet article, as revealed in Fauci's emails (which supposedly revealed nothing), Fauci had a conference call with Daszak and other Eco Health folks, after discussing the fact that the lab leak hypothesis was gaining traction.
They have a big conference call, the Lancet article is posted a week later.
Here's all the details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNxoVFZwMYw
I know "Bro, just watch this youtube video" is lame-ass evidence in general, but Dr. Martenson has been incredibly data-driven and level-headed throughout the pandemic, is a pro-masker, and his views have evolved over time with new data.
Peak Prosperity was not about prepping much at all until Covid, as far as I know. Dr. Martenson started pushing home gardening and stocking up when covid hit--in fact, he started saying such things in like February 2020--pretty prescient.
Edit to say: I don't think saying the virus came from nature requires any additional proof. The claim that requires extraordinary, indisputable proof is the claim that it was man-made. And I have yet to see it, from this or any source. Just a big compilation of weak, circumstantial evidence.
For a more detailed discussion of the origins of SARS-COV-2 while not directly addressing the leaked DARPA proposal please see: https://virological.org/t/tackling-rumors-of-a-suspicious-or...
They also discuss that the base virus was mostly likely linked to bats in Yunnan province. How it got from Yunnan to Wuhan is a matter of question.
However, if the research was being conducted in the US and accidentally leaked into the population it may have been in circulation for sometime (months) before causing serious illness or disease (mutations).
Tangent, but if it takes this long to learn a fact like that, consider a critical audit of your regular news sources.
E.g. I want to know the different reasonable perspectives on issues/events without entertaining every kooky idea. In this case, I feel like I lumped what seems a plausible concern in with kooky ideas, and so missed the entire non-kooky narrative.
You'll get a lot more "noise", sure, but the signal you do get can be incredibly useful. You learn to place less trust on any individual thing you hear, and get a better bullshit detector as you go. It's well worthwhile, and you'll be surprisingly well informed all without some large entity telling you "what's really happening".
Don't get me wrong, but in online discussions, all too often telling the whole truth makes people ignore your message. That's probably also why dishonest politicians can get populist votes from many people. Whenever you include the material to dig your grave with, people just take that by the horns and stop looking at the rest of your argument even if that disclosure is the reason why you are a qualified expert that should be weighing into the discussion on a given topic.
I don't know the details about this Daszak guy, I only know what you wrote and the comments above yours. Perhaps this does not apply in this situation; that's not for me to say. But I can see why they might not have dug their own grave while trying to communicate a message with honest intentions. It is extremely easy to have subtly wrong wording or just bad luck and get people to ignore everything you said before or after "my lab worked on coronaviruses".
Anyway, this was in Lancet, a scientific publisher, not a mass medium, disclosures of interest are mandatory. I know that in today's age it looks like science papers are just mass media because they're so easy to consume and distribute, but they are not. They're supposed to be rigurous, otherwise people would lose trust in them. Which is exactly what happened in this pandemic: it's a worldwide lack of trust in science, scientists, leaders, governments.
Edit: the problem looks like partisan politics to me. Republicans have been agitating to pressure Daszak, and therefore Democrats are against it.
They also know that if it was their fault, the CCP did a good enough job of scrubbing the evidence that we'll never meet the standard of evidence that would satisfy many of those who choose to take the authority at their word. We're seeing this first-hand in this thread.
An example of this happening is on Wikipedia where one editor in particular seems to have declared it to be a “conspiracy theory” and scrubs every mention of it. The editor in question scrubs talk pages and their own talk page, thus effectively preventing any kind of consensus forming, which is out of the ordinary for Wikipedia. They have remarkable stamina, and thus can our out-wait other editors.
Wikipedia seems to be one example of a much bigger effort to suppress discussion of a potential lab leak.
>> Vincent Racaniello, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University, was adamant that the proposal did not change his opinion that the pandemic was caused by a natural spillover from animals to humans. “There are zero data to support a lab origin ‘notion,’” Racaniello wrote in an email.
There seems to be zero data to support his spillover idea too. But now we have documentation of people wanting to do the exact experiments that could lead to this, and he's still sticking to his fantasy.
I dont think the point here is to definitively determine the origin of this virus, it's to point to the fact that unchecked scientists are wanting to do exactly the kind of experiments that could kill us all. IIRC an Ebola gene was successfully put in a flu virus years ago but contained - hemorrhagic influenza anyone?
This stuff needs to stop.
Interviewer: You say these are diverse coronaviruses and you can’t vaccinate against them, and no anti-virals — so what do we do?
Daszak: Well I think…coronaviruses — you can manipulate them in the lab pretty easily. Spike protein drives a lot of what happen with coronavirus, in zoonotic risk. So you can get the sequence, you can build the protein, and we work a lot with Ralph Baric at UNC to do this. Insert into the backbone of another virus and do some work in the lab. So you can get more predictive when you find a sequence. You’ve got this diversity. Now the logical progression for vaccines is, if you are going to develop a vaccine for SARS, people are going to use pandemic SARS, but let’s insert some of these other things and get a better vaccine.
more info: https://thebulletin.org/2021/05/the-origin-of-covid-did-peop...