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So... What if China's Wuhan Institute of Virology did leak covid-19?

Bitek

Diamond Member
Aug 2, 2001
9,710
3,864
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To begin, some heavy reading is unfortunately required. Unfortunate, as very few will, and less will then understand the technical material, but it's quite a good read.

Regardless, start here:
Mainstean media, Lightly technical, mostly politics and personality aspects of the story:
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/06/the-lab-leak-theory-inside-the-fight-to-uncover-covid-19s-origins

Key read, story laying out the technical evidence for a lab leak of a manipulated coronavirus being used for investigational study. This story kicked off the recent news cycle looking back into this explanation of origins.

Built off of this technical analysis, originally published April 2020

I'll try to summarize, but you should really read the sources. Mind-blowing.

Two possibilities for cv19's (a bat coronavirus) origins.
1. Animal to human jump, attributed to "wet" markets in Wuhan.

2. Escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), a leading virus research lab, whose research director is a world leader in collection, genetic engineering, and study of bat coronaviruses.

Understand that genetic manipulation of coronaviruses has been common in research in virology for decades. This manipulation is commonly for "gain of function" (GOF), meaning fucking around with the virus to make it more infectious to human cells to understand how it works. Supposedly for future threat recognition and therapeutics. That's what the grant applications claim anyway.

Obviously highly controversial. Banned by Obama in 2014, loosened by Trump in 2017. Ha! You didn't think US taxpayer money would be involved? Did we learn nothing from Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein?



Understand there are thousands of different coronavirus in the wild

Also, there are not that many labs like this in the world. WIV is intended for study of the most dangerous viruses, only two others like in the world (both US.)

Evidence:
* Covid-19 has some very odd genetic traits, and it's an outlier in it's features and epidemiology.

* No close genetic relation found in known discoveries.
-The virus is 96% similar to a sequence discovered by WIV in bats in southwest China a 1000 miles from Wuhan a decade ago. Also used in WIV published papers in engineering/GOF studies.

*But, CV19's spike protein is specifically very different tho, although its nearly identical to another animal's spike protein, a Pangolin. Specifically from a sick and dying group seized by Chinese customs agents in early 2019, who were then sampled for study of the illness...

... These pangolins were also 1000 miles from Wuhan and 1000 miles from the bat caves in the west.

*An additional feature, a furin cleavage site, not naturally found in related coronaviruses, but commonly engineered into manipulated viruses to make them more infectious to model human cells is inexplicably present in CV19.

* Even stranger, the type of furin site that is present is a human cell type encoding. Not encoded as you would expect for a bat species

* No animal reservoir for CV19 has yet to be found. Was found within months for SARS and MERS.

* No previous human outbreaks in the far away region the bat virus is endemic to.

* Bats are not sold at the wet markets in Wuhan

* It was winter, and any bats would be hibernating in Dec 2019 when the outbreak started.

* Hospital surveillance did not detect any cases of CV in Wuhan prior to Nov/Dev 2019. No slow build up. Just came out of nowhere then spread like wildfire. No records of infections outside of Wuhan, notably absent in the region host bat species is native to.

* 3 WIV researchers were contemporaneously hospitalized with severe influenza like illness in Nov 2019. Exact illness unknown.

* The Wuhan wild type Covid-19 spike protein is oddly well optimized to human ACE2 cell receptors.
* It's poorly adapted to bat ACE2
- typically when a virus jumps species, it's not well adapted to the new species. It takes mutation and natural selection to refine the virus to it's new target. CV was well tuned out of the gate, but poorly adapted for it's seemingly original host.

- This was the pattern for SARS and MERS. The virus initially sucks at infecting it's new host, it takes time for evolution to do its work, later the virus takes off into an outbreak. Not for covid-19. It hit the ground running in humans, but sucked at infecting it's original host?

* The Wuhan lab was noted for a poor track record for safety

* Chinese govt has been less than transparent with investigations. WIV has sequestered thier virus databases and information on prior research efforts after outbreak. Research director has been caught in notable lies. In knowledge of the original bat sequence for example.

* Overall, there is strong circumstantial evidence that WIV was using their unique bat virus as a vector, which they engineered with a new Spike protein from a recently acquired Pangolin sample, further tweaked with a furin cleavage site in order to make it more infectious in human cell based models they commonly use for their studies. They've published many papers describing such methods and techniques...

Highly plausible a researcher studying the construct could have been infected, or someone fucked up, and the virus escaped the lab and led to an outbreak in the local city.


OR.. we have to believe that somehow a rare bat virus recombined with pango virus a thousand miles away, then traveled to an out of season wet market another thousand miles away, meanwhile also independently evolving a furin site, but managed not to infect anyone along the way until it showed up in Wuhan. Totally by coincidence, a town with a leading bat coronavirus investigation lab... One of a few Biosafety Level 4 labs in the world.
 
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brandonbull

Diamond Member
May 3, 2005
5,965
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Other than Democrats and various news and social media outlets using it for political gain to label conservatives/GOP as a bunch of racist, science denying, conspiracy nuts, I guess not much. Orange man bad and "draining the swamp" is dumb.
 

rommelrommel

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2002
3,061
658
146
Other than Democrats and various news and social media outlets using it for political gain to label conservatives/GOP as a bunch of racist, science denying, conspiracy nuts, I guess not much. Orange man bad and "draining the swamp" is dumb.
Well, those certainly are all words.



As to the theory, I’ve been following this for a while. While I don’t put any stock in the intentional release theory, I do think the lab leak is quite viable. I don’t know enough to critique the fine details by any means, but it passes the sniff test for me. China is never going to cooperate and has probably destroyed whatever evidence they could, so this needs to be ran down from the outside.
 

Bitek

Diamond Member
Aug 2, 2001
9,710
3,864
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Needless to say, this hypothesis didn't much traction initially. Wet markets were behind SARS and MERS.

China is motivated to keep with this theory.

Virologists don't want to admit potential hubris, and limits future grants and research practices.

Then lying, racist dumbfuck Trump touts the theory and all decent people abhor the hypothesis as xenophobic and political baiting.


But as time goes on, natural sources can't be found, contrarians keep digging, and a new admin comes in, the lab leak theory gets additional support.
 
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Bitek

Diamond Member
Aug 2, 2001
9,710
3,864
136
Well, those certainly are all words.



As to the theory, I’ve been following this for a while. While I don’t put any stock in the intentional release theory, I do think the lab leak is quite viable. I don’t know enough to critique the fine details by any means, but it passes the sniff test for me. China is never going to cooperate and has probably destroyed whatever evidence they could, so this needs to be ran down from the outside.
Intentional release is too clever and sinister by half. Maybe fine for a movie, too illogical for real life.

People screwing up and nearly wiping ourselves out by sheer hubris and stupidity?
As a human trait as there is one.
 
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senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
35,038
5,125
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So... Nothing. That's why everyone is tacitly OK going with the wet market theory. Because what are you going to do if it's a China lab's fault? Sue China and send them a bill, which they won't pay, then what? You either play tough and bring down the global economy with a massive sanctions and trade war (you think inflation is high now, it's nothing compared to what it would be without Chinese imports), or you back down and look weak. Everyone wants to do business in China or make their stuff in China, no one wants to rock the boat except the usual people who like to watch the world burn so they can extract some personal political advantage from the charred remains. It's in everyone else's interest to sweep this under the rug and move on. Sorry, life isn't fair sometimes.
 
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rommelrommel

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2002
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So... Nothing. That's why everyone is tacitly OK going with the wet market theory. Because what are you going to do if it's a China lab's fault? Sue China and send them a bill, which they won't pay, then what? You either play tough and bring down the global economy with a massive sanctions and trade war (you think inflation is high now, it's nothing compared to what it would be without Chinese imports), or you back down and look weak. Everyone wants to do business in China or make their stuff in China, no one wants to rock the boat except the usual people who like to watch the world burn so they can extract some personal political advantage from the charred remains. It's in everyone else's interest to sweep this under the rug and move on. Sorry, life isn't fair sometimes.
Maybe in the short term, but it’s not in the long term. China wants a new order in which they have global hegemony. If they can get away with an accident like this and the world is too shit scared of even trying to figure out what really happened it just emboldens them to go further. China ceased to be a reasonable actor a while ago. They’re also committing genocide, prepping to invade Taiwan, stealing the SCS, and much more. Letting them off on this one is like letting the Nazis chop up Czechoslovakia.
 

Meghan54

Lifer
Oct 18, 2009
10,279
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Letting them off on this one is like letting the Nazis chop up Czechoslovakia.
Or like the way Russia “absorbed” Georgia couple decades ago…to the “tsk, tsk” of the world. And in the end, the same thing’s probably going to happen with this as did with Georgia. Lots of concern, frothy language, and then…….

nada changes
 

WelshBloke

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
28,264
5,313
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So... Nothing. That's why everyone is tacitly OK going with the wet market theory. Because what are you going to do if it's a China lab's fault? Sue China and send them a bill, which they won't pay, then what?
Why would anything be done if it's an accident anyway?
Did anyone do anything to Russia after Chernobyl? Or Japan after Fukushima?
 

cytg111

Lifer
Mar 17, 2008
16,858
6,627
136
I cant find anything on this, cause google-fu skills sucks I am sure... BUT, why is the lab located in Wuhan? Motive for the question is obvious.

I think the real story is the unwillingness to cooperate fully, if you cant count on them in this kind of emergency, how to you cooperate going forward? You cant.
 

cytg111

Lifer
Mar 17, 2008
16,858
6,627
136
Why would anything be done if it's an accident anyway?
Did anyone do anything to Russia after Chernobyl? Or Japan after Fukushima?
Nothing would be done per se to China, but it WOULD be used as a prop "C-C-C-C-China Virus" as part of their next "Jews will not replace us" march. No one in their right mind wants to give the alt-right that prop.. though its already happening, every Fox story on the subject is dripping with this exact whistling.

I mean, basicly what you are saying is that China released the virus in order to deny Trump a second term. Yes? @brandonbull, did I get that right?
 
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Bitek

Diamond Member
Aug 2, 2001
9,710
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Why would anything be done if it's an accident anyway?
Did anyone do anything to Russia after Chernobyl? Or Japan after Fukushima?
At the very least, there should be changes to the standards of research and methods for oversight, as well as the grant approval process.

Reading the story, you will learn that the US govt was routinely funding similar research at the same Wuhan lab through the taxpayer funded grants from NIH and NIAID. (The latter headed by Dr. Fauchi...)

We quite literally paid to kill ourselves... And for what scientific benefit?

Even if it wasn't a leak after all, the methods and toolkit to do this are increasingly common and simple to use.
It's not like building a nuclear weapon, but it's potentially far more destructive.

Right? What's the sense in wringing hands over Iran's nuclear program, meanwhile any meddling lab tech across the globe could build a biological WMD.

Lastly, we help China cover this up, what boundaries are we setting up? None basically. Compete capitulation. We're no braver than Kevin McCarthy.
 
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Bitek

Diamond Member
Aug 2, 2001
9,710
3,864
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Or like the way Russia “absorbed” Georgia couple decades ago…to the “tsk, tsk” of the world. And in the end, the same thing’s probably going to happen with this as did with Georgia. Lots of concern, frothy language, and then…….

nada changes
Something always happens, even when doing nothing. This would become the mother of all conspiracy theories and fuel for anger and mistrust. See below, will happen.

Nothing would be done per se to China, but it WOULD be used as a prop "C-C-C-C-China Virus" as part of their next "Jews will not replace us" march. No one in their right mind wants to give the alt-right that prop.. though its already happening, every Fox story on the subject is dripping with this exact whistling.

I mean, basicly what you are saying is that China released the virus in order to deny Trump a second term. Yes? @brandonbull, did I get that right?
Chernobyl and Fukushima are still local incidents. Japan didn't kill 3m people across the globe. No one outside Japan experienced anything other than watching on TV.

Meanwhile we just raised a generation of children across much of the planet to be terrified of other people and invisible germs. No way this doesn't get stamped onto the collective psyche in ways we can't yet predict.

Just think of the imprint 9/11 and terrorism left, and almost no one directly experienced the the event or know someone who died. That's not true for covid-19.
 

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
28,495
4,109
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Let's suppose it is a laboratory leak. It changes nothing as far as our abysmal response to it.

Sure the consequences may change as far as how we deal with China, but the lab leak theory, even if true, seems very much like a way to deflect from how poorly the whole crisis was handled.
 
Dec 10, 2005
21,289
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As a recent oped in MedPage Today (or maybe MedScape) put it:

If it came from a wet market, fix wet markets and improve BSL 3/4 safety.

If it got out of the lab setting, fox wet markets and improve BSL 3/4 safety.

How the pandemic came to be doesn't change how many fucked up the response. People are latching into lab leak as a way to wag their fingers at China and forget their own culpability in the disaster that unfolded.
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
8,944
3,828
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As a recent oped in MedPage Today (or maybe MedScape) put it:

If it came from a wet market, fix wet markets and improve BSL 3/4 safety.

If it got out of the lab setting, fox wet markets and improve BSL 3/4 safety.

How the pandemic came to be doesn't change how many fucked up the response. People are latching into lab leak as a way to wag their fingers at China and forget their own culpability in the disaster that unfolded.

Surely if it got out of a lab by accident, the response should involve some sort of moratorium on 'gain of function' experiments, at least among those countries that one could hope would abide by such a rule (so, likely wouldn't include China, ironically enough, but still worth doing, surely?).
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
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Not sure if it is even worth saying that the idea that this was released deliberately seems insane. Would have been a massively self-destructive thing to do.
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
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Summary
- We are not 100% sure of the origins of COVID
- Until we know we can all toss out theories
- Lets play what if scenarios

If a virus escaped a laboratory and killed millions of people, what revenge fantasy should we entertain regarding the host country?
If a virus was accidently released from a lab in third world county, how quickly should the United States respond with cruise missiles?
If a virus was accidentally released from a lab in a peer state or first world country, what sort of strongly worded statement should the US make?
 

HomerJS

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
27,902
13,743
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As a recent oped in MedPage Today (or maybe MedScape) put it:

If it came from a wet market, fix wet markets and improve BSL 3/4 safety.

If it got out of the lab setting, fox wet markets and improve BSL 3/4 safety.

How the pandemic came to be doesn't change how many fucked up the response. People are latching into lab leak as a way to wag their fingers at China and forget their own culpability in the disaster that unfolded.
Trumpers are definitely doing this but that doesn't mean we don't need to get at the origin.
 

WelshBloke

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
28,264
5,313
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At the very least, there should be changes to the standards of research and methods for oversight, as well as the grant approval process.
That would be up to the Chinese regulatory bodies rather than the international community.
Reading the story, you will learn that the US govt was routinely funding similar research at the same Wuhan lab through the taxpayer funded grants from NIH and NIAID. (The latter headed by Dr. Fauchi...)
Well we should know what was going on if we were conducting research there ourselves surely?
I mean it's totally up to the US if they want to fund research there instead of in US labs and I'd expect the US to certainly have some oversight in what it's funding!
We quite literally paid to kill ourselves... And for what scientific benefit?
You're jumping to a conclusion there.
Even if it wasn't a leak after all, the methods and toolkit to do this are increasingly common and simple to use.
It's not like building a nuclear weapon, but it's potentially far more destructive.

Right? What's the sense in wringing hands over Iran's nuclear program, meanwhile any meddling lab tech across the globe could build a biological WMD.
I think that the jump to this being engineered as a biological weapon is jumping a long way.
It is getting easier for small actors to engineer biological weapons but that's just something that we are going to have to deal with.

Lastly, we help China cover this up, what boundaries are we setting up? None basically. Compete capitulation. We're no braver than Kevin McCarthy.
Capitulation to what? You want all labs to suspend research into dangerous infectious diseases?
These labs are there to research ways to stop major pandemics. There are going to be many more, and some are going to be much nastier than this one was.
 
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WelshBloke

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
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Meanwhile we just raised a generation of children across much of the planet to be terrified of other people and invisible germs. No way this doesn't get stamped onto the collective psyche in ways we can't yet predict.

You're just privileged to be in an age and geographical area where you, personally, haven't experienced Polio, or Smallpox, or TB, or Ebola, or.... well you get the message.
Its strange that you think that "invisible germs" are something not to be terrified of.
 
Dec 10, 2005
21,289
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Surely if it got out of a lab by accident, the response should involve some sort of moratorium on 'gain of function' experiments, at least among those countries that one could hope would abide by such a rule (so, likely wouldn't include China, ironically enough, but still worth doing, surely?).
Escape from a lab != Engineered

Plenty of natural viruses are studied in labs that are perfectly deadly on their own.
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
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You're just privileged to be in an age and geographical area where you, personally, haven't experienced Polio, or Smallpox, or TB, or Ebola, or.... well you get the message.
Its strange that you think that "invisible germs" are something not to be terrified of.

I'm more scared of the visible germs. You know, those really huge ones that are large enough to see with the naked eye. They freak me out (hmmm....am I the only one who can see those?).
 
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Dec 10, 2005
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Trumpers are definitely doing this but that doesn't mean we don't need to get at the origin.
I agree, finding the origin, if possible is a good thing. The process doesn't need to be a witch hunt to divert blame for mistakes made after it spread.

Additionally, we should look to reduce the chance of other zoonotic outbreaks by limiting places and ways people interact with animals, especially wild ones.
 

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