Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Lab or the Cave, Which Is It to Be?

 Independent-minded scientists continue to study whether the Covid-19 virus originated in a Wuhan lab.  The MIT Technology Review published an article covering the debate over the origin of the virus:

 Petrovksy is a professor at Flinders University, near Adelaide, and he is also founder and chairman of a company called Vaxine that develops immunizations for infectious diseases, among other projects....

After Chinese scientists posted a draft genome of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the disease culprit in Wuhan, Petrovksy—who by this time had put skiing on the back burner to work from his Colorado home office—directed his colleagues down under to run computer modeling studies of the viral sequence, a first step toward designing a vaccine.

This generated a startling result: the spike proteins studding SARS-CoV-2 bound more tightly to their human cell receptor, a protein called ACE2, than target receptors on any other species evaluated. In other words, SARS-CoV-2 was surprisingly well adapted to its human prey, which is unusual for a newly emerging pathogen. “Holy shit, that’s really weird,’” Petrovsky recalls thinking....

As Petrovsky considered whether SARS-CoV-2 might have emerged in lab cultures with human cells, or cells engineered to express the human ACE2 protein, a letter penned by 27 scientists appeared suddenly on February 19 in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. The authors insisted that SARS-CoV-2 had a natural origin, and they condemned any alternate hypotheses as conspiracy theories that create only “fear, rumors, and prejudice.” Article

Petrovksy says he found the letter infuriating....

 A lab-escaped virus, meanwhile, would have been introduced to the world by a researcher or technician who became infected with it. These sorts of lab leaks have happened before, and were implicated in several cases of community transmission during SARS outbreaks in the early 2000s. In 2017, the Wuhan Institute of Virology became the first lab in mainland China to receive a Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) designation, the highest security status for a research space. But the institute also has a history of questionable safety practices. The lab’s scientists reported a lack of appropriately trained technicians and investigators at the facility, prompting US diplomatic scientists who visited in 2017 and 2018 to alert the State Department. At the same time, many scientists have pointed out, particularly in the aftermath of a recent, and for some, contentious, examination of the lab-leak hypothesis in New York magazine, that coronaviruses have typically been handled at BSL-2 or BSL-3—lower security levels....

 Petrovsky leans towards another potential scenario, namely that SARS-CoV-2 might be evolved from coronaviruses that snuck into lab cultures. Related viruses in the same culture, he explains, such as one optimized for human ACE2 binding and another not, can swap genetic material to create new strains. “We’ve had this sort of thing happen in our own lab,” he says. “One day, you’re culturing flu, and then one day you sequence it, and you go, ‘Holy shit, where did this other virus come from in our culture?’ Viruses are evolving the whole time, and it’s easy for a virus to get into your culture without you knowing it.”...

Then there is Dr. Peter Dascack, the Defender of the Faith and would-be Minister of Covid-19 Science.  He is the leading advocate of gain-of-function research in the scientific community.  He had just a little bit more than a conflict of interest: 

 Perhaps no one played a greater role in galvanizing scientific opinions in support of natural origins than Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a New York–based environmental health nonprofit. A longtime Wuhan Institute of Virology collaborator, Daszak—who, in what many sources described as a conflict of interest, was a member of the WHO-led team that visited China earlier this year—received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health to collaborate on research at the Chinese lab. (The Trump administration abruptly cut off this funding in April 2020, but it was later reinstated with new restrictions.) Daszak is purported to have written a first draft of the Lancet statement condemning hypotheses other than natural origins as conspiracy theories. 

He led the charge in shutting down all discussion about a lab leak hypothesis last year.  His attacks on such lab-leak proponents were so vicious that it is reasonable to wonder if he was following the old adage that the best defense was a good offense.  In other words, did he have something to hide?

 When asked why he thought Daszak and others pushed so strongly against the possibility of a lab leak, Relman says they may have wanted to deflect perceptions of their work as endangering humankind. With so-called “gain of function” experiments, for instance, scientists genetically manipulate viruses to probe their evolution—sometimes in ways that boost virulence or transmissibility. This sort of research can reveal targets for drugs and vaccines for viral diseases, including covid-19, and was used at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in studies showing that certain bat coronaviruses were just a few mutations away from being able to bind to human ACE2. A 2015 paper in Nature Medicine notes that the “potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens.”... 

Relman proposes that among those trying to suppress the lab-release hypothesis, there might have been “far too much protection of one’s self and one’s peers before allowing a really important question to receive a hearing.” And scientists collaborating with researchers in China “might worry about their working relationship if they say anything other than ‘This threat comes from nature.’”

Other scientists say opposition to the lab-leak hypothesis was grounded more in a general disbelief that SARS-CoV-2 could have been deliberately engineered. “

It is perfectly reasonable to ask if the virus came from a lab or was created through gain of function research.  Unfortunately, the polarization of society extends to science today.  Asking such questions immediately draws racism attacks and accusations of support for you know who.  The origin of the virus will probably never be known as it is simply too much to expect the Chinese to be honest about such a matter.  They didn't throw those scientists and journalists in prison for nothing, after all. However, that does not mean all possibilities should be explored.  



Anonymous said...

Sounds like a big cover-up to me. Obviously Those scientists are afraid that they're money might be cut off if they dig too deep into what the origin of the Woohan virus is.

Calm Down said...

Regardless of whether it was the lab or some other source, the censorship of big media forbidding discussion is a huge red flag for what's in our future. My money is accidental from the lab, fyi.

Anonymous said...

The Chinese have figured out how to own the WHO, UN, WTO, EU, Africa, Hollywood, the NBA, etc. Watch the Frontline special on this coer-up.

Meanwhile we are focused on making sure we don't hurt anyone's feelings by making them feel unsafe and triggered and moving baseball games because Stacey Abrams said to. The commies do not care about opinions and they will own all of us next if we don't stop screwing around. Ask Hong Kong how it's working for them. Wake up!

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to make a movie about this.

The lab people versus the nature people in a nunchuck fight. All the doctors should be Chinese actors but the audio should be done by people with Swedish accents, and obviously, slightly out of synch.

It would need a graphic orgy scene between a Trump child (or two), a Kardashian-Jenner (or three), Hunter Biden, and Matt Gaetz, with a running commentary by Sean Hannity, Anderson Cooper, and of course, Chris Christie and Rahm Emanuel. In the final climatic battle, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell would fight to the death with their podiums and walkers. The surprise twist ending would be AOC shooting the winner with an ARK-1547 with a 63-round magazine and a silencer that she bought with bitcoin at a flea market in the Bronx with a fake Georgia ID.

The closing credits would show the REAL twist ending: AOC drives away in a gas-guzzling 197O Cadillac with a 500 that she ordered from Amazon, meets up with Fauci and Birx, and they all go to the new Guy Fieri joint, "farmed Owls" at Mar-a-Lago, where he solar-cooks them some disease-ridden bat intestines and they all try to eat and snort amyl nitrate poppers while wearing masking. Richard Nixon masks.

And before anyone says anything, I didn't include anything about QAnon because this is a drama and I didn't want to include anything outlandish or silly.

RIP, Dr. Thompson, you gonzo bastard. This movie is your legacy. I tried to post something back in February but the stick-in-the-mud that runs this shithouse apparently didn't like that one. Fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

Just another Chinese export to the gluttons in the United States. Their interest is domination, ours is self-immolation. We're being looted by a conqueror without direct invasion. There is always room for more in the dustbin of history.

Anonymous said...

I’ve been saying the same thing 10:26 has been saying for years. China is going to own us. And the weak knees Republicans and the progressive/socialist/communist democrats are ushering China in to our BORDER. I do t care about hurting feelings. Go to another country and see how they feel about Americans.

Anonymous said...

this goes way way back. right about the time corporate leaders decided to close manufacturing here to make more money by exporting the work to cheap labor markets.

after all- if the consumer can buy a pair of shoes for 100-china made brings widgetco 45 profit, but if widgetco made them in the usa they only make 40 a pair...what do the stockholders say???

Anonymous said...

Don’t you ever get tired of selling your petty followers a big basket of grievances? Tucker Carlson, you are not.

Anonymous said...

Don’t you ever get tired of ...

ONE thing that is locked down and certain is that you'll show up to anonymously complain about something over which you have ZERO control. Enjoy your petty pathetic day!

Anonymous said...

Will someone please pass out tinfoil hats to those posting on this discussion.

Anonymous said...

"Will someone please pass out tinfoil hats..."

Maybe tinfoil masks would be better.

I wonder what the rest of the world would do if it were conclusively proven (or at least the FACTS conclusively and strongly indicated) that COVID was lab-created in China as either a weapon or just by an accident.

JT said...

Anyone who doesn’t believe this came directly from a Chinese lab are numb on both ends. WuHan is the home to the largest Bio-Weapons labs in all of China. And one of the largest money contributors to this network is The United States. All the real reasoning is pushed under the rug by the World Health Organizations (who is owned by the Chinese) There are reasons to believe the Chinese are trying to autoimmune parts of their standing army. This is simply the communist doctrine ( always blame your enemy for what you are doing)These communists have infiltrated most of Africa, Europe and Eastern Europe. Now every college, corporation, and sports organization as well as the media in America have been duped by the lies. It was all bought and paid with American dollars pumped into China for the cheap labor by people who think communism wasn’t that bad! And it will not be expelled unless people are willing to think and do the unthinkable.

Anonymous said...

And half this websites posters are lined up to take a vaccine funded and created by the same people who funded and created the virus

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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