A worker in protective coverings directs members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team on their arrival at the airport in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on Thursday. Photo: AP/Ng Han Guan
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WHO team arrives in Wuhan to search for pandemic origins

97 Comments
By SAM McNEIL and HUIZHONG WU

A global team of researchers arrived Thursday in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to conduct a politically sensitive investigation into its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries.

The 10-member team sent to Wuhan by the World Health Organization was approved by President Xi Jinping's government after months of diplomatic wrangling that prompted an unusual public complaint by the head of the WHO.

Scientists suspect the virus that has killed 1.9 million people since late 2019 jumped to humans from bats or other animals, most likely in China's southwest. The ruling Communist Party, stung by complaints it allowed the disease to spread, says the virus came from abroad, possibly on imported seafood, but scientists reject that.

The team arrived at the Wuhan airport a little past 11 a.m. on a bright-yellow Scoot jet and walked through a makeshift clear plastic tunnel into the airport. The researchers, who only wore face masks, were greeted by airport staff in full protective gear, complete with mask, goggles and full body suits.

The team members include virus and other experts from the United States, Australia, Germany, Japan, Britain, Russia, the Netherlands, Qatar and Vietnam.

A government spokesman said this week they will "exchange views" with Chinese scientists but gave no indication whether they would be allowed to gather evidence.

They will undergo a two-week quarantine as well as a throat swab test and an antibody test for COVID-19, according to CGTN, the English-language channel of state broadcaster CCTV. They are to start working with Chinese experts via video conference while in quarantine.

China rejected demands for an international investigation after the Trump administration blamed Beijing for the virus's spread, which plunged the global economy into its deepest slump since the 1930s.

After Australia called in April for an independent inquiry, Beijing retaliated by blocking imports of Australian beef, wine and other goods.

One possibility is that a wildlife poacher might have passed the virus to traders who carried it to Wuhan, one of the WHO team members, zoologist Peter Daszak of the U.S. group EcoHealth Alliance, told the Associated Press in November.

A single visit by scientists is unlikely to confirm the virus's origins; pinning down an outbreak's animal reservoir is typically an exhaustive endeavor that takes years of research including taking animal samples, genetic analysis and epidemiological studies.

"The government should be very transparent and collaborative," said Shin-Ru Shih, director at the Research Center for Emerging Viral Infections at Taiwan's Chang Gung University.

The Chinese government has tried to stir confusion about the virus's origin. It has promoted theories, with little evidence, that the outbreak might have started with imports of tainted seafood, a notion rejected by international scientists and agencies.

"The WHO will need to conduct similar investigations in other places," an official of the National Health Commission, Mi Feng, said Wednesday.

Some of the WHO team were en route to China a week ago but had to turn back after Beijing announced they hadn't received valid visas.

That might have been a "bureaucratic bungle," but the incident "raises the question if the Chinese authorities were trying to interfere," said Adam Kamradt-Scott, a health expert at the University of Sydney.

A possible focus for investigators is the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the city where the outbreak began. One of China's top virus research labs, it built an archive of genetic information about bat coronaviruses after the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

According to WHO's published agenda for its origins research, there are no plans to assess whether there might have been an accidental release of the coronavirus at the Wuhan lab, as some American politicians, including President Donald Trump, have claimed.

A "scientific audit" of Institute records and safety measures would be a "routine activity," said Mark Woolhouse, an epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh. He said that depends on how willing Chinese authorities are to share information.

"There's a big element of trust here," Woolhouse said.

An AP investigation found the government imposed controls on research into the outbreak and bars scientists from speaking to reporters.

The coronavirus's exact origin may never be traced because viruses change quickly, said Woolhouse.

Although it may be challenging to find precisely the same COVID-19 virus in animals as in humans, discovering closely related viruses might help explain how the disease first jumped from animals and clarify what preventive measures are needed to avoid future epidemics.

Scientists should focus instead on making a "comprehensive picture" of the virus to help respond to future outbreaks, Woolhouse said.

"Now is not the time to blame anyone," Shih said. "We shouldn't say, it's your fault."

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


97 Comments

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That place has been scrubbed so clean you will find zip except the official narrative.

33 ( +36 / -3 )

After one year later ? LOL...

29 ( +30 / -1 )

All they'll find is Xi's version of a Potemkin village.

20 ( +25 / -5 )

Why is this article so biased and hateful against China? At least they took a serious measures to stop the Spread within China while all other big and rich countries continue to spread the virus while caring only about money.

-42 ( +4 / -46 )

“Now is not the time to blame anyone," Shih said. “We shouldn’t say, it’s your fault.”

You misspelled the name. It's actually "Shhhhhhhh." To pronounce it correctly, put your index finger to your lips.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

After China has had a year to sterilise the scene? Remeber China's reaction to Australias's call for an investigation? Good luck with that...

25 ( +28 / -3 )

If covid-19 had started in the US, do you think Trump would have allowed the WHO to come in and investigate?

-18 ( +7 / -25 )

The fact that it’s taken so long to get this thing underway speaks volumes, as does their reaction to the requests for an independent investigation of which unfortunately this is not. China will do what communist regimes have to do in order to survive. Fight to the bitter death to control the narrative, no matter how ridiculous the spin may be. By nature they cannot openly face the reality of what has transgressed, soot will be interesting to see how this thing plays out. Stakes couldn’t be higher too.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Kind of like waiting four years for admittance and looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction, huh ?

5 ( +11 / -6 )

"Now is not the time to blame anyone,"

Not now but later. And it depends on how culpable the "anyone" in question is. If the pandemic is the result of illicit and unethical conduct by certain individuals, then, yeah, bring on blame. And long jail sentences. How else are they going to prevent further outbreaks?

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Why is this article so biased and hateful against China?

Many countries have failed miserably and that is on their own management of it. However, China failed to contain it at the start and were not even close to forthcoming with information which could have assisted countries around the globe to get a handle on it... they deserve a finger or two being pointed at them.

29 ( +30 / -1 )

So funny, bats funny, like China hasn't cleared the way or an interment camp until they honestly on video admit it's all a charade made up by western countries totally bats.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

China, knowing there was a mass infection occurring STILL allowed their citizens to travel abroad!

Why?

26 ( +28 / -2 )

Crime scene has been cleared evidence been gone.

China's accepting the researcher to the country has nothing to do with the pandemic anymore. It's about coal from Australia.

After Australia called in April for an independent inquiry, Beijing retaliated by blocking imports of Australian beef, wine and other goods.

Now they have a persistent power shortages (even rationed electricity), they're desperately needed the coal which the other countries could not supply. Solving the dispute is one way of saving faces so they can resume the normal trade with Australia.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

A single visit by scientists is unlikely to confirm the virus's origins; pinning down an outbreak's animal reservoir is typically an exhaustive endeavor that takes years of research including taking animal samples, genetic analysis and epidemiological studies.

This is the main point of the work, this is not an expedition that aims to find a smoking gun in a couple of weeks of work, this particular investigation only means the beginning of the work that eventually will clarify the origin of the pandemic in a scientific way and hopefully will help prevent it happening again.

Out of total ecologic devastation of the whole area there is little that the Chinese government can do to hide the evidence permanently, we are not talking about finding patient zero like in the movies but collecting thousands and thousands of samples all around the place, see if similar viruses can be found, if people that were immune even before the pandemic began, checking how humans are exposed to other viruses (even if they don't produce disease) etc.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

WHO being its usual effective self.

In the meantime we are seeing significant outbreaks in China again.  As in the rest of the world.  This virus is here to stay. 

Whatever the initial cause, we better learn to live with it.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

That 2-week-quarantine is just already the first complete interference. lol

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Masquerade or is a maskarade ?

Nothing going to be found nothing conclusive that's why they were allowed in.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

virusrexToday  03:43 pm JST

A single visit by scientists is unlikely to confirm the virus's origins; pinning down an outbreak's animal reservoir is typically an exhaustive endeavor that takes years of research including taking animal samples, genetic analysis and epidemiological studies.

This is the main point of the work, this is not an expedition that aims to find a smoking gun in a couple of weeks of work, this particular investigation only means the beginning of the work that eventually will clarify the origin of the pandemic in a scientific way and hopefully will help prevent it happening again. 

Out of total ecologic devastation of the whole area there is little that the Chinese government can do to hide the evidence permanently, we are not talking about finding patient zero like in the movies but collecting thousands and thousands of samples all around the place, see if similar viruses can be found, if people that were immune even before the pandemic began, checking how humans are exposed to other viruses (even if they don't produce disease) etc.

You're assuming that China would cooperate to an extent that would enable the investigators to collect enough evidence to draw useful conclusions. That's unlikely to happen under the CCP.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Hope they enjoy the guided tour...

16 ( +16 / -0 )

USNinJapan2Today  04:16 pm JST

Hope they enjoy the guided tour...

Wine me, dine, covid one-nine me.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

China has asserted that the virus was carried by bats and somehow the virus then spread in a market in Wuhan.

It should be a simple quest to locate the same species of bat from the same region, test them and find the Corona virus.

If this is not done then the whole visit would be suspect and would point the way to other more outlandish theories eg a bioweapon etc

5 ( +8 / -3 )

You're assuming that China would cooperate to an extent that would enable the investigators to collect enough evidence to draw useful conclusions. That's unlikely to happen under the CCP.

No, I am not, that is why I clearly wrote "hide the evidence permanently" this is a work to be done over years, the government can hinder, slow down, make tedious or frustrating the sample collection, but unless it burns down completely a couple of provinces the evidence will be there waiting as it has been since before civilization exist. The same thing happened with the SARS scare, sampling may take longer, but as long as the natural habitat is there then all is just about waiting enough.

The easiest thing they could do to interrupt the work is simply not letting it start, that already happened.

It should be a simple quest to locate the same species of bat from the same region, test them and find the Corona virus.

The same species of bas as which one? nobody even knows if the bats are actually the reservoirs (likely but not yet corroborated) much less which of the 100 species that can be found in China would be the one. Also, it may surprise you but not all individuals of a species carry the same pathogens, so it is perfectly possible that researchers would need to sample several members of a specific colony to find out the evolutionary link, with the added difficulty that nobody actually knows what exactly is that link, they may find dozens of different coronaviruses all slightly different from the SARS-CoV-2, it would not be as simple as finding one and declare the work done.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

@kurisupisu

If this is not done then the whole visit would be suspect and would point the way to other more outlandish theories eg a bioweapon etc

There is evidence that the virus was man-made to spread more quickly. Just have to find uncensored sources of info.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

Vaccines are the second greatest contributor to human health in history. Anyone saying vaccines are dangerous are spreading lies and have malice aforethought.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

According to WHO's published agenda for its origins research, there are no plans to assess whether there might have been an accidental release of the coronavirus at the Wuhan lab

That's too bad, as everything points to the Wuhan lab.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

There is evidence that the virus was man-made to spread more quickly. Just have to find uncensored sources of info.

There is no such thing, much less scientific one, there is no realistic possibility that every expert in the world (except a couple of known cranks) would say the opposite. There is no need for humans to get involved in a process that happens naturally, and it is not possible either that any human effort can be equal to what naturally happens continuously every day that facilitates this.

That's too bad, as everything points to the Wuhan lab.

That is false, only antiscientific conspiracy theorists think that, the scientific consensus is that is hugely more likely that the virus jumped naturally in one of the millions of interactions that humans and animals have in China regularly, the same as countless other examples including the 2 previously known highly pathogenic coronaviruses, none of which is even thought to be originated in any lab.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

If this is not done then the whole visit would be suspect and would point the way to other more outlandish theories eg a bioweapon etc

Yeah, some people say it was a bioweapon, but others say it might have been an engineered virus for vaccine applications.

Luc Montagnier (2008 Nobel Prize for his discovery of the HIV) recently explained (in French) that he believes the Wuhan lab was trying to create a vaccine against HIV, by engineering a weakened corona virus (that would explain all the asymptomatics) to express HIV genes. He believes that before they realized the potential consequences, the vaccine (i.e. SARSCoV2) either leaked out or they made a trial run. 

https://www.francesoir.fr/opinions-tribunes/le-defi-de-la-verite-luc-montagnier-prix-nobel-de-medecine

Cue to the usual comments trying to discredit this virus expert.

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

That's too bad, as everything points to the Wuhan lab.

You are consistent with your love of conspiracy theories. I’ll give you that. No pick and mix for you.

Are you sure ‘everything points to the Wuhan lab’? That’s not what I’ve read. Can you post something with real weight like a YouTube video?

8 ( +13 / -5 )

The CCP will have erased and hidden all the evidence. This investigative team will just waste their time. China will never be a transparent or trustworthy country. Mr Tedros had the courage to criticise China for the unnecessary delays regarding visas. This is all a big circus!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

WHO is wasting donated money as always.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Yeah, some people say it was a bioweapon, but others say it might have been an engineered virus for vaccine applications.

What both of those people have in common is that neither have any evidence of their imaginations and actually there is numerous evidence that point to the opposite conclusion, something that they work very hard to ignore because none has even tried to discuss that evidence, mostly because they cannot understand it,

Luc Montagnier (2008 Nobel Prize for his discovery of the HIV) recently explained (in French) that he believes the Wuhan lab was trying to create a vaccine against HIV, by engineering a weakened corona virus (that would explain all the asymptomatics) to express HIV genes. He believes that before they realized the potential consequences, the vaccine (i.e. SARSCoV2) either leaked out or they made a trial run. 

Yes, that would be a good example of the kind of cranks that have been repeatedly proved wrong with respect to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, none of his arguments make sense, and some require that every single coronavirus in existence (including some that have been identified since before the HIV was even found) is bioengineered, because they all have this supposed "HIV genes". Obviously he is wrong, and has been wrong since a long time before the pandemic, it has been ridiculed since the time he proposed that DNA is an electromagnetic antenna (and other crazy things on the same level)

Let me copy against the same link I always put when you try to misrepresent this poor person that lost his mind years ago, the same link that you can never discuss because it documents very well why he is wrong and no longer someone that anybody should be listening to. Maybe this time you will give it a try.

https://science.thewire.in/the-sciences/luc-montagnier-coronavirus-wuhan-lab-pseudoscience/

8 ( +15 / -7 )

I wish there was a way of giving virusrex's posts dozens of +, but unfortunately I can only give one at a time. It's really encouraging and even comforting to read your scientific-minded and factual comments here.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Also +1 for virusrex and science.

For the conspiracy loons and deniers; thumb down, scroll down. No point at all in engaging with them at this stage.

Kenneth Copeland didn’t pray hard enough, but he might get a best metal vocalist Grammy.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Oh, so you gave a +1 for "science" to someone for calling the 2008 Nobel Laureate (for his discovery of the HIV) a hack. Riiiight....

No, I didn’t. But I gave you a thumb down.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

virusrexToday  04:54 pm JST

You're assuming that China would cooperate to an extent that would enable the investigators to collect enough evidence to draw useful conclusions. That's unlikely to happen under the CCP.

*No, I am not, that is why I clearly wrote "hide the evidence permanently" this is a work to be done over years, the government can hinder, slow down, make tedious or frustrating the sample collection, but unless it burns down completely a couple of provinces the evidence will be there waiting as it has been since before civilization exist. The same thing happened with the SARS scare, sampling may take longer, but as long as the natural habitat is there then all is just about waiting enough.*

The easiest thing they could do to interrupt the work is simply not letting it start, that already happened.

They can't hide it permanently, but they'll do their darnedest to obfuscate along the way until the investigators either give up or the CCP throws them some kind of ambiguous bone. The CCP has a lot at stake here beyond just the findings of a virus investigation - economic power and the political stability that such power maintains. If other countries start seriously disengaging from China should the investigation reveal a cover-up or even deliberate release, things could get twitchy on the home front. For example, their refusal to let Australian coal in has been causing power shortages during the cold of winter. They might be able to get away with at for one season, but another winter? Who knows.

Look, somewhere down the track some scientists may find something conclusive, but that's likely only years down the track, and would only be denied vociferously by the CCP in any case if it implicates them in some way.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Oh, so you gave a +1 for "science" to someone for calling the 2008 Nobel Laureate (for his discovery of the HIV) a hack. Riiiight....

He gave you a link verifying what he said, and asked you to address it. Do you intend to?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

At issue is not merely the originality but also the initial (mis-) handling of local authorities. Don't let the fact-finding mission to give easily an indulgence to Beijing.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Virusrex, I hope you are right about the virus being not human-made or not human-accelerated, but then why China is covering up? Also, coincidence about Wuhan lab and their coronavirus research and the first known city where it got spread is pretty suspicious already. I think these facts multiply the probability of human factor by many times.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

At issue is not merely the originality but also the initial (mis-) handling of local authorities. Don't let the fact-finding mission to give easily an indulgence to Beijing.

Totally agree with you.

Also... virusrex, I kind of wish you could just twist the knife (figuratively speaking)... but short of them being banned by the powers that be I'm not sure there is anything that could put an end to these guys trying to promote proven falsehoods all the time. Thank you for your continued efforts.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

*sceptical**: desperately needed the coal which the other countries could not supply. Solving the dispute is one way of saving faces so they can resume the normal trade with Australia*

China’s coal ship hostage diplomacy is already forcing Australia to tone down the rhetoric and rein in loose cannon MPs who still haven’t figured out which side Australia’s bread is buttered on. ‘Face’; bah humbug! It’s all about the Benjamins and a textbook lesson about kowtowing hypocrisy.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/jan/14/labor-fears-humanitarian-crisis-on-australian-coal-ships-stranded-off-china

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The Wuhan lab has published numerous papers on gain-of-function experiments on coronaviruses.

Nobel Laureate Montagnier is a virus expert, and he has worked in China.

The only "proof" they offer that the virus is natural are claims of the absence of proof of manipulation. That is not proof!

-10 ( +8 / -18 )

They've had a year or more to shred all the papers, delete the files, scrub and disinfect the place, relocate or disappear the personnel involved, and cover everything up.

There is little chance that anything will be found to incriminate them, unless a whistle-blower willing to risk their life and that of their family comes forward and exposes what happened.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

oyatoiToday  06:53 pm JST

**sceptical**: desperately needed the coal which the other countries could not supply. Solving the dispute is one way of saving faces so they can resume the normal trade with Australia**

China’s coal ship hostage diplomacy is already forcing Australia to tone down the rhetoric and rein in loose cannon MPs who still haven’t figured out which side Australia’s bread is buttered on. ‘Face’; bah humbug! It’s all about the Benjamins and a textbook lesson about kowtowing hypocrisy. 

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/jan/14/labor-fears-humanitarian-crisis-on-australian-coal-ships-stranded-off-china

The ball's in China's court with this one. The backbenchers you're complaining about have the high moral ground here, because the coal embargo is China's way of punishing Australia for having the temerity to demand an inquiry into the origins of the pandemic. But rather than be open, in typical fashion the CCP went into turbo toddler mode, eventually triggering this "humanitarian crisis" or whatever Labor and the Guardian call it. The onus is not on Australia to back down.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

The Wuhan lab has published numerous papers on gain-of-function experiments on coronaviruses. 

Nobel Laureate Montagnier is a virus expert, and he has worked in China.

That isn't proof.

The only "proof" they offer that the virus is natural are claims of the absence of proof of manipulation. That is not proof!

Strange thing about proof is that it is ALWAYS the accuser that needs to provide it.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

They can't hide it permanently, but they'll do their darnedest to obfuscate along the way until the investigators either give up or the CCP throws them some kind of ambiguous bone.

As it happened with SARS? you obviously don't understand the purpose of the investigation and still think is some kind of bad action movie plot. This is the kind of research that takes long years and several grants usually, if you think that governments making things difficult would make people completely used to this kind of hurdles quit you could not be more wrong, it would be like saying that a police investigation would have to quit just because the accused criminal don't want to cooperate.

There is no "ambiguous" bone to throw, the point is to discover data that down the way would put a coherent picture of what happened, fake data is not coherent so it gets discarded sooner or later until better data (even if less in quantity) is found. Researchers have all the time in the world to analyze anything they find, openly, in collaboration with the whole world, that is what science do.

If other countries start seriously disengaging from China should the investigation reveal a cover-up or even deliberate release

And if they discover the virus comes from unicorns? or aliens? I mean those are also options that are "possible" even if completely out of realistic possibilities, you keep thinking this is some kind of criminal investigation, it is not, it is a much bigger thing, a scientific investigation.

Look, somewhere down the track some scientists may find something conclusive, but that's likely only years down the track, and would only be denied vociferously by the CCP in any case if it implicates them in some way.

Duh!, that is the objective, the whole point of beginning the work right now, to have something a few year (or more) in the future that would be useful, this is not a lame secondary option but the main objective. Also, countries fight scientific conclusions all the time, the US under the previous administration did very frequently, it made no difference.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

> but then why China is covering up? Also, coincidence about Wuhan lab and their coronavirus research and the first known city where it got spread is pretty suspicious already. I think these facts multiply the probability of human factor by many times.

China covers everything that is not beneficial to the government even as a reflex, this would not be different, even when the virus appeared completely naturally that would not make the huge mismanagement that China did suddenly disappear, they have plenty of things to hide without having to thing about conspiracies without base.

Also, the lab is in Wuhan precisely because this is a region where new viruses are isolated routinely, every year new pathogens are described in scientific papers, so it makes all the sense in the world to put a laboratory specialized in this kind of emerging diseases, it makes much more easier to coordinate field work and biohazardous samples don't have to travel hundreds of kilometers to reach the lab.

In a sense is like reading that one laboratory full of very expensive equipment to analyze volcanic eruptions was destroyed precisely in an eruption,

The Wuhan lab has published numerous papers on gain-of-function experiments on coronaviruses.

Nobel Laureate Montagnier is a virus expert, and he has worked in China.

And as the rest of the world they published a very different process of adaptation that was ignored by nature to make a new virus with very inefficient and redundant mutations that nevertheless allowed for human transmission. The reason? even the best lab can only make a few trials per week of gain of function, nature can make millions of them every day thanks to the constant contact between humans with it.

The past of Montagnier is completely irrelevant, his ideas are irrational, have already been proved wrong and he provided absolute no proof of anything he repeated. In science an elementary child with data is above a nobel laureate with nothing. It is of course telling how you could not refute any of the claims of the article linked, they are still there and prove his theories as wrong.

The only "proof" they offer that the virus is natural are claims of the absence of proof of manipulation. That is not proof!

Of course not, the proof is a well described and repeatedly observed natural process that has produced endless times the same result that we observed right now. In comparison the manipulation is something that would leave plenty of evidence that nobody has found, and it is much less likely to actually be possible.

If you see a puddle of water in the road right after heavy rain, and someone says that it is actually a poisonous radioactive liquid that someone secretly put there to kill anybody that walks past it, would you default to believe him? even when there is no evidence of that being true, or even possible to do? This is the same, not finding any proof of this even after looking carefully is a perfectly fine argument to ignore it as an irrational fiction.

They've had a year or more to shred all the papers, delete the files, scrub and disinfect the place, relocate or disappear the personnel involved, and cover everything up.

Good thing that a scientific investigation has absolutely no interest in papers, files, personnel or places that can be disinfected. You are confused between a bad movie plot and what scientists do in an investigation.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

Virusrex, OK, I understand your argument. So is it correct to say that Wuhan city is the most probable place in the world where coronaviruses can start spreading? And, is it correct to say that it was not possible for the virus to start its journey from that lab?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Virusrex, OK, I understand your argument. So is it correct to say that Wuhan city is the most probable place in the world where coronaviruses can start spreading? And, is it correct to say that it was not possible for the virus to start its journey from that lab?

Not the city by itself but the Hubei province (and Hunnan and Yunnan those are also frequently mentioned in papers describing new viruses), Wuhan is just the central city where the population concentrates, it is very likely the first cases were lost in the noise of the normal respiratory infections in some villages, but became obvious once the disease entered a big city.

In science everything is theoretically possible, but in this case it is just much more likely the usual thing happened again, everybody was already expecting it, also there is no real evidence of manipulation. It is not logical to think first on the really difficult possibility when the obvious one is there.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

WHO team arrives in Wuhan to search for pandemic origins

Let me save the WHO team some time by telling them the truth. The Wuhan virus originated in Wuhan. Now if WHO was more interested in public health than carrying the CCP’s water they would have been demanding access to the city last Spring. But for whatever reason they decided to parrot lies put out by the politburo. The Chinese government curtailed domestic travel at the same time they allowed for free travel to international locations. Can WHO investigate that?

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

The consensus of opinion seems to be that the virus spread to humans in one of the markets in China where live animals are kept until slaughtered and eaten. Still, it would not hurt for an investigation to take place, even over a year later. If nothing else, we might find out if the Chinese government's claims that these markets have been eliminated is largely true, or not.

Regarding the desire to consume fresh meat, I think I can understand the issue. A few times we had freshly slaughtered turkey for the holiday, and the improvement in taste was noticeable. Still, from what I have read in Scientific American, this is not the first time that a virus has spread from China to the rest of the world, and the issue needs to be addressed. I do not at all suspect any ill intent on the part of the Chinese, but it sounds like it would be advantageous for the entire human race to change whatever habits are facilitating the spread of viruses from animals to humans in China. BTW, the spread of viruses from animals to humans also takes place frequently in Africa, from what I have read.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Kryonstavic: The backbenchers you're complaining about have the high moral ground here, because the coal embargo is China's way of punishing Australia for having the temerity to demand an inquiry into the origins of the pandemic.

The backbenchers I respect. They do indeed have the high moral ground. It’s those hypocritical Pig Iron Bob wannabes at the apex of the power pyramid there, who shame the rest with their expediency driven, nauseating and demeaning eagerness to ditch principles and readiness to adopt the cringing, servile attitude of a supplicant paying vassal state tribute to the new hegemon.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Gain of function research is an open secret. As too advances in techniques to disguise the guiding hand.

“Not only that, but they’d figured out how to perform their assembly seamlessly, without any signs of human handiwork. Nobody would know if the virus had been fabricated in a laboratory or grown in nature. Baric called this the “no-see’m method,” and he asserted that it had “broad and largely unappreciated molecular biology applications.”

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Virusrex, thank you! BTW, do you know if scientists in labs similar to one in Wuhan are wearing any protective equipment when experimenting with coronaviruses? Also, what would you recommend to do to minimize the risks of similar situations in future? Any comments on WHO and China’s response?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Virusrex, I'm not sure you have grasped the political implications or even the history of this. For one, when SARS came out nearly 20 years ago, China was in quite a different position economically and lacked lacked the political and economic clout it holds today, and SARS had far less impact that the current coronavirus so there was far less at stake for China in terms of cooperation. From what I can gather, the original SARS was more potent but did not spread so easily. Things are very different now, with China's leader a far more belligerent character even than Jiang and this virus far more virulent than SARS if not as potent. But it has caused an enormous amount of economic and health damage across the globe. And while China sealed off Wuhan from the rest of China, it was allowing flights out of the country. Can you explain that away?

As it happened with SARS? you obviously don't understand the purpose of the investigation and still think is some kind of bad action movie plot. This is the kind of research that takes long years and several grants usually, if you think that governments making things difficult would make people completely used to this kind of hurdles quit you could not be more wrong, it would be like saying that a police investigation would have to quit just because the accused criminal don't want to cooperate.

You seem to be getting more desperate with your analogies. The investigators are not cops dealing with some small-time crook. They're dealing with a powerful autocracy whose currency is lies and obfuscation, one that thinks nothing of silencing its own scientists with threats of imprisonment or worse, and so gets the science that suits its political goals. Even a 5-year-old should be able to figure that one out. You seem to think the Chinese scientists will supply good data by the mere virtue of their being scientists. That's a bit rich. In a free society I might agree with you, but they're subject to the CCP's security apparatus and will be very selective about the data they supply. So they'll throw the investigators a bone. Sure, it'll get noticed sooner or later, but checking the data takes up valuable time and resources and drag out the process even further.

And if they discover the virus comes from unicorns? or aliens? I mean those are also options that are "possible" even if completely out of realistic possibilities, you keep thinking this is some kind of criminal investigation, it is not, it is a much bigger thing, a scientific investigation.

LOL! Your hands must be sore from clutching those straws so tight. Do you honestly believe there has been no cover-up? If no cover-up, why is the Chinese government acting like the kid sitting next to the empty cookie jar with chocolate all around his mouth, pointing at the dog? They're retaliating economically and politically against any country that has the temerity to suggest an investigation. That kind of behaviour isn't a strong indicator of innocence now, is it?

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

oyatoiToday  08:16 pm JST

Kryonstavic: The backbenchers you're complaining about have the high moral ground here, because the coal embargo is China's way of punishing Australia for having the temerity to demand an inquiry into the origins of the pandemic.

The backbenchers I respect. They do indeed have the high moral ground. It’s those hypocritical Pig Iron Bob wannabes at the apex of the power pyramid there, who shame the rest with their expediency driven, nauseating and demeaning eagerness to ditch principles and readiness to adopt the cringing, servile attitude of a supplicant paying vassal state tribute to the new hegemon.

Thanks for clarifying that. I agree with you about the Pig Iron Bob types who've sold Australia down the river. Frydenberg knocked China back on the construction company deal, but I reckon if the corona business hadn't been going on, he'd have waved it through without a second thought.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Gain of function research is an open secret. As too advances in techniques to disguise the guiding hand.

The no-see’m method is no super-technique and its not new either, it was optimized over a decade ago and it still requires modification of the genome, the difference with more primitive methods is that it leaves no "restriction enzyme site" (so the DNA cannot be cut again in that site) but very frequently still leaves a new sequence where the segments are ligated (so it can be recognized as artificial). Its like using stitches to join two pieces of cloth instead of putting a zipper there so you can do it repeatedly. It is less obvious but easy to find if you are looking for it.

It is important to say also that this "disguises" only one kind of evidence of genetic manipulation, many other kinds (codon optimization, frames with wildly different rates of mutations, obvious recombination, etc) because the purpose of the technique is not to "hide" the modifications, only to smooth them.

Virusrex, thank you! BTW, do you know if scientists in labs similar to one in Wuhan are wearing any protective equipment when experimenting with coronaviruses? Also, what would you recommend to do to minimize the risks of similar situations in future? Any comments on WHO and China’s response?

It depends on the virus, if it is something without many dangers (a disease with cure or vaccines available, like seasonal influenza) lab coats, mask and gloves is enough, if it is a disease without cure or vaccines, or that is still not know how dangerous is for humans (genetically modified viruses for example) then full disposable coveralls, mask, faceshields, double gloves and a special laboratory with negative air pressure and two locked doors to enter is necessary, for viruses like ebola a whole special building and pressurized suits like for astronauts are a requirement.

Virusrex, I'm not sure you have grasped the political implications or even the history of this. For one, when SARS came out nearly 20 years ago, China was in quite a different position economically and lacked lacked the political and economic clout it holds today, and SARS had far less impact that the current coronavirus so there was far less at stake for China in terms of cooperation.

That is irrelevant, the easiest step to interrupt the investigation is not letting it begin in the first place, that step has already been done, so it is still question of time, the information to be gained can be transmitted easily on internet without problem, so it is not possible to interrupt something that may be found useful without actually destroying completely the whole region. Every single piece of data (of millions) could be important, but scientists will only find it after long time of analysis,

The investigators are not cops dealing with some small-time crook. They're dealing with a powerful autocracy whose currency is lies and obfuscation, one that thinks nothing of silencing its own scientists with threats of imprisonment or worse, and so gets the science that suits its political goals

That still makes no sense, this is a work that takes literally years, of collecting mountains of data that is 99.999% irrelevant and that require thousands of man hours to sift in order to find the details that will be important, how are the chinese going to magically divinate which detail is that? You obviously ignore this, but every day research is done against the interest of the country that tries to control the information, it is not realistically possible to do the whole work of the professionals before them in order to be able to censor them, a lot of times the chinese cannot even do it with their own scientists. Chinese authors publish a lot of things that seem to be innocuous but can be later used against the CCP's interests, at that point there is nothing they can do.

Do you honestly believe there has been no cover-up? If no cover-up, why is the Chinese government acting like the kid sitting next to the empty cookie jar with chocolate all around his mouth, pointing at the dog?

Covering up mismanagement is a terribly bad reason to think an impossible situation is also being covered up, it is completely unjustified and contrary to scientific data to think about an intentional release, it makes no sense, molecular evidence that should be obviously present is not there, so thinking is a real possibility that is being covered is the same as thinking unicorns are the reservoirs, It is simply not the same thing to suspect a terribly obvious covering of mismanagement than to suspect a completely impossible to believe conspiracy to cover an intentional release.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Virusrex, OK, so basically dealing with coronaviruses in the lab is quite dangerous and requires a lot of measures. Why do you think it is un-reasonable to assume that the virus might spread by some accident? Do you know if such experiments are even allowed in other countries?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Virusrex, OK, so basically dealing with coronaviruses in the lab is quite dangerous and requires a lot of measures. Why do you think it is un-reasonable to assume that the virus might spread by some accident? Do you know if such experiments are even allowed in other countries?

The possibility is low not just because people take care, but because nature is a much more likely source.

To think the virus was not introduced naturally in one of the millions of chances it has every day but from a laboratory (something that is the exception) it would be necessary to find the virus is obviously artificial. Since the virus appears to be completely natural then it is not reasonable to think about the exception first and ignore the much more likely possibility.

Its like seeing a few stray dogs in a slum and thinking "maybe that brown one is actually from a variety that has been extinct for thousands of years but that escaped from a cloning laboratory"

Yeah, sure, it is theoretically possible, but the hugely more likely possibility is that that brown dog is just one of the millions of totally usual stray that are in many cities around the world.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Virusex, but can’t it happen that the virus was developed naturally and became relatively widespread among certain animals, but get out of control when analyzed in the lab? I don’t see it obvious that animal-to-human transmission in the wild is more likely than in the lab, where virus is thoroughly extracted and studied on a regular basis.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

virusrex

I don't see the point why WHO should go there...to check what exactly?

If it's not fault of Wuhan laboratory, then what's the point? To check the fact, that unfortunately chinese people are eating everything what wasn't quick enough to escape. Well, as long poverty is playing key role nothing can't be changed.

So please tell me. What exactly WHO can check after one year since outbreak?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

WHO = When How Okay

The WHO ask China

When and where did this virus come from, China I don't know HOW this happened but you are looking at the wrong country. T*he WHO says OKAY! **CHINA ***Investigation OVER!!**

0 ( +6 / -6 )

oyatoiToday  06:53 pm JST

***sceptical**: desperately needed the coal which the other countries could not supply. Solving the dispute is one way of saving faces so they can resume the normal trade with Australia*

China’s coal ship hostage diplomacy is already forcing Australia to tone down the rhetoric and rein in loose cannon MPs who still haven’t figured out which side Australia’s bread is buttered on. ‘Face’; bah humbug! It’s all about the Benjamins and a textbook lesson about kowtowing hypocrisy. 

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/jan/14/labor-fears-humanitarian-crisis-on-australian-coal-ships-stranded-off-china

The ball's in China's court with this one. The backbenchers you're complaining about have the high moral ground here, because the coal embargo is China's way of punishing Australia for having the temerity to demand an inquiry into the origins of the pandemic. But rather than be open, in typical fashion the CCP went into turbo toddler mode, eventually triggering this "humanitarian crisis" or whatever Labor and the Guardian call it. The onus is not on Australia to back down.

The backbenchers I respect. They do indeed have the high moral ground. It’s those hypocritical Pig Iron Bob wannabes at the apex of the power pyramid there, who shame the rest with their expediency driven, nauseating and demeaning eagerness to ditch principles and readiness to adopt the cringing, servile attitude of a supplicant paying vassal state tribute to the new hegemon.

That's why either of the two country has to think of a way out to all the mess they could neither win nor lose.

And this find the origin nonsense is the low-level peace talk they grabbed as a chance. None the less, the result of the search is already inscribed in stone.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

As the Chinese government arrested and accused the Chinese doctor who announced the virus' presence as a liar and traitor, no doubt that they will deny any findings of the WHO team and accuse them of spreading lies too. Didn't they just sentence a local journalist for reporting about the virus as well. And the whole Chinese population will support anything their government says. Blind allegiance to governments and leaders never leads to anything good.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@kyronstavicToday  07:06 pm JST

The ball's in China's court with this one. The backbenchers you're complaining about have the high moral ground here, because the coal embargo is China's way of punishing Australia for having the temerity to demand an inquiry into the origins of the pandemic. But rather than be open, in typical fashion the CCP went into turbo toddler mode, eventually triggering this "humanitarian crisis" or whatever Labor and the Guardian call it. The onus is not on Australia to back down.

Sorry mate, I unintentionally omitted your name in my last post.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They'll likely be spending their nights being wined, dined, and massaged, and spending their days not finding the origins of the virus.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Its amazing what terrible things come out of China.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

It's a reeducation vacation. China freely admits to destroying everything under the canopy of containment and safety at the outbreak. This is just the propaganda machinery being driven to their "Not us!" destination...

5 ( +9 / -4 )

After selling out the China early on it would seem more that they are looking for their credibility

2 ( +7 / -5 )

to China not the China

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This silly idea that the WHO sold out to China is only made by people completely ignorant as to how the WHO works.

I'd like to know how these people think the WHO should have dealt with China, without crippling their ability to work on pandemics across borders.

And if they think that they should have stood up to China, even meaning that China would refuse to let the WHO operate in China, then how would the WHO be expected to offset the loss of being able to operate on a pandemic in an area with 1/5 the population of the planet?

3 ( +9 / -6 )

When a pandemic strikes, never fear! WHO is only a year behind.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I don't see the point why WHO should go there...to check what exactly?

If it's not fault of Wuhan laboratory, then what's the point? To check the fact, that unfortunately chinese people are eating everything what wasn't quick enough to escape. Well, as long poverty is playing key role nothing can't be changed.

So please tell me. What exactly WHO can check after one year since outbreak?

Your problem is thinking a scientific investigation can only possibly want to point fingers, that is terribly short sighted, in reality a scientific investigation collects information to clarify the process that originated the pandemic, what is the reservoir, how likely it is for this to be repeated, ecological relationships that need to be changed, factors that are irrelevant so they can be left unchanged, etc. etc.

You assume nothing can be done, scientists first go and see the situation before rushing to that conclusion, in the worst case scenario we will not be worse than now, in the best they will find something to do that can prevent this from happening again, that is their job after all.

Virusex, but can’t it happen that the virus was developed naturally and became relatively widespread among certain animals, but get out of control when analyzed in the lab? I don’t see it obvious that animal-to-human transmission in the wild is more likely than in the lab, where virus is thoroughly extracted and studied on a regular basis.

Again, in science everything is theoretically possible, but if you have two explanations, one very simple and likely, and another very complicated and unlikely then the rational choice is to assume the simple explanation first unless there is evidence that contradict it.

If the virus developed naturally that means there are a million chances every day where it can be transmitted to a human from the animal that have it, 7 million chances per week. Adding the extra step of being in a laboratory at some point means an extra chance or two a week for an exception to occur, so instead of having 7 million chances you now got 7 million and one for a situation that is much more complicated.

You can keep doing that endlessly and it becomes easier to understand there is no point.

What if it originated in nature?

What if it originated in nature but also escaped from a lab?

What if it originated in nature but also was in a lab but international spies released it on purpose?

What if it originated in nature but also was in a lab but international spies released it on purpose under the orders of the Pope?

etc. etc.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

virusrex

your problem is assuming what I think they are going to search for when text says clearly:

WHO going to search for orgins...

yeah...

one year later

in China

do you really think they will find something relevant?

With China narrative virus orgins are from India or even Czechia?

If the article would say WHO is going to search for Pokemons it would sound realistic.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Why would it be so difficult to pinpoint the vector that the virus took to infect humans?

Why haven’t the Chinese government shown proof of this to back up their assertions?

The Chinese government has had enough time to collect and analyze data for an outbreak that started in Wuhan.

Of course, as the initial premise was that the virus comes from bats.

Well, just where do

bats that are consumed in Wuhan come from?

Certainly, they come within hundreds of kilometers around the circumference of Wuhan and certainly their location can be even more precisely located by interviewing vendors and transport companies and restaurants where bar meat is sold and consumed.

So, not so arduous a task for there are many Chinese to do this research and an authoritarian government to ensure that the work is carried out.

There are also many microscopes that can check for similarities to the Corona virus that causes Covid-19.

What viruses were being held in Wuhan and what research was being carried out?

Biological weapons have been used for thousands of years in warfare.

Why would China not have such research when we all know that many countries in the world have done exactly the same type of research that most likely, China is engaged in at present.

The answers should be clear and transparent but they are not so what is China concealing?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

virusrex

your problem is assuming what I think they are going to search for when text says clearly:

WHO going to search for orgins...

yeah...

one year later

in China

do you really think they will find something relevant?

With China narrative virus orgins are from India or even Czechia?

If the article would say WHO is going to search for Pokemons it would sound realistic.

It does not matter what China "narrative" is, scientific data is not something like in the movies, where a guy shakes a test tube, it turns pink and every body says "it came from China!!"

It is a work of literally years, collecting mountains of information that gets around the world digitally, all seemingly worthless until a point long in the future where a group crunch all the data gathered until then to finally get a conclusion, what is China going to do then? jump into their time machine to selectively block those pieces of information that seemed worthless? The easiest, simplest way to block the investigation was not letting it begin on the first place, that bridge is closed, so now they will simply have to deal with the inevitable consequences, at much they will make the collection complicated or slower, but that makes no difference for research teams working overseas, that is unfortunately the rule and not the exception.

If anybody wants to hold a foolish unproven theory it will be exactly the same as right now, they will do it in spite of the scientific evidence, so for that people having more or less of it makes no difference.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Virusrex, this investigation, for what it's worth, isn't happening in a vacuum, so your apparent faith in the scientific process is misplaced at best, terribly naive in the middle, or disgraceful apologism for China at worst. I'd like to think it's option 1. Why do you think China has been stalling for the last year? If they had nothing to hide, why the obfuscation and bullying? You'd have to be terribly naive to think they didn't have their ducks in a row before finally allowing inspectors in as a face-saving measure. If the CCP had continued to resist, that would make them look even more guilty, so they pretend to relent, put on a show (the Potemkin Village I referred to earlier), and hope to stall any real investigation. And if the WHO's China cheerleader Bruce Aylward has anything to do with the investigation, chances are high the results will be "nothing to see here!"

By the way, this article came out overnight, which doesn't instil confidence in China's approach:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/13/world/asia/china-who-wuhan-covid.html

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

ScepticalJan. 14  11:27 pm JST

@kyronstavicToday  07:06 pm JST

The ball's in China's court with this one. The backbenchers you're complaining about have the high moral ground here, because the coal embargo is China's way of punishing Australia for having the temerity to demand an inquiry into the origins of the pandemic. But rather than be open, in typical fashion the CCP went into turbo toddler mode, eventually triggering this "humanitarian crisis" or whatever Labor and the Guardian call it. The onus is not on Australia to back down.

Sorry mate, I unintentionally omitted your name in my last post.

No dramas, all good.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Virusrex, this investigation, for what it's worth, isn't happening in a vacuum, so your apparent faith in the scientific process is misplaced at best, terribly naive in the middle, or disgraceful apologism for China at worst. 

Still irrelevant, the Chinese government obviously wants to avoid the responsibility of a badly managed local outbreak, but also about the situation in Hong Kong and the prosecution of Muslim minorities, none of which has anything to do with the purpose of this scientific investigation.

The main purpose of this investigation is to elucidate the process of how the virus adapted to humans and what kind of steps were followed, what is the reservoir animal, what kind of ecologic links facilitated it, etc. etc. Absolutely nothing that the Chinese government did after the outbreak initiated is on the scope of the investigation, so they could report absolutely everything without even touching about what the CCP wants to hide.

Irrational conspiracy theories about realistically impossible scenarios would be in the scope, but "losing" access to the evidence necessary for those astronomically improbable scenarios is nothing that a scientific delegation would ever have to worry about, the professionals of the world already know there is no merit on the "artificially created bioweapon" theory, so their focus is on the natural emergence of the pathogen.

Why would it be so difficult to pinpoint the vector that the virus took to infect humans?

Again, because this is not a movie, you think it would be as easy as catching the first bat they find on site, take some blood and identify a virus almost exactly as the SARS-CoV-2, bam! work done.

In reality the work is about identifying different populations of every likely vector, sampling in significant numbers all those populations, brute force the sequencing of everything and anything that may or not be related to the pandemic, endlessly assemble the genomes, analyze the evolutionary relationships, make phylogenetic trees of everything found correlating with host organisms, isolation site, ecological relationships, etc. then make antigens and test human samples to see if there is reactivity and neutralization specific to those newly identified pathogens, etc. etc.

Then 3 months later begin again to see how times changes everything that was found before, and so on. After a few years good hypothesis can be formulated and tested with the data to see if things check ok, only then publications will be released and science will advance.

There are also many microscopes that can check for similarities to the Corona virus that causes Covid-19.

No, that makes no sense, there is no "microscope" that can let you see similarities between viruses, not even cryo-electron-microscopy, all the viruses in the same order (or even class) will look exactly the same.

You seem to think that finding a virus that is somewhat similar would mean you found the link, you could not be farther from the real process.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

No, that makes no sense, there is no "microscope" that can let you see similarities between viruses, not even cryo-electron-microscopy, all the viruses in the same order (or even class) will look exactly the same.

If everyone wants to see an image of the Corona virus then...

https://www.winknews.com/2020/04/10/where-did-the-red-and-gray-coronavirus-image-come-from-and-why-does-it-look-like-that/

or

https://www.npr.org/2020/02/13/805837103/images-what-new-coronavirus-looks-like-under-the-microscope

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@virusrex

Heres one for your analysis

https://soulfullheartblog.com/2020/05/29/crop-circle-update-covid-19-brain-synapse-unification-message-in-second-2020-circle/

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Virusex, simply calling something you don't like a conspiracy theory demonstrates that you don't understand, or more likely, want to divert attention away from perfectly pertinent issues, disguising your dismissals with technobabble designed to impress the more credulous, but transparent nonetheless.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

China just announced that the WHO will not investigate the Wuhan lab as a possible source of the virus...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What viruses were being held in Wuhan and what research was being carried out?

Biological weapons have been used for thousands of years in warfare.

Why would China not have such research when we all know that many countries in the world have done exactly the same type of research that most likely, China is engaged in at present.

The answers should be clear and transparent but they are not so what is China concealing?

There are a number of publications over many years from the Wuhan researchers, engineering coronaviruses. Much of that research was banned for several years in the US (it's no longer banned), and during that time the US funded the Wuhan lab thanks to people like Fauci. So I doubt very much the investigators will find anything...

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

If everyone wants to see an image of the Corona virus then...

No, that is completely different from what you said. Coronaviruses can be visualized, that is not the problem, the problem is that you think they can be differentiated based on how they look on the microscope, that is impossible, the normal variation between viral particles of the same strain is much greater than the variation between viral strains and species of the same family. 

Or more simply, all coronaviruses look the same under the microscope.

Careful, your post will be deleted for asking a reasonable question. Virusrex is above reproach.

What makes the question reasonable? If I said I am a junior high schooler with lots of time and interest on viruses what part of my replies would suddenly become false? And if I were a doctor working in an ICU? the owner of Pfizer? cleaning staff at a beauty parlor? 

Of course it would be rational if I based anything on some kind of authority that I was supposed to have, can you quote me on that?

@virusrex

Heres one for your analysis

One what? how does that prove that you can differentiate between virus strains with microscopy? do you think that imaginary musings somehow scientifically prove something.

Virusex, simply calling something you don't like a conspiracy theory demonstrates that you don't understand, or more likely, want to divert attention away from perfectly pertinent issues, disguising your dismissals with technobabble designed to impress the more credulous, but transparent nonetheless.

One, if you base your argument on a conspiracy that has no evidence behind, and reject much better sustained explanations, very likely and actually observed then that can be validly be called a conspiracy theory.

Two, if you are unable to understand the topic you feel so strongly about, that explains (but not excuses) why you can be wrong. Giving up trying to understand the topic is fine, but persisting on a mistaken opinion because of that lack of understanding is not valid. Either you understand at least the vocabulary so you can sustain your opinion or you give up and concede that you may be wrong, you cannot have both.

There are a number of publications over many years from the Wuhan researchers, engineering coronaviruses. Much of that research was banned for several years in the US (it's no longer banned), and during that time the US funded the Wuhan lab thanks to people like Fauci. So I doubt very much the investigators will find anything...

There are endless publications of many groups all over the world about engineering Coronaviruses, the funny thing is that everybody got the mutations necessary for human adaptation wrong, and that include the researchers at Wuhan, that theorized a much smarter and efficient process but totally different from what the SARS-CoV-2 actually developed to get humans, their research is a much stronger proof of them being unrelated to the appearance of this virus than the opposite, as anybody that read that research knew from the beginning.

And no, no coronavirus research on Wuhan was ever banned in the US. You are terribly confused and should review your sources. And since the research was not banned it was obviously never funded by the US. Which do fund some research projects aimed precisely to avoid what happened with COVID-19.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Virusrex, based on your posts, it's becoming increasingly clear that your representing some interest group, which is why Zichi (I think, post was conveniently deleted) asked the question. He's not the first one to have asked, but posts always get deleted when someone does. You'll deny it of course, but that won't allay anyone's suspicions.

You're simply engaging in sophistry when it's clear as day that China is hiding something. The whole world can see their behaviour is highly suspicious, yet you're apologising for them. Why? We don't know if the Wuhan biotech facility is the source of the virus, but China's behaviour doesn't rule out the possibility.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Origin-Seriously.

The origin was conceived from a scientist. The Virus was harvested and then weaponized.

It was a bio weapons race war. It got out. It turned on them. Does it matter what animal in comes from?

China in it's shabby self needs to held accountable to the entire world. The regime needs to be dismantled.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Virusrex, based on your posts, it's becoming increasingly clear that your representing some interest group, which is why Zichi (I think, post was conveniently deleted) asked the question. He's not the first one to have asked, but posts always get deleted when someone does. You'll deny it of course, but that won't allay anyone's suspicions.

The real problem is that instead of analyzing the arguments for their value and accepting when those argument prove them wrong you are focusing exclusively on the person. You did not answer my question, what part of my post would become false according to what I do?

If nothing becomes false, then what is the point in trying to guess irrelevant things? the arguments would still prove you wrong. You can imagine whatever you want about me, you would still be mistaken. I have even been accused of being a couple of posters here (including you) and on purpose writing terribly bad arguments just to be able to prove "them" wrong with ease, whatever you want to think is the same as those accusations, of no importance whatsoever.

If perfectly valid reasons become sophistry for you because you don't understand them that is also something invalid as an argument. You can simply ask for a better explanation of anything you did not understood, that is much better to blindly assume that what you could not grasp must be meaningless or false.

China is obviously trying to hide their terrible management, that is clear for everybody in the world, but completely unrelated to the work the WHO sent specialists intend to do, they are not forensic accountants or hackers trying to see who is responsible for anything that was improperly done.

Saying that China is hiding something, therefore every crazy baseless theory must be what they hide is just nonsense. That is not apologizing for them, it is being rational. The behavior of China is irrelevant to how likely an artificial origin would be, logic and science (that points out to a completely natural origin as the hugely more logical source) are the ones that rules out that possibility. What if someone says that unicorns are the ones that are the origin of the virus? China being secretive proves this to be more likely? obviously not. An artificial origin is the same, completely unsupported by science, so a scientific investigation is not interested in it (as they are not interested either in finding unicorns).

Origin-Seriously.

The origin was conceived from a scientist. The Virus was harvested and then weaponized.

It was a bio weapons race war. It got out. It turned on them. Does it matter what animal in comes from?

China in it's shabby self needs to held accountable to the entire world. The regime needs to be dismantled.

Movie plots are not good things to base opinions about real life, the scientific consensus says this is a terribly bad explanation, completely unnecessary and less likely that a natural origin, the same that has happened before countless times.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I think when people have a clear point of interest, and especially one that only posts on a single subject, should at least declare what their interest is. Also multiple accounts are not acceptable.

The sheer numbers of long posts from someone who must also need to work indicates some thing else.

You did not answer my question, what part of my post would become false according to what I do?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I think when people have a clear point of interest, and especially one that only posts on a single subject, should at least declare what their interest is.

For what purpose? again, nothing about what I write depends at all on who I am or what I do, I have never said "this is true because I teach this subject in a national university" or anything like that. Therefore there is absolutely no point in "declaring" anything. I like the topic, I know about it, that is enough. The only people that are interested on who are those that prove them wrong are the people that have no arguments on their own, so when they have nothing to disprove their opponents they try to discuss the person, even when that has absolutely no importance.

Again, what part of my arguments would change its value depending on who I am?

Also multiple accounts are not acceptable.

More than "acceptable" it is meaningless to do it. What is actually not acceptable according to the rules is to discuss other people, but here you are, doing exactly that even when it should have been already clear it is not allowed.

The sheer numbers of long posts from someone who must also need to work indicates some thing else.

Feel free to imagine whatever you like, it has no importance either. You can think I am at school writing on my phone trying not to be found, or between patients in a clinic, Or I can be a retired octogenarian, it is all the same, the arguments are valid or not completely independent of why I can write them or not.

It may surprise you, but writing about something you know well does not take time at all, is only when you completely ignore the topic when it seems like a huge effort.

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It may surprise you, but writing about something you know well does not take time at all, is only when you completely ignore the topic when it seems like a huge effort.

I think I heard those words before from my ex-fiancee, she's a neurologist. Not the exact phrase though. I once asked her about how she could write about 150 pages of very elaborate and complex medically termed text in several days. Later it turned out to be a book on her research about ........

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If the virus developed naturally that means there are a million chances every day where it can be transmitted to a human from the animal that have it, 7 million chances per week. Adding the extra step of being in a laboratory at some point means an extra chance or two a week for an exception to occur, so instead of having 7 million chances you now got 7 million and one for a situation that is much more complicated.

I understand your argument, but I rather interested in how do you estimate these chances. Why would you assume wild animal-to-human transmission is so easy and so much likely? Could you please provide any argument? My understanding is that if the virus resides within non-domestic animals it has almost zero chance to transmit to humans unless its purposely extracted.

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Why would you assume wild animal-to-human transmission is so easy and so much likely?

It is not that is very easy or likely, but very frequent. Just think how many hunters there are in the area, coming in contact with how many animals directly, then add farmers that come in contact with fruit and other resources contaminated with bat saliva, urine or feces, then all the people that come in contact with domestic animals that got exposed to contaminated materials and could be vectors of the disease, and merchants that handle contaminated things or directly animals, and butchers, cooks, etc. etc.

There is no laboratory in the world that can make as many experiments as the number of contacts that humans have with the viruses in nature. We don't even know for sure what is the reservoir animal, nor the vector, so theoretically every contact with animals or animal contaminated things is one chance. So even if the infection happens only one in every million chances you would still have a few infections every day.

Obviously most of those infections are with viruses that cannot adapt to humans, but if you keep having those uncountable contacts every day of the year, year after year, eventually we run out of luck. We ran out of luck on 2003 with SARS, then again in 2012 with MERS (no laboratory involved in either case), in 2019 we ran out of luck again and a terrible management of the original outbreak caused it to extend into a pandemic.

If nothing changes on our way to relate with the ecology we will have new outbreaks every few years in the same way, without ever needing any virus escaping from a laboratory.

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Virusrex, thanks again for your opinion. It seems like it could be correct, but then I read about the history of SARS in wiki (after you mentioned it) and three points brought my attention: 1. SARS emerged from the wild just once, while there were at least three documented laboratory accidents resulting in SARS infections. That means laboratory infections are quite common and much more likely than you picture. 2. During the SARS outbreak the investigation started much earlier (in May). And in overall, Chinese response pattern now is more aggressive and even less transparent. 3. In 2017 Wuhan researchers found a cave with the dangerous coronavirus strain. From that time on they were actively studying the virus from that relatively remote potentially dangerous cave. So, given 1., what is more likely: some villager accidentally gets the virus from some remote cave or animal around or guys in the lab who study it from 2017 in all possible positions?

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My conclusion here is that even though there is some chance of inter-species virus transfer in nature, it is negligible comparing to a chance of getting and spreading it by group of researchers living in overpopulated city who deliberately searching for dangerous viruses in every cave in the country and performing numerous experiments in order to prove that these viruses can be dangerous for humans.

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And if they think that they should have stood up to China, even meaning that China would refuse to let the WHO operate in China, then how would the WHO be expected to offset the loss of being able to operate on a pandemic in an area with 1/5 the population of the planet?

Are notions of international norms and respecting the WHO charter not a thing anymore? As far as China goes, they have signed the WHO charter and thus must respect the whole set of rules. If a rare and deadly disease started spreading in South America or in Europe, would you see that kind of reaction towards WHO investigators?

What I'm trying to understand here is why one country here should be treated differently compared to other countries where WHO want to investigate the origins of a deadly disease. Because the government from that country has the mentality of a 24-month-old toddler when everyone else expects a more mature reaction? In any case, China has been blatantly wasting a huge opportunity to come out clean.

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My conclusion here is that even though there is some chance of inter-species virus transfer in nature, it is negligible comparing to a chance of getting and spreading it by group of researchers living in overpopulated city who deliberately searching for dangerous viruses in every cave in the country and performing numerous experiments in order to prove that these viruses can be dangerous for humans.

See my example, how many chances did I give for the lab? one or two a week, that is hugely more than the 3 cases you found for the entire history of the SARS breakout, but still nothing compared with the alternative (that is not a remote cave, any contact with a wild animal or contaminated material is a chance).

Your conclusion is invalid not only because of the very important ramp-up of security measures in many countries (not only in China) thanks to the SARS scare, but also because even if accidents would be common they would still be only a drop in the ocean compared with the hugely much more common natural contacts.

The virus is completely natural according to every piece of evidence collected, so you have millions of chances of being introduced to humans naturally, and according to you 3 chances per year of being a laboratory accident. It is not rational to be fixed in the terribly low odds while inexplicably ignoring the much more likely possibility. That is why this completely irrational conclusion only seems likely the less you know about the topic, the world experts all coincide in the conclusion that a completely natural origin is the only realistic possibility.

You also are terribly confused about where the virus was introduced to humans, Wuhan is the city where it first was detected and identified, but that does NOT mean it was where the first cases were present, epidemiological data says that it is much more likely it originated in a less dense area with more contact with wild animals, caused a few human cases without too many fatalities only to become much more obvious when it caused a much more important number of cases in a big city, it is the same mistake between finding out lots of gunshot victims die in hospitals and thinking they were also shot in the hospitals.

According to the growth curve of the number of cases it is commonly though that the real first human cases happened weeks before the outbreak in the Wuhan market,

https://www.livescience.com/first-case-coronavirus-found.html

This proves that your conclusion is simply much more likely to be mistaken.

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