The Origin of the Wuhan Coronavirus

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China reports its first human death from rare Monkey B virus
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Rebecca Tan
Publishing date:Jul 19, 2021 • 7 hours ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
Two macaque monkeys in the middle of a green forest.
Two macaque monkeys in the middle of a green forest. PHOTO BY STOCK ART /Getty Images
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A man in China has died after contracting a rare infectious disease from primates, known as the Monkey B virus, Chinese health officials have revealed.

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The victim, a 53-year-old veterinarian based in Beijing, was the first documented human case of the virus in China.


According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the man worked in a research institute that specialized in nonhuman primate breeding and dissected two dead monkeys in March. He experienced nausea, vomiting and fever a month later, and died May 27. His blood and saliva samples were sent to the center in April, where researchers found evidence of the Monkey B virus. Two of his close contacts, a male doctor and a female nurse, tested negative for the virus, officials said.

The Monkey B virus, or herpes B virus, is prevalent among macaque monkeys, but extremely rare – and often deadly – when it spreads to humans. In humans, it tends to attack the central nervous system and cause inflammation to the brain, leading to a loss of consciousness, said Kentaro Iwata, an infectious disease expert at Kobe University in Tokyo. If untreated, there’s about an 80 percent fatality rate.

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There have been fewer than a hundred reported human infections of herpes B since the first case of primate-to-human transmission in 1932, many of them in North America, where scientists tend to be more aware of the disease, Iwata said. There are likely to be cases of the virus that have gone undetected, but experts still widely believe that it is an extremely rare condition among humans.

Victims have tended to be veterinarians, scientists or researchers who work directly with primates and could be exposed to their bodily fluids through scratches, bites or dissections. In 1997, a primate researcher in New York died six weeks after a caged monkey flung a drop of liquid at her face, hitting her eye. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has only been one documented case of an infected human spreading the virus to another person.

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Both herpes B and the novel coronavirus are “the consequence of species jumps,” said Nikolaus Osterrieder, dean of the Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences in Hong Kong. “But the important difference is that in the case from herpes B, it’s a dead end. It’s not jumping from one human to another human,” he added. “SARS-CoV-2, on the other hand, acquired the ability to spread to a new host.”

Osterrieder said herpes B is very well-adapted to macaque monkeys and unlikely to mutate in a way that it will start to spread rapidly among humans. Nonetheless, both he and Iwata emphasized that they hope more people learn about the disease and take the right safety precautions, especially when interacting with monkeys in non-research settings, such as at a zoo or in nature. Officials in Florida debated last year what to do over a rapidly multiplying population of rhesus monkeys – an emerging tourist attraction – many of which carried the herpes B virus.

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Chinese health authorities said discovery of the Monkey B virus in a human suggests that it might “pose a potential zoonotic threat to occupational workers,” adding that it’s necessary “to strengthen surveillance in laboratory macaques and occupational workers.” By Monday, news of the veterinarian’s death had been viewed more than 110 million times on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

“Apart from researchers, most people should stay away from wild animals,” said one post with several thousand likes. “You may want to be close to nature, but nature doesn’t want to be close to you.”

Last week, Dallas County health officials in Texas reported the case of a man with a rare case of monkeypox, which can also be transmitted when people are bitten or scratched by an animal.
 
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China rejects WHO plan for study of COVID-19 origin
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Gabriel Crossley
Publishing date:Jul 22, 2021 • 16 hours ago • 2 minute read • 7 Comments
People wearing face masks walk on a street market, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 8, 2021.
People wearing face masks walk on a street market, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 8, 2021. PHOTO BY ALY SONG /REUTERS
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BEIJING — China rejected on Thursday a World Health Organization (WHO) plan for a second phase of an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus, which includes the hypothesis it could have escaped from a Chinese laboratory, a top health official said.

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The WHO this month proposed a second phase of studies into the origins of the coronavirus in China, including audits of laboratories and markets in the city of Wuhan, calling for transparency from authorities.


“We will not accept such an origins-tracing plan as it, in some aspects, disregards common sense and defies science,” Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC), told reporters.

Zeng said he was taken aback when he first read the WHO plan because it lists the hypothesis that a Chinese violation of laboratory protocols had caused the virus to leak during research.

The head of the WHO said earlier in July that investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China were being hampered by the lack of raw data on the first days of spread there.

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Zeng reiterated China’s position that some data could not be completely shared due to privacy concerns.


“We hope the WHO would seriously review the considerations and suggestions made by Chinese experts and truly treat the origin tracing of the COVID-19 virus as a scientific matter, and get rid of political interference,” Zeng said.

China opposed politicizing the study, he said.

The origin of the virus remains contested among experts.

The first known cases emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. The virus was believed to have jumped to humans from animals being sold for food at a city market.

In May, U.S. President Joe Biden ordered aides to find answers to questions over the origin saying that U.S. intelligence agencies were pursuing rival theories potentially including the possibility of a laboratory accident in China.

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Zeng, along with other officials and Chinese experts at the news conference, urged the WHO to expand origin-tracing efforts beyond China to other countries.

“We believe a lab leak is extremely unlikely and it is not necessary to invest more energy and efforts in this regard,” said Liang Wannian, the Chinese team leader on the WHO joint expert team. More animal studies should be conducted, in particular in countries with bat populations, he said.

However, Liang said the lab leak hypothesis could not be entirely discounted but suggested that if evidence warranted, other countries could look into the possibility it leaked from their labs.

One key part of the lab leak theory has centered on the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s (WIV) decision to take offline its gene sequence and sample databases in 2019.

When asked about this decision, Yuan Zhiming, professor at WIV and the director of its National Biosafety Laboratory, told reporters that at present the databases were only shared internally due to cyber attack concerns. (Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Stella Qiu; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Robert Birsel and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)
 

B00Mer

If you're explaining, you're losing..
Sep 6, 2008
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LOOK What's the debate, like anything manufactured in China it is cheap and fucked up..

Rather than taking out 70% of the world's population, it only killed about 1 million people. Proof it was made in China. ;)
 
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From Wuhan: More horrifying COVID news regarding virus mutations
COVID-19 has repeatedly mutated since first emerging in late 2019 in Wuhan, China

Author of the article:postmedia News
Publishing date:Aug 06, 2021 • 14 hours ago • 1 minute read • 11 Comments
Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan in a 2017 file photo.
Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan in a 2017 file photo. PHOTO BY JOHANNES EISELE /AFP
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More scary news on the COVID-19 front.

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China’s so-called “bat woman” — virologist Shi Zhengli who heads the Wuhan lab accused of being a possible source for the pandemic — is now warning that deadly new mutations of the virus will continue.


Shi made the statement to state-run media this week as she echoed calls for people to get vaccinated, according to the South Morning China Post.

“As the number of infected cases has just become too big, this allowed the novel coronavirus more opportunities to mutate and select — new variants will continue to emerge,” Shi told Health Times under the state-run People’s Daily, the China Post reported.


The virus has already repeatedly mutated since first emerging in late 2019 in Wuhan with the current Delta strain, first identified in India, the most infectious and dangerous.

In fact, a leaked report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged the variant was so different than the initial strain it was time to say “the war has changed,” and led to new advisories that even the vaccinated should wear masks.

What’s even worse is that Michael Osterholm, the head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told Newsweek recently the Delta variant could soon by followed by a doomsday variant that is “Delta on steroids.”
 

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In new documentary, WHO scientist says Chinese officials pressured investigation to drop lab-leak hypothesis
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Adam Taylor, Emily Rauhala and Martin Sesloe Sorensen, The Washington Post
Publishing date:Aug 12, 2021 • 16 hours ago • 5 minute read • Join the conversation
Security guards keep watch outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology during the visit by the World Health Organization team in Wuhan, China, Feb. 3, 2021.
Security guards keep watch outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology during the visit by the World Health Organization team in Wuhan, China, Feb. 3, 2021. PHOTO BY THOMAS PETER /REUTERS
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The World Health Organization expert who led a controversial joint probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic says in a documentary airing Thursday night on Danish television that Chinese colleagues influenced the presentation of their findings.

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Speaking to Danish documentarians, Peter Ben Embarek said Chinese researchers on the team had pushed back against linking the origins of the pandemic to a research laboratory in Wuhan in a report about the investigation.


“In the beginning, they didn’t want anything about the lab [in the report], because it was impossible, so there was no need to waste time on that,” Ben Embarek said during the interview. “We insisted on including it, because it was part of the whole issue about where the virus originated.”

In its report released earlier this year, the WHO-China team said it was “very unlikely” that the virus, officially named SARS-CoV-2, could have accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology or another facility in the Chinese city where infections were first found. The joint team of researchers said it would not recommend further investigation into the issue.

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A discussion of whether to include the lab-leak theory at all lasted until 48 hours before the conclusion of the mission, Ben Embarek told the Danish reporters. In the end, Ben Embarek’s Chinese counterpart eventually agreed to discuss the lab-leak theory in the report “on the condition we didn’t recommend any specific studies to further that hypothesis.”

Asked in the documentary whether the report’s “extremely unlikely” wording about the lab-leak theory was a Chinese requirement, Ben Embarek said “it was the category we chose to put it in at the end, yes.” But he added that this meant it was not impossible, just not likely.

Ben Embarek said one similar scenario, in which a lab employee inadvertently could have brought the virus to Wuhan after collecting samples in the field, could be considered both a lab-leak theory and a hypothesis of direct infection from a bat, which was described as “likely” in the report.

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“A lab employee infected in the field while collecting samples in a bat cave – such a scenario belongs both as a lab-leak hypothesis and as our first hypothesis of direct infection from bat to human. We’ve seen that hypothesis as a likely hypothesis,” Ben Embarek said.

In further comments during the interview that were not included in the documentary but were incorporated in an account by the Danish channel TV2 on its website, Ben Embarek suggested that there could have been “human error” but that the Chinese political system does not allow authorities to admit that.

“It probably means there’s a human error behind such an event, and they’re not very happy to admit that,” Ben Embarek was quoted as saying. “The whole system focuses a lot on being infallible, and everything must be perfect,” he added. “Somebody could also wish to hide something. Who knows?”

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Asked for comment, Ben Embarek initially said the interview had been mistranslated in English-language media coverage. “It is a wrong translation from a Danish article,” he wrote, declining to comment further and referring The Washington Post to the WHO. He did not immediately respond to follow-up questions.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic also said that the comment was mistranslated and that the interview took place “months ago.”

“There are no new elements nor [a] change of the position [that] all hypothesis are on the table and WHO works with member states on the next step,” Jasarevic said, referring to comments by senior officials with the global health organization about the probe.

The documentary, titled “The Virus Mystery,” is scheduled to air on TV2 on Thursday evening.

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Ben Embarek had cooperated with the documentary filmmakers, even going so far as to film his trip to China for them on his phone to provide an inside look at a closed-off trip.

Ben Embarek led a team of international scientists on a mission to China in January to work with local officials to investigate the origins of a pandemic that has so far led to more than 200 million confirmed cases and at least 4.3 million deaths worldwide.

From the start, the trip was mired in controversy. Beijing delayed approval for the WHO trip, pushing back the researchers’ arrival, while some of the international experts on the team were criticized for prior links to Chinese research.

Even once it arrived, the WHO team, subject to strict quarantine procedures, had only two weeks in the field to conduct research.

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After the team’s report was released in late March, it grew only more disputed. The team looked at four different scenarios for how the virus first spread to humans, labeling the idea of zoonotic spread from animals to humans as “most likely.”

Other, less likely scenarios included that the virus could have been imported to China on frozen food – a theory pushed repeatedly by Chinese officials but seen as unlikely by many international experts.

The “lab-leak” theory, the subject of intense speculation in the United States, was dubbed the least likely scenario, and the WHO team said it should no longer be investigated. Even skeptics of the theory found the dismissal a surprise.

At a news conference marking the release of the report, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the scenario still needed closer study.

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“Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy,” Tedros said.

Ben Embarek and other researchers on the team have hinted at immense pressure during the trip from all sides, with as many as 60 Chinese colleagues working with not only scientists but also public health figures.

“The politics was always in the room with us on the other side of the table,” he told Science Magazine during an interview published in February.

Later this month, the U.S. intelligence community is expected to complete a 90-day review of the evidence about the origins of the coronavirus.

Tedros has also said that the WHO will continue its own research into the origins, although Chinese officials said last month that it would be “impossible” to accept a continuing China-focused probe.
 

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Why the government secrecy behind the Winnipeg lab firings?
The Trudeau government is blocking the Speaker and Parliament from accessing critical documents ordered produced

Author of the article:Scott Laurie
Publishing date:Aug 16, 2021 • 9 hours ago • 1 minute read • 21 Comments
GETTY
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Parliament dissolved in the midst of an unprecedented legal battle raging between the Trudeau government and the Speaker of the House over access to uncensored documents that might shed light on a mystery with international intrigue.

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It surrounds why two scientists were fired from the National Microbiology lab in Winnipeg in 2019; and why the government is hiding the reason.


In the Federal Court battle, the Speaker has been standing up for the independence of the House to gain access to documents.

The government has dug in — citing national security concerns and potential damage to international relations if whatever is contained in the documents is revealed.

A Commons committee has been trying — without success — to gain access to an unredacted version of those documents from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) which might shed light on the firings.

The head of the Agency — Iain Stewart — has refused to hand over unredacted documents related to the case, despite a House order.

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The firings that MPs wish to investigate and ask questions about happened starting in July 2019 when Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, were escorted out of the highly secure lab, and had security credentials revoked.


CSIS and the RCMP have been involved in an investigation.

The two scientists did collaborative work with Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a ceremony swearing-in Mary Simon as the first indigenous Governor General of Canada, in the Senate chamber in Ottawa,, July 26, 2021.
EDITORIAL: Trudeau triggers unwanted election
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces a federal election, outside Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Aug. 15, 2021.
Trudeau says Canadians deserve a say at pivotal moment, triggers Sept. 20 election

No explanation has been offered about the firings.

What is known is that one of the scientists had a role in the shipping of Ebola and Henipah virus samples to the Wuhan lab in 2019.

It will be up to the next Commons Speaker to decide how to counter the push for secrecy by the government.
 
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IdRatherBeSkiing

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May 28, 2007
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Why the government secrecy behind the Winnipeg lab firings?
The Trudeau government is blocking the Speaker and Parliament from accessing critical documents ordered produced

Author of the article:Scott Laurie
Publishing date:Aug 16, 2021 • 9 hours ago • 1 minute read • 21 Comments
GETTY
GETTY
Article content
Parliament dissolved in the midst of an unprecedented legal battle raging between the Trudeau government and the Speaker of the House over access to uncensored documents that might shed light on a mystery with international intrigue.

Advertisement
STORY CONTINUES BELOW

Article content
It surrounds why two scientists were fired from the National Microbiology lab in Winnipeg in 2019; and why the government is hiding the reason.


In the Federal Court battle, the Speaker has been standing up for the independence of the House to gain access to documents.

The government has dug in — citing national security concerns and potential damage to international relations if whatever is contained in the documents is revealed.

A Commons committee has been trying — without success — to gain access to an unredacted version of those documents from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) which might shed light on the firings.

The head of the Agency — Iain Stewart — has refused to hand over unredacted documents related to the case, despite a House order.

Advertisement
STORY CONTINUES BELOW

Article content
The firings that MPs wish to investigate and ask questions about happened starting in July 2019 when Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, were escorted out of the highly secure lab, and had security credentials revoked.


CSIS and the RCMP have been involved in an investigation.

The two scientists did collaborative work with Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a ceremony swearing-in Mary Simon as the first indigenous Governor General of Canada, in the Senate chamber in Ottawa,, July 26, 2021.
EDITORIAL: Trudeau triggers unwanted election
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces a federal election, outside Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Aug. 15, 2021.
Trudeau says Canadians deserve a say at pivotal moment, triggers Sept. 20 election

No explanation has been offered about the firings.

What is known is that one of the scientists had a role in the shipping of Ebola and Henipah virus samples to the Wuhan lab in 2019.

It will be up to the next Commons Speaker to decide how to counter the push for secrecy by the government.
With a Lieberal majority, the next speaker will just roll over and play dead.
 
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