The Origin of the Wuhan Coronavirus

Ron in Regina

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Apr 9, 2008
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Morons. I wonder how many assets will be compromised by this stunt.
I read that to say they don't have anything important, so pretend we care about transparency.
I hope you're right.
The 419-0 vote was final congressional approval of the bill, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk. It’s unclear whether the president will sign the measure into law, and the White House said the matter was under review.
Something or nothing…there’s no descent at least from the House on this decision.
“I haven’t made that decision yet,” Biden said late Friday when asked whether he would sign the bill.
Okily-Dokily I guess.
Debate in the House was brief and to the point: Americans have questions about how the deadly virus started and what can be done to prevent future outbreaks.
That sounds reasonable, depending on how the information was acquired.
That includes, he said, “how this virus was created and, specifically, whether it was a natural occurrence or was the result of a lab-related event.”
…& really, after three years of Global Medical & Economic hardship (so far), we as a species deserve to know the punchline behind this, whether it’s from Bat-Soup or seeded from what was stolen from a Winnipeg Bio-Lab or what have you!!
 
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Ron in Regina

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International scientists who examined previously unavailable genetic data from samples collected at a market close to where the first human cases of Covid-19 were detected in China said they found suggestions the pandemic originated from animals, not a lab.
Other experts have not yet verified their analysis, which also has not appeared so far in a peer-reviewed journal. How the coronavirus first started sickening people remains uncertain.
 

pgs

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International scientists who examined previously unavailable genetic data from samples collected at a market close to where the first human cases of Covid-19 were detected in China said they found suggestions the pandemic originated from animals, not a lab.
Other experts have not yet verified their analysis, which also has not appeared so far in a peer-reviewed journal. How the coronavirus first started sickening people remains uncertain.
So they were testing on dogs and some entrepreneurial individual sold some meat at market .
 

spaminator

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COVID report based on China samples puts suspicion back to animal origins
Author of the article:Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News
Madison Muller and Riley Griffin
Published Mar 20, 2023 • 4 minute read

A new analysis of samples taken from a market in Wuhan, China during the early days of the pandemic are the strongest evidence yet that the COVID-19 virus jumped from animals to humans, some researchers say.


The samples found evidence of the presence of the novel coronavirus along with genetic material from multiple animals — including raccoon dogs, which are susceptible to the disease — according to a report published Monday on the Zenodo.org open science website, which builds a case for the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market as the epicenter of the pandemic.


In some samples there was more animal genetic material than human genetic material indicating possible SARS-CoV-2 infections in animals, the report says. Like many studies released quickly during the pandemic, it has not yet undergone review by the scientific community.

Those involved worked to finish the report after early findings garnered intense interest and a flurry of media coverage last week. The World Health Organization has called on China to fully share the genetic data the researchers analyzed, which appeared briefly in a public database before being taken down on March 11. The raw data have still not been made available.


For some outside experts, the situation has sparked concerns.

“I worry a lot about our jumping on tidbits that are incomplete and cannot be verified,” said David Relman, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University. “I think we need to take a deep breath and insist on the kind of process and science that any important issue, especially this one deserves.”

Relman said this is true on both sides of the debate over Covid’s origins. He’s long advocated for both theories — a laboratory accident or natural spillover — to be investigated with equal rigor.

The report is the latest chapter in a fraught search for answers about how the pandemic began. On Monday, President Joe Biden signed into law a bill to declassify intelligence on the origins of COVID The U.S. intelligence community remains split in its findings, with the the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Energy concluding that the virus likely came from a lab accident.


The latest report further complicates the picture.

“These data do not provide a definitive answer to the question of how the pandemic began,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday in a press conference, “but every piece of data is important in moving us closer to that answer.”

The scientists generated their report after samples uploaded by Chinese scientists briefly appeared in the open-access genomics database GISAID. Florence Débarre, an evolutionary biologist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, fortuitously spotted the data on March 4 and reached out to an international group of scientists who have authored papers supporting the hypothesis that COVID-19 originated at the Huanan Market. The scientists had been hunting for what they’ve called “invaluable” sequencing data for more than a year.


“It’s the first time we’ve been able to identify a genetic fingerprint of the virus and a potential intermediate host in the exact same place,” Stephen Goldstein, a University of Utah virologist who contributed to the analysis and is an author of the report, said in an interview. “It’s completely consistent and expected from what you’d see in a zoonotic spillover event.”

No Smoking Gun
The samples show that DNA from raccoon dogs — a distant relative of foxes sometimes sold in Chinese markets like the one in Wuhan — appeared in environmental samples taken from the Wuhan market linked to the earliest Covid cases in 2019. In a sample taken from a cart, more raccoon dog DNA was apparent than human.

Natural SARS coronavirus infections were previously detected in raccoon dogs at another market in China after SARS emerged there in 2002. The animals are also capable of shedding the virus, studies have shown. Seeing that raccoon dog DNA was indicated in the samples was “one of the most incredible moments of my career,” Goldstein said.


DNA from several other animal species were also found in the samples, including Malaysian porcupines, Siberian weasels, Amur hedgehogs and bamboo rats, among others, the report said.

This strongly supports the idea that animal-to-human transmission spawned the pandemic, according to the scientists who performed the analysis.

“The presence of virus and potential host genetic material in the market is exactly what one would expect under the zoonotic origins hypothesis,” said Joel Wertheim, an associate professor at the University of California San Diego, who was involved in analyzing the samples.

Others are less convinced. The rush to draw conclusions when very little information was initially available “is not the way careful and thoughtful science is done,” Relman said.


Access to the data analyzed by the researchers is key, as it “will allow for a more informed discussion about the strength of the new evidence,” Francois Balloux, director of University College London’s Genetics Institute, wrote on Twitter.

Hidden Data
The existence of the data wasn’t a secret. Disease detectives that arrived from Beijing during the early days of the pandemic ordered environmental samples to be collected from drains and other surfaces at the market, which closed on Jan. 1, 2020.

“All current evidence points to wild animals sold illegally,” China Center for Disease Control Director George Gao and colleagues wrote in the agency’s weekly bulletin in January 2020. All but two of the positive specimens came from a section of the market’s western wing, where many shops sold animals.
 

spaminator

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No evidence yet showing which animal COVID came from, says former head of China CDC
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Published Apr 14, 2023 • 1 minute read

LONDON — There is no evidence yet showing which animal the COVID-causing virus make have come from, the former head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday.


George Gao, who was speaking at a London summit on preparing for pandemics, was the head of the agency when COVID first emerged in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019.


“Even now, people think some animals are the host or reservoir,” said Gao. “Cut a long story short, there is no evidence which animals (were) where the virus comes (from).”

The origins of the COVID-19 pandemic remain unknown, with criticism that China has thwarted efforts to find out more. The Chinese government has said it has always supported all efforts to investigate the source.

The World Health Organization has said that all hypotheses for the origins of COVID-19 remain on the table, including that the virus is linked to a high-security laboratory for the study of dangerous pathogens in Wuhan.


China denies any such link.

WHO has also said that the evidence so far points towards the virus coming from animals, likely bats.

Data from the early days of the pandemic was uploaded to a global database by Chinese scientists last month.

It included genetic sequences found in more than 1,000 environmental and animal samples taken in January 2020 at the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan.

The data showed that DNA from multiple animal species – including raccoon dogs – was present in environmental samples that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, suggesting that they were “the most likely conduits” of the disease, according to a team of international researchers.

Speaking at the Rhodes Policy Summit, Gao also said that the world needed to work together to tackle future outbreaks. That would include some elements of competition, he said, but also communication, to combat misinformation.
 
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Twin_Moose

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spaminator

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U.S. intelligence report on COVID-19 origins rejects some points raised by lab leak theory proponents
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Nomaan Merchant
Published Jun 24, 2023 • 3 minute read
WASHINGTON — U.S. officials released an intelligence report Friday that rejected some points raised by those who argue COVID-19 leaked from a Chinese lab, instead reiterating that American spy agencies remain divided over how the pandemic began.


The report was issued at the behest of Congress, which in March passed a bill giving U.S. intelligence 90 days to declassify intelligence related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.


Intelligence officials under President Joe Biden have been pushed by lawmakers to release more material about the origins of COVID-19. But they have repeatedly argued China’s official obstruction of independent reviews has made it perhaps impossible to determine how the pandemic began.

The newest report angered some Republicans who have argued the administration is wrongly withholding classified information and researchers who accuse the U.S. of not being forthcoming.

John Ratcliffe, who served as U.S. director of national intelligence under former president Donald Trump, accused the Biden administration of “continued obfuscation.”


“The lab leak is the only theory supported by science, intelligence, and common sense,” Ratcliffe said in a statement.

There was newfound interest from researchers following the revelation earlier this year that the Department of Energy’s intelligence arm had issued a report arguing for a lab-related incident.

But Friday’s report said the intelligence community has not gone further. Four agencies still believe the virus was transferred from animals to humans, and two agencies — the Energy Department and the FBI — believe the virus leaked from a lab. The CIA and another agency have not made an assessment.

Located in the city where the pandemic is believed to have began, the Wuhan Institute of Virology has faced intense scrutiny for its previous research into bat coronaviruses and its reported security lapses.


The lab genetically engineered viruses as part of its research, the report said, including efforts to combine different viruses.

But the report says U.S. intelligence “has no information, however, indicating that any WIV genetic engineering work has involved SARS-CoV-2, a close progenitor, or a backbone virus that is closely-related enough to have been the source of the pandemic.”

And reports of several lab researchers falling ill with respiratory symptoms in fall 2019 are also inconclusive, the report argues.

U.S. intelligence, the report said, “continues to assess that this information neither supports nor refutes either hypothesis of the pandemic’s origins because the researchers’ symptoms could have been caused by a number of diseases and some of the symptoms were not consistent with COVID-19.”


Responding to the report, the Republican chairs of the House Intelligence Committee and a select subcommittee on the pandemic jointly said they had gathered information in favour of the lab leak hypothesis. Reps. Mike Turner and Brad Wenstrup, both of Ohio, credited the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence for taking a “promising step toward transparency.”

“While we appreciate the report from ODNI, the corroboration of all available evidence along with further investigation into the origins of COVID-19 must continue,” Turner and Wenstrup said.

But Alina Chan, a molecular biologist who has long argued the virus may have originated in the Wuhan lab, noted the public version of the report did not include the names of researchers who fell sick or other details mandated by Congress.

The bill requiring the review allowed intelligence officials to redact information publicly to protect agency sources and methods.

“It’s getting very difficult to believe that the government is not trying to hide what they know about #OriginOfCovid when you see a report like this that contains none of the requested info,” Chan tweeted.
 

Ron in Regina

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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.
Hmmmm….CSIS found Qiu has several positions as a visiting professor with Chinese institutions, but would leave those positions off her CV when applying for jobs within Canada. It found in interviews about all of this Qiu repeatedly lied even as she was given every opportunity to come clean.
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.
Hmmmm….CSIS was also critical of Cheng, finding that he must have been aware of his wife’s subterfuge and found that he had also likely applied to one of the Chinese government’s talent programs. They found he too lied during interviews with CSIS.
It surrounds why two scientists were fired from the National Microbiology lab in Winnipeg in 2019; and why the government is hiding the reason.
Hmmmm…. Because of openness and transparency, because it’s 2015-ish!!!
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.
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.
CSIS discovered Qiu had applied for and likely received a position under China’s Thousand Talents Program, a government sponsored program to recruit Chinese experts, which also allows them to keep jobs in Western countries.
The two scientists did collaborative work with Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
Qiu’s position came through the Wuhan Institute of Virology and CSIS determined that the Thousand Talents Program offers researchers up to $1 million in research subsidies and better access to visas and Chinese health care.
No explanation has been offered about the firings.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service determined that one of two scientists fired from Canada’s most secure microbiology lab worked closely and covertly with Chinese government labs and collaborated with “institutions whose goals have potentially lethal military applications.”
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.
Whoopsies!!
It will be up to the next Commons Speaker to decide how to counter the push for secrecy by the government.
On Wednesday, the government released hundreds of pages related to the firing of Xiangguo Qiu and her husband Keding Cheng from the national microbiology lab in Winnipeg. The pair were escorted out of the lab in 2019 and fired in 2021.

The hundreds of pages of documents include CSIS assessments created after the pair were marched out of the labs. The spy agency recommended the Public Health Agency of Canada revoke the security clearances of both scientists.
Next weeks Scandal will have to be a doozy to bury this one under another scandal, etc…