Lin-fa Wang/Gary Crameri (co-authors on EcoHealth/WIV bat-virus papers), Aus, CSRIO, 2013:
Prior to the emergence of SARS, coronaviruses had been detected in both human and livestock populations. But all previously known human coronaviruses only caused mild respiratory symptoms and had never been associated with severe human disease.
This was an article cited by Dominic Dwyer (thanks Dominic) that supposedly proved the provenance of SARS. It doesn’t, but it points out that prior to SARS, coronaviruses “had never been associated with severe human disease”. Never.
We know the common cold is a coronavirus but SARS was unprecedented in terms of severe disease - in the history of humanity. There’s your first red-flag right there. Why did coronaviruses suddenly become lethal in late 2002?
19 years later, we know that no-one has identified a definitive provenance for SARS - the closest we’ve got (from papers by Shi/Daszak and the above authors) is that it’s closely related to horseshoe bats, sampled 10 years later - in Yunnan province - 1000 km away from the site of the first SARS infections. So there are missing pieces to the puzzle.
- What’s the explanation for the missing few percent in genomic identity?
- How did it get from Shitou Cave, Yunnan to Guangzhou province - without infecting anyone in Yunnan?
- Why was SARS the only lethal coronavirus up to that point in time?
Daszak/Shi/Wang would have ready-made answers - 1. natural evolution, 2. wet market trading, 3. increased co-mingling of humans and wildlife - but all this is dubious speculation - there’s no proof. Why is there no proof?
Yanzhong Huang, Seton Hall University (2004): According to the Implementing Regulations on the State Secrets Law regarding the handling of public health–related information, any occurrence of infectious diseases should be classified as a state secret before they are “announced by the Ministry of Health or organs authorized by the Ministry” .. (meaning) any physician or journalist who reported on the disease would risk being persecuted for leaking state secrets (Li et al., 1999). A virtual news blackout about SARS thus continued well into February.
As a result, according to a WHO/China CDC report:
(I)nformation on several earlier cases was incomplete or may be unreliable .. and some persons are no longer traceable.
When you enforce a cover-up as part of normal operating procedure, then don’t complain when people suspect something fishy is going on. If Daszak/Shi et al are allowed to speculate, then so can we. As did others at the time.