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Chinese Influence over Scientific Experts (General)

by dulan drift, Monday, May 18, 2020, 10:10 (17 days ago)

This was meant to be quick analysis of a paper published in Nature Medicine titled 'The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2' which argued: "Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct."

The paper instead expounds the Huanan Seafood Market/pangolin theory and purports to debunk 'conspiracy theories' related to the virus emanating from an Wuhan lab. The paper appears to have some major flaws which i wanted to explore as well as some possible reasons for it's publication.

However, preliminary research into the paper and who wrote it has taken me so far down the rabbit hole of the relationship between academic institutions and China that a new topic is needed.

The first thing to remember is that the people who wrote this paper are not some mug punters like us venting stuff on a forum - they’re paid professionals who’ve been given the prestigious platform of Nature Medicine to help the world understand the source of the virus. When people say ‘listen to the experts’ - they are the experts.

So let’s meet the experts who co-authored the above paper. There are five of them - all men - all big-hitters in the virology community.

Edward C. Holmes: University of Sydney

by dulan drift, Monday, May 18, 2020, 11:27 (17 days ago) @ dulan drift

Edward C. Holmes: Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, School of Life and Environmental Sciences and School of Medical Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

In the interests of full-disclosure it should be noted Sydney University gets an estimated $534.1 million a year from selling bogus degrees to Chinese students. That’s a billion every two years - which amounts to 23% of total university revenue. That figure still doesn't include grants from China for various think tanks or joint-projects. Whistle-blower, Professor Babones says:

"Some students don't read and write English well enough and don't understand what to do...we end up with Mandarin-speaking students in groups where no one is able to speak English. It's an unspoken but widely understood rule... that we are expected to help students pass. Or at least not expected to be failing them. People are getting degrees who probably shouldn't."

That is selling fake degrees for mega-bucks - it's corruption - plain and simple. However Michael Spence, University of Sydney vice-chancellor, categorized the debate around Chinese influence as just "anti-China hysteria".

Meanwhile, according to a Financial Times article, "University of Technology Sydney is involved in a A$10m research partnership with CETC, a Chinese state-owned military technology company that developed an app security forces use to trace and detain Muslims (Uighurs)."

Edward C. Holmes is also the Honorary Visiting Professor, Fudan University, Shanghai, China and Guest Professor, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China . These types of positions are known to be highly suss. Although the financial details of this gig are not made public, there have been several cases recently exposing such arrangements as nothing more than cash delivery devices from the CCP in return for information and publishing of papers favourable to the CCP.

For example:
"Charles Lieber, the chair of the department of chemistry and chemical biology (at Harvard), is accused of hiding his involvement in China’s Thousand Talents Plan....Prosecutors say, he was paid $50,000 (£38,000) a month by the Wuhan University of Technology in China and living expenses up to $158,000. He was also awarded more than $1.5m to establish a research lab at the Chinese university.

In exchange, prosecutors allege, Lieber agreed to publish articles, organise international conferences and apply for patents on behalf of the Chinese university, among other things."

From Financial Times article:

"Edward Holmes, an Australian virologist who helped map and share the genetic sequence of the virus, said there was “no evidence” that Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 in humans, originated in a Wuhan laboratory. He said the closest known relative of Sars-Cov-2 was a bat virus named RaTG13, which was indeed kept at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. But he added the bat virus, which was sampled in Yunnan province, had a level of genome sequence divergence from coronavirus equivalent to at least 20-50 years of evolutionary change. Thus, he does not believe it was responsible for Covid-19."

W. Ian Lipkin: Columbia University

by dulan drift, Monday, May 18, 2020, 12:38 (17 days ago) @ dulan drift

W. Ian Lipkin: Columbia University, New York.

No figures published that i could find for how much Columbia makes from Chinese students per year but it was a growth industry. 15 000 foreign students, one third are Chinese. A full cost year’s enrolment goes for $76 856 a pop so 5000 times that... equals 384 odd million. Not as good as the Aussies but it’s still a lazy 4 billion over a decade.

Then, on Nov 23, 2019 the staging of a panel at Columbia University discussing the topic: “Panopticism with Chinese Characteristics: Human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party and how they affect the world” was cancelled.
The University says it was due to scheduling procedural problems. Panellists, say pressure from the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) was the real reason. The panel was set to discuss China’s “extensive matrix of digital surveillance systems, optimised for maximum social control”.
The panel linked the decision to six “similar incidents of blatant vandalism, hate speech and physical assaults from pro-Beijing Chinese students” on other campuses.

W. Ian Lipkin actually visited China in January, 2019 where, by his own admission, he has special access, claiming, "I have a different reputation, and I can go pretty much anyplace I want." Whilst there, he collected a medal "issued from the Central Government, Central Military Commission, and the State Council". The medal was to show appreciation for "working closely with scientists and officials in China" over twenty years.

In 2016, he was "honored with the China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award, presented in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, presided by President Xi Jinping."

Of all of our co-authors, Lipkin is arguably the biggest in terms of profile. Known as the Virus-hunter, he's definitely number one in terms of China guan-xi.

"At the height of the SARS outbreak in 2003, Lipkin was invited by senior Chinese scientists and officials to assess the state of the epidemic, identify gaps in science, and develop a strategy for containing the virus and curtailing infections and deaths. Once the outbreak was contained, Lipkin helped develop the institutional infrastructure to ensure China would have the resources to detect and more rapidly respond to emerging infectious threats, in part through building the Institut Pasteur in Shanghai, new national Centers for Disease Control in Beijing, and the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health. Today, he continues to consult with the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Science, and the Ministry of Health. He has also served as a consultant for a climate change program at Beijing Normal and as a visiting professor at Beijing University. Last year, the Chinese Academy of Sciences awarded funding for a collaborative project between CII and Sun Yat-Sen University in zoonotic diseases."

That's a handy resume. How many foreigners get that far in Chinese society?

Interestingly, in Feb or March it appears he contracted the virus but is now back at work.

Andrew Rambaut: University of Edinburgh

by dulan drift, Monday, May 18, 2020, 13:57 (17 days ago) @ dulan drift

Andrew Rambaut: Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Guessing the income from Chinese students there is similar to the above so won't rake over that.

The interesting thing about Rambaut is that he is a staunch advocate of genomic surveillance, which is DNA profiling technology.

Apart from the virus originating at the seafood market through pangolins article, his most recent published paper in Nature Medicine is: Pandemics: spend on surveillance, not prediction. In this paper he praises another Nature article which states:

"Surveillance and discovery efforts are bearing fruit in chronic disorders and in studies of normal physiology... What is anticipated, although not yet achieved, is the development of systems that aggregate data about the use of medical services, data about prescription and over-the-counter drug purchases, and other chatter that could promote situational awareness."

However, other dissenting reports point out, "Across the world, DNA databases that could be used for state-level surveillance are steadily growing. The most striking case is in China. Here police are using a national DNA database along with other kinds of surveillance data, such as from video cameras and facial scanners, to monitor the minority Muslim Uyghur population in the western province of Xinjiang."

Now here's the thing. Guess who the co-authors on Rambaut's genomic surveillance paper are?

None other than Edwards C. Holmes and Kristian G. Andersen (who we'll get to next) - both co-authors of the article endorsing China's version of the conronavirus origin - both big-time recipients of Chinese money.

The three of them frequently collaborate. Their stuff seems to get automatically printed in Nature - the top Science rag in the world. In theory, that makes our guys the world's pre-eminent think-tank on genomic surveillance.

Kristian G. Andersen: Scripps

by dulan drift, Monday, May 18, 2020, 14:23 (17 days ago) @ dulan drift

Kristian G. Andersen
Department of Immunology and Microbiology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA, lead author of the Proximal Origin paper

Along with two of the above co-authors, Kristian G. Andersen is a genomic surveillance enthusiast. They write:

"We urge those working on infectious disease to focus funds and efforts on a much simpler and more cost-effective way to mitigate outbreaks — proactive, real-time surveillance of human populations."

Kristian G. Andersen hails from Scripps Research Insitute. Scripps was in serious financial trouble hemorrhaging 20 mil a year. But just when the first virus cases were emerging, they received great news. They issued a press release dated November 27, 2019:

“Scripps Research and Shenzhen Bay Laboratory (China) today announced a trans-Pacific chemical biology research collaboration that combines the expertise of both institutions.”

Presumably the financial expertise was more from the Chinese side of the equation. Shenzhen City Council and Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School are backing the venture.

"Several Scripps Research chemical biology faculty will establish joint laboratories at Shenzhen Bay Laboratory with research areas including synthetic chemistry, natural products, glycobiology, chemical genetics, proteomics and other critical areas of chemical biology.

"Shenzhen Bay Laboratory (SZBL) is a recently established Guangdong Provincial Laboratory located in the heart of China’s Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay area. SZBL strives to become a hub for world-class research at the forefront of health science and innovation, spurring novel solutions to the grand issues challenging mankind."

So to break that down: a new bio-tech lab set up in the Hong Kong vicinity with the Hong Kong protest in full swing - in partnership with a bankrupt firm whose head scientist is a cheer-leader for genomic surveillance - funded with money from the CCP - in late Nov 2019.

No - nothing fishy about that at all!

Scripps is a supporter of remdesivir which is interesting coz it was endorsed by WIV (Wuhan Institute of Virology) which According to article in Gulf News, Shi Zheng-li’s team “applied for a patent for the drug (remdesivir) in China on behalf of WIV.” (not sure how you patent a drug that's already owned by Gilead)

“It’s a very safe and effective drug,” said Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. “We now have a definite first efficacious drug for Covid-19, which is a major step forward and will be built upon with other drugs, [and drug] combinations.”

One thing for sure - whoever has got a piece of the remdesivir pie has just become mega-wealthy.

Another example of scientists disagreeing: Andersen, an advocate of genomic surveillance, believes the attempt to catalog bat viruses (championed by WIV and an American virologist called Peter Daszak) is a waste of time and money:

“I feel the claim they are making that you can prevent the next pandemic by doing this type of work is preposterous,” Andersen said. “If you could, given they worked in Wuhan for so long specifically, you would have thought they could have prevented the current pandemic, and they didn’t.”

Chinese Influence over Scientific Experts

by dan @, Monday, May 18, 2020, 18:51 (17 days ago) @ dulan drift

Jeez... I will reread all this tomorrow, and the referenced articles, but one thing that strikes me is that this is about much more than financial incentive. These western academics collaborating (or conspiring, but that's a dirty word) with the Chinese have their reputations at stake here, which, one could argue, is worth much more than a few million dollars. They're all in.

And yet we're told to 'trust the science'.

Kristian G. Andersen: Scripps-2

by dulan drift, Wednesday, June 03, 2020, 16:17 (1 day, 2 hours, 3 min. ago) @ dulan drift

Kristian G appears to be a twitter fanatic - hopefully i can mine some more interesting data there.

Twitter Jan 15https://twitter.com/K_G_Andersen/status/1217274675023056897
I honestly think China (and all people involved) deserves a *fuck ton* of credit. Responding, detecting, identifying, isolating, and sequencing a novel pathogen in 2 weeks = incredible!

Response to a mild criticism:
“Nice enough work - now, let me just congratulate you by slapping you in the face. Congrats.

“We have exactly zero data suggesting it came from the lab, only speculation, and a lot of data showing it came from nature,” says @K_G_Andersen about the coronavirus origin theory. “The discussion is basically over”
https://twitter.com/VanityFair/status/1258838826082078721

Kristian G. Andersen: Scripps-2

by dan @, Wednesday, June 03, 2020, 16:40 (1 day, 1 hours, 41 min. ago) @ dulan drift

I haven't been following this nearly to the degree you have, but, this is the first I've read that the Chinese admitted the virus did not come from the market:

https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200529/china-says-wuhan-market-not-origin-of-covid-19

"But Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, didn’t say where the virus, which has killed 350,000 people worldwide, came from originally.

He told the state-controlled Global Times this week that further research shows no connections between food sold in Wuhan’s market and the coronavirus."

Links in the article:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30183-5/fulltext

https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1189506.shtml

Could they be preparing us for something?

Kristian G. Andersen: Scripps-2

by dulan drift, Wednesday, June 03, 2020, 20:39 (21 hours, 42 minutes ago) @ dan

Could they be preparing us for something?

That's a bombshell! There goes the the market-pangolin theory.

“The novel coronavirus had existed long before" it was found at the market, he said.

He doesn't say much so what does 'existed long before' mean? The market was the main explanation for how a Yunan bat virus pops up in Wuhan 1200 miles away. Now what?

George Gao (Gao Fu) was one of the people Lipkin met in his four day trip to China (along with the Li Kechiang)

Lipkin does make this comment on an hour-long podcast interview when he was sick. (If you listen to podcasts while your exercising or something, then it's got some crazy self-incriminating things in it.)

‘There’s going to be some stuff that’s going to come out that’s going to show more insight into the origins of the outbreak. Some people are going to say this is evidence that they (CCP) withheld information - I’m gonna push back and say ‘No, that’s not the case.’

Chinese Influence over Scientific Experts

by dan @, Monday, May 18, 2020, 18:46 (17 days ago) @ dulan drift

Given the last main paragraph, that's enough of a reason, regardless of financial gain, to defend China's effectiveness in controlling the virus, considering that he had a major role in building their infrastructure.

EDIT: In other words, if it's shown that China's infrastructure failed miserably, that will reflect directly on him.

Chinese Influence over Scientific Experts

by dulan drift, Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 07:36 (16 days ago) @ dan

Given the last main paragraph, that's enough of a reason, regardless of financial gain, to defend China's effectiveness in controlling the virus, considering that he had a major role in building their infrastructure.

EDIT: In other words, if it's shown that China's infrastructure failed miserably, that will reflect directly on him.

I'm starting to wonder if this is more about genomic surveillance than it is medicine.

Here we have the world's three leading experts on genomic surveillance working with China - who loves that stuff. Whereas in the US they are going to at least meet some headwinds from civil liberties advocates, it's the opposite with the CCP.

The plot thickens...

W. Ian Lipkin: Columbia University - 2

by dulan drift, Saturday, May 30, 2020, 13:18 (5 days ago) @ dulan drift

There's an interesting interview with Lipkin on This Week in Virology where he admits to some classic 'for your own good lying' regarding the effectiveness of masks. Referring to an old SARS study he says:

(P)eople who use facemasks in a consistent way have a 70% reduction in community transmission and if they use them intermittently it was 60%. That was - you know i found that impressive and we talked about it but there was no access to facemasks and so i was.. i thought a long time about trying to publish this coz if i did that - if we did that - it would have deprived - you know - people on the frontlines because there weren’t sufficient facemasks - for getting access to those - and it would have made things worse - so i didn’t proceed with that - so that’s something that unfortunately is going to go in the memoirs rather than the written record.

After asking two modelers to model likely infections in New York around the end of Feb - two weeks before the virus exploded in mid-March, he says:

"There was a big spike as you might anticipate a couple of four weeks later and i anticipate that we’ll see the same thing nationally but then one of these people doing the modelling said, ‘But you know all we need to do is put people into facemasks and everybody can go back to work tomorrow.' I said ‘Absolutely not! That’s crazy!' First of all most people don’t know how to use facemasks, right, so you know they fiddle with, you know, so they really sort of obviate the whole purpose - and secondly - uhm - you know - we don’t really have any data to support that - all we know is that in conjunction they’re important."

This is the kind of thing we've seen too much of. Haughty experts appointing themselves as gatekeepers of the truth - which invariably involves covering up the truth or outright lying for 'our own good'. Problem is, as we saw with the WHO's lies, it wasn't for our own good at all - it directly ushered in an unmitigated disaster.

Chinese Influence over Scientific Experts

by dan @, Monday, May 18, 2020, 18:58 (17 days ago) @ dulan drift

"Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct."

But that's not the point! This is a straw man argument. The main concern and possibility is not that this virus was constructed in a lab, it's that it was released from a lab.

None of these headlines denying Chinese lab responsibility unequivocally state that the virus did not escape from the lab in it's natural, unadulterated state; nor do they state with absolute assurance that an adapted virus didn't escape. All they say is this -- that the virus was not contructed in a lab, meaning, in it's purest form, that the DNA was not constructed form scratch in a lab.

It's faulty logic. It's an old political trick. It's like Bill Clinton saying, "I did not have sex with that woman." No, he didn't have intercourse. He just got a blowjob. And unfortunately for him, she didn't swallow. These scientists are making sure they swallow.

EDIT: If you're unfamiliar with the Clinton case, he was busted because his semen was found on Lewinsky's dress.

Chinese Influence over Scientific Experts

by dulan drift, Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 07:08 (16 days ago) @ dan

Yes it's straw-man 101.

Posit a radical view that no one is actually saying: It was engineered in a lab then deliberately released to infect the world.

Then structure your argument to counter this.

That's why i'm curious to look into it.

To say 'Let's take a look at the possibility it may have accidentally escaped from a lab in Wuhan that was working on coronaviruses' - that's not some wild conspiracy theory - it's a reasonable line of enquiry - so what's motivating the over-the-top reaction against it?

Robert F. Garry: Zalgen

by dulan drift, Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 07:26 (16 days ago) @ dulan drift

Robert F. Garry:
Tulane University, School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, New Orleans, LA, USA
Zalgen Labs, Germantown, MD, USA

Robert F. Garry teaches at Tulane, which, in turn, was involved in the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium (VHFC) consortium with Scripps (Kristian G. Andersen) and Harvard among others for work in Africa related to Lassa fever, which is supposedly classified as "a potential bio-terrorism threat."

Our man Robert F. Garry is listed as the the founding director of VHFC and the current President. I wonder if that influenced the decision to appoint Zalgen Labs, Garry’s spin-off company, as the industry partner?

So what is Zalgen labs. There’s a listing on Bloomberg but no profile info. A site called Zoomdata has a profile but i don’t know how accurate it is.
According to that site Zalgen Labs has 10 employees. It’s revenue is reported to be $2 million, which doesn’t sound like much, but just before the virus outbreak it was $204 000.

In the few months after the outbreak it’s income has increased 10-fold.

The following was listed in a section at the bottom of the Proximal Origins paper.

Ethics declarations
Competing interests
R.F.G. is co-founder of Zalgen Labs, a biotechnology company that develops countermeasures to emerging viruses.

Some links Dan sourced in relation to Zalgen:

https://www.zalgen.com/press-releases

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160822005090/en/Zalgen-Labs-Introduces-Viral-D...

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/08/02/2018-16537/revocation-of-authoriza...

https://gumshoenews.com/2020/04/26/the-man-made-laboratory-origin-of-covid-19/

https://medicalveritas.org/the-covid-19-lab-origin/

https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-legal-regulatory-and-policy...

https://vhfc.org/zalgen-labs-awarded-nih-grant-to-advance-diagnostic-products-for-asses...

Chinese Influence over Scientific Experts

by dan @, Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 16:23 (16 days ago) @ dulan drift

I'm going to have to take a look down this rabbit hole...

Chinese Influence over Scientific Experts

by dan @, Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 16:09 (16 days ago) @ dulan drift

"...so what's motivating the over-the-top reaction against it?"

The most logical and intuitive answer would be that they know or strongly suspect that it did escape from their lab, or at the very least that they can't prove that it didn't.

Chinese Influence over Scientific Experts

by dulan drift, Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 17:53 (16 days ago) @ dan

"...so what's motivating the over-the-top reaction against it?"

The most logical and intuitive answer would be that they know or strongly suspect that it did escape from their lab, or at the very least that they can't prove that it didn't.

Exactly - it's the over-the-top reaction that makes me curious.

Looking at the paper now - you could back a mack truck through some of the holes in their arguments.

Came across this article - haven't delved into it yet but it raises some questions about the honesty of the authors.

https://www.spectator.com.au/2020/04/who-dunnit-who-knows/


Africa could be part of the picture as well. Lot of viruses - lot of Chinese influence - good playground for genomic surveillance.

Btw Dan several links are to the same source - if it's a quote i linked it even if i'd already done it for previous info from that source - so sorry if you wind up reloading the same article

Chinese Influence over Scientific Experts

by dan @, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 15:36 (15 days ago) @ dulan drift

That article indeed led me down the rabbit hole.

While there, I saw a reference to Event 201, which I'd seen headlines about previously but never really looked at. Having taken a closer look now, it really is amazing that this simulation took place a mere six weeks before the outbreak:

https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201/

EDIT: Replacing the YouTube version of their highlights video with the main video page which includes all videos: https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201/videos.html

Again, this is all six weeks before the outbreak. Of course, that doesn't mean anything in itself, but if you watch the video, the parallels are stark.

------

A few links unrelated to Event 201 I have collected:

https://www.zalgen.com/press-releases

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160822005090/en/Zalgen-Labs-Introduces-Viral-D...

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/08/02/2018-16537/revocation-of-authoriza...

https://gumshoenews.com/2020/04/26/the-man-made-laboratory-origin-of-covid-19/

https://medicalveritas.org/the-covid-19-lab-origin/

https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-legal-regulatory-and-policy...

https://vhfc.org/zalgen-labs-awarded-nih-grant-to-advance-diagnostic-products-for-asses...

The Theories

by dulan drift, Thursday, May 21, 2020, 09:20 (14 days ago) @ dan

The Theories

Originally the line was that a new corona virus had sprung up from the NanHua Seafood market where wild animals were being slaughtered. Sounded plausible.

In Feburary 2020, Chinese scientists Botao Xiao, and Lei Xiao from the South China University of Technology “proposed the coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory.”

On Feb 22 at an NTU seminar held by the Taiwan Public Health Association Fang Chi-tai (方啟泰) explored the possibility that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

According to a report in the Taipei Times:

"A French research team that examined the gene sequence of COVID-19 has discovered that it has four more amino acids than other coronaviruses (which) makes its transmission easier.

Mutations of viruses that occur naturally only result in small, singular changes; one would not normally see a naturally mutated virus suddenly take on four amino acids. While such a large mutation is not impossible, it is highly unlikely, he said.

Only an internal administrative review at the institute could rule out whether the virus was manufactured there. Such an investigation would require access to lab records, which is unlikely to happen in the short term, he added.”

Fang Chi-tai's presentation directly challenged the China/WHO message management. It provoked some heavy-hitting attention. Scientists and media outlets lined up to ridicule Fang Chi-tai as a 'conspiracy theorist'.

Then on Mar 17 The Proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 co-authored by 5 eminent professors was published in Nature Medicine.

It claimed “strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is not the product of purposeful manipulation”. Instead it argues that “...pangolins with nearly identical RBDs provide a much stronger and more parsimonious explanation” of how the virus originated.

This paper generated world news at a time when people were looking for answers. The Guardian wrote:

“A study of its genetic sequence, conducted by infectious disease expert Kristian G Andersen of the Scripps Research Institute...and colleagues, rules out the possibility that it could have been manufactured in a lab or otherwise engineered. Puff go the conspiracy theories.”

The Brisbane Times headline: Scientists dispel theory COVID-19 escaped from lab

However, questions persisted. When you have an earth shattering event that alters the course of history, it’s normal some people will ask ‘What happened there?’

The answers to these origin questions are quite knowable - it’s not theoretical astro-physics - a thorough investigation will uncover it. No doubt the CCP already knows. But not telling.

That increases speculation. Which is also quite normal. From that, we are left with two main theories:

1. It originated from bats which passed it to pangolin which passed it to humans at the Huanan Seafood market where live bats and pangolin were being slaughtered for sale.

2. It accidentally escaped from one of two labs in Wuhan that were studying bat corona viruses.

The bottom line with these theories - and every other theory, is - we don’t know. We don’t know coz China’s not telling. Therefore everything is conjecture.

So that begs the question as to why five leading experts went to so much trouble to combat theory 2 by endorsing theory 1 which also happens to be the CCP's official explanation?

The Strawman

by dulan drift, Thursday, May 21, 2020, 09:24 (14 days ago) @ dulan drift

The Strawman

The oldest trick in the book - involves projecting a radicalised voice onto your adversary - then using that to underpin your own arguments.
In this case five professors distorted the “escaped accidentally from an Wuhan lab” to “purposefully manipulated virus” let loose. As W. Ian Lipkin, one of the authors, puts it in an interview with This Week in Virology:

"And then you had all these conspiracy theories that didn’t help either - the notion somehow that it was a deliberately manufactured biological weapon that was created at Wuhan Institute of Virology - this sort of foolishness slowed us down and prevented what could have been more productive interactions. The rumours they have their own life - i don’t know how they’re sustained but they seem to be sustained - there doesn’t seem to be any good way to choke them."

Meanwhile, another group of scientists initiated a petition declaring:

“The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data (by China) on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins. We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.
We support the call from the Director-General of WHO to promote scientific evidence and unity over misinformation and conjecture.”


That's just stupid coz at this stage everything is conjecture, but in essence, the strawman is just bait - get someone to take it - then you’ve got them defending the extreme level trope that you’ve introduced. Politicians do it all the time. Now our leading scientists are in on the act.

Normally you should avoid such arguments like the plague, but seeing how the plague has dominated our input, i’m gonna take the bait, just for the fun of it.

The Crux of the Paper

by dulan drift, Thursday, May 21, 2020, 09:53 (14 days ago) @ dulan drift

Here’s the central tenant of the paper:

"Theories of SARS-CoV-2 origins

"It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus. As noted above, the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 is optimized for binding to human ACE2 with an efficient solution different from those previously predicted.

Furthermore, if genetic manipulation had been performed, one of the several reverse-genetic systems available for betacoronaviruses would probably have been used. However, the genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone."


The conclusion:

"Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus."

However, a paper published in Journal of Virology, does detail a purposeful manipulation of a newly discovered bat virus (SL-CoV S) backbone involving the insertion of SARS virus sequences - to see if they could make the bat virus infectious to humans. At that stage the SL-CoV S was not infectious.

"A series of S chimeras was constructed by inserting different sequences of the SARS-CoV S into the SL-CoV S backbone."

In terms of Ace2-binding, the experiment was successful.

“ACE2-binding activity of SL-CoVs was easily acquired by the replacement of a relatively small sequence segment of the S protein from the SARS-CoV S sequence”

Far from being ‘unpredicted’, and not the way you’d go about it if you did want to enhance ACE-2 binding activity - it has been done - and - it was 'easy'.

Knowing the capability of different CoVs to recombine both in the laboratory and in nature, the possibility that SL-CoVs may gain the ability to infect human cells by acquiring S sequences competent for binding to ACE2 or other surface proteins of human cells can be readily envisaged.

The good news is that this engineering of contagious deadly diseases is all for our own good.

“The outcome of such research will also be invaluable in formulating control strategies for potential future outbreaks caused by viruses that are similar to, but different from, the SARS-CoVs responsible for the 2002-2003 outbreaks.”

How did that strategy work out btw?

They conclude:

The findings presented in this study serve as the first example of host switching achievable for G2b CoVs under laboratory conditions by the exchange of a relatively small sequence segment among these previously unknown CoVs.

So that paper directly refutes the Proximal Origin one which claimed to “irrefutably show” that the virus couldn’t have been engineered.

Later i checked the authors of this alternative paper - maybe they were hacks who lack credibility. Turns out there are 10 of them - guess where they come from?

Five are from Wuhan Institute of Virology, including Bat Woman, Shi Zheng-li.

Imagine that! Having your argument debunked by the very institute you’re trying to protect!

Two others involved in the SARS-like construction experiment are Aussies from the CSRIO - how they are mixed up in this i don’t know - the other three are from China. The funding of course is from the CCP.

Now at least we know a couple of things for sure:

1. Corona viruses were being 'purposely manipulated' in the Wuhan lab. They wrote a paper about it.
2. It is relatively easy to manipulate a corona virus to make it more infectious to humans by enhancing the ACE-2 binding activity in a lab.

Pangolin

by dulan drift, Thursday, May 21, 2020, 15:08 (14 days ago) @ dulan drift

Pangolin

In line with the paper’s assertion that the virus wasn’t a laboratory construction, the authors propose their pangolin theory which they trace to the “Huanan Market” (conveniently leaving the Seafood part out of the title). Let’s just ignore for a moment the fact that of the first known cases "13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace" including the very first ones, thereby wrecking the whole market-pangolin case, and take a look at it anyway:

“Malayan pangolins illegally imported into Guangdong (over 1000 km away) contain coronaviruses similar to SARS-CoV-2. Although the RaTG13 bat virus remains the closest to SARS-CoV-2 across the genome, some pangolin coronaviruses exhibit strong similarity to SARS-CoV-2. This clearly shows that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein optimized for binding to human-like ACE2 is the result of natural selection.” (my brackets)

How does that clearly show anything? They’re similar - not the same. A virus detected in a Malayan pangolin by researchers in Guangdong (interestingly in October 2019 - just before the outbreak) indicated that “Pangolin-CoV is 91.02% and 90.55% identical to SARS-CoV-2 and BatCoV RaTG13, respectively, at the whole-genome level” That’s still short of the 96% match for the bat virus being studied at WIV.

Incidentally, were they also playing around with pangolin virus at WIV? Maybe seeing what happens if you combine the two? We don't know - probably never will.

If a virus is manipulated in a lab it’s not constructed from the ground up. As we saw in the WIV (Wuhan Institute of Virology) experiment, small elements of the original SARS virus were inserted into the backbone of an existing bat virus. That produces a new virus that is similar to the one that received the insertions.

The Proximal Origins paper also asserts:

“For a precursor virus to acquire both the polybasic cleavage site and mutations in the spike protein suitable for binding to human ACE2, an animal host would probably have to have a high population density (to allow natural selection to proceed efficiently).”

That means, in order to account for the many mutations to get from the 92% pangolin match to 100% for nCoV-2, you'd need a lot of animals together over a long period of time. However, according to wikipedia:

“Pangolins are solitary and meet only to mate.”

Regardless, the above is scientific conjecture based on the assumption that the first cases came from the Huanan Seafood Market. If that's wrong, which it is, then everything after that is wrong.

That means the "high density population" of pangolins being slaughtered at the Huanan Seafood Market is a moot point - but let's check it out anyway.

Have seen a lot of stuff related to the virus - it's hard to see anything else - but still haven’t seen any evidence that live pangolins were sold at the market. Surely that’s something that can be definitively ascertained. Lots of people live in Wuhan - many of them went to that market - wouldn’t there be verifiable reports? So how is it so hard to find evidence of “high density population” of pangolins being slaughtered there?

Interestingly, one person who has spent a lot of time in China, including Wuhan, and would have a pretty good idea about whether pangolin are widespread at markets there, is one of the paper’s authors, W. Ian Lipkin. In January he went to China to receive his medal from the CCP. When he returned he gave an interview. When asked about the consumption of pangolin, he said: “I don’t think there’s a whole lot of pangolin eating (in China).” https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/epidemiologist-veteran-of-sars-and-mers-shar...

That sounds like one of the authors debunking the theory he's put his name to.

The question then, is, ‘Why are they doing that?’

CCP money is a factor as we discovered by looking at the authors' income streams. The other thing in common as Kristian G. Andersen put it: proactive, real-time surveillance of human populations."

Maybe the last sentence of the paper is the most truthful one in it:

"Irrespective of the exact mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 originated via natural selection, the ongoing surveillance of pneumonia in humans and other animals is clearly of utmost importance."

Chinese Influence over Scientific Experts

by dulan drift, Thursday, May 21, 2020, 21:38 (14 days ago) @ dan

Interesting references Dan. I forgot about the French guy - Nobel prize winner no less.

Other refs show how bio-tech companies profit from viruses - even when their vaccines are rubbish. They do have a vested interest. Taiwan seems to have proven that all you need is a cheap mask - not billions of dollars thrown at drug companies to find a technical solution that never seems to actually work.

As you pointed out before, the heavyweight attacks on anyone going off script is the thing that gets your attention.

Batwoman

by dulan drift, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 15:05 (9 days ago) @ dulan drift

Batwoman

The first ever Wuhan lab conspiracy theorist was Shi Zheng-li, aka Batwoman, a senior scientist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. According to an interview published in Scientific American, when she first got the call from WIV, she was at a seminar in Shanghai. It was the Director of the lab: “Drop whatever you are doing and deal with this now.”

Shi Zheng-li caught the first train back to Wuhan. On the journey her mind was churning:

“I wondered if [the municipal health authority] got it wrong. I had never expected this kind of thing to happen in Wuhan, in central China.”

To the world’s leading expert in SARS-like bat viruses (she discovered the bat virus believed to be the source of SARS), it just didn’t add up. If there was going to be a new SARS-like outbreak, she’d pegged Guangdong or Yunan in the south of China as the most likely places given that’s where the major populations of coronavirus-carrying bats lived - not 1000km away in Wuhan city. Her first thoughts were:

“Could they have come from our lab?

Which begs the question as to why scientists get so worked up by anyone speculating that the Wuhan labs might have been the source? Even Batwoman - who actually worked there - instinctively thought it was the most likely explanation.

Back at the lab they went to work on identifying the virus’s genome sequence. They extracted samples from 7 patients - 5 were identified as coronavirus - then sent them to another facility to determine the cells' exact RNA (aka DNA).

“Meanwhile she frantically went through her own lab’s records from the past few years to check for any mishandling of experimental materials, especially during disposal.”

The article doesn’t detail the results of this audit but 3 days later the results from the genome sequencing were in. On Feb 3, Shi Zheng-li’s WIV team published a paper to announce their findings:

“2019-nCoV was highly similar throughout the genome to RaTG13, with an overall genome sequence identity of 96.2%. (F)or all sequences—RaTG13 is the closest relative of 2019-nCoV and they form a distinct lineage from other SARSr-CoVs.”

RaTG13 is a horseshoe (rhinolophus) bat virus that was collected from a cave in Yunan by an intrepid team of researchers from WIV, including Shi Zheng-li.

In addition they reported that the virus had jumped directly from bats to humans, with no intermediate host, which directly conflicts with the pangolin theory (espoused by Andersen et al). Finally they “confirmed”:

“2019-nCoV uses the same cell entry receptor—angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2)—as SARS-CoV.”

That’s interesting - coz in 2008 WIV conducted an experiment that inserted a SARS S sequence into a bat virus to enable ACE-2 binding. According to that paper:

“ACE2-binding activity of SL-CoVs was easily acquired by the replacement of a relatively small sequence segment of the S protein from the SARS-CoV S sequence.”

That was 2008. From what i can ascertain, that experiment to insert a SARS sequence into SL-Covs was not conducted on the RaT13 strain. But Professor Edward Holmes - co-author of the Proximal Origin paper confirmed that RaT13 was later kept at WIV.

In a curious interview with the Financial Times, he says in one breath that there was “no evidence” that Sars-Cov-2 … originated in a Wuhan laboratory, but in the next he says “the closest known relative of Sars-Cov-2 was a bat virus named RaTG13, which was indeed kept at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

According to Professor Holmes, RaTG13, despite being 96.2% identical, “had a level of genome sequence divergence from coronavirus equivalent to at least 20-50 years of evolutionary change (through natural mutations). Thus, he does not believe it was responsible for Covid-19.”

This is interesting on two levels. Firstly, when Shi Zheng-li discovered a bat virus in Yunan “with a genomic sequence nearly 97 percent identical to the one found in civets in Guangdong, the finding concluded a decade-long search for the natural reservoir of the SARS coronavirus.”

So “nearly 97%” is conclusive but 96.2% is “no evidence”? Holmes then co-authors Proximal Origins claiming pangolins were the likely source of Covid-19 on the grounds of a 91% match. (cont. next post)

Batwoman 2

by dulan drift, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 15:19 (9 days ago) @ dulan drift

(cont. from prev post)

Secondly, what if, instead of the 20-50 years of evolutionary change required to bridge the 3.8% gap between RaTG13 and Covid-19, the process had a helping hand in a lab?

As it turns out, that’s exactly the sort of experiments that were being conducted at WIV. Apart from genetically modifying viruses, as we saw in the 2008 experiment, WIV scientists were also forcing viruses to mutate through artificial means. In an article published June 24, 2016 in Journal of Virology, a team of WIV scientists, including Shi Zheng-li, detail how they succeeded in getting a bat virus sample (named WIV1) to mutate. In a section titled ‘Construction of WIV1 mutants’ they write:

“RT-PCR was used to generate five amplicons containing the five mutations designed in the strategy.”

The paper states that stocks of these viruses were cultivated and stored at the lab “for future use”.

In the same paper, under the heading, 'Strategy for construction of an infectious WIV1 BAC' the WIV scientists report that: “we have developed a fast and cost-effective method for reverse genetics of coronaviruses.”

Again the point of the exercise was to see if they could make the virus more infectious to humans … “to develop therapeutics for future control of emerging SARS-like infections.”

So, according to their own published papers, WIV scientists, including Shi, were actively devising strategies to both genetically modify existing bat viruses as well as forcing them to mutate.

But were they performing such techniques on RatG13, the closest known match to SARS-CoV-2?
The very last line in the 2016 paper suggests they were - at the very least it says they wanted to:

“The development of different cell lines from the Rhinolophus bat, which is the reservoir host of SL-CoV, will facilitate this research in the future.”

RatG13 is a virus collected from Rhinolophus bats in Yunan. It was held at WIV.

Finally, in an article published on Feb 2, 2020 in Cell Research, Shi Zheng-li and other authors declare:

(R)emdesivir and chloroquine are highly effective in the control of 2019-nCoV infection in vitro... (W)e suggest that they should be assessed in human patients suffering from the novel coronavirus disease.”

According to a comprehensive article in Gulf News, Shi Zheng-li’s team “applied for a patent for the drug (remdesivir) in China on behalf of the WIV.”

So what have we learned?

1. Shi Zheng-li originally thought WIV was the source of Covid-19.
2. RatG13 is the closest known match to Covid-19 at 96.2%
3. RatG13 was stored at WIV.
4. WIV was conducting experiments that involved inserting SARS sequences into new bat viruses (to enhance ACE-2 binding) in order to make them more infectious to humans.
5. WIV was forcing viruses to mutate - to see what happens.
6. Shi Zheng-li doesn’t support the pangolin theory.
7. Shi- Zheng-li is an advocate for remdesivir as a cure and applied for a patent on behalf of WIV.
8. She hasn’t been heard from since the CCP clamped down on domestic scientists making public comment in early April.

Batwoman 3

by dulan drift, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 15:51 (9 days ago) @ dulan drift

(cont. from prev post)

None of the above is conclusive proof that Covid-19 escaped from an Wuhan lab - it’s circumstantial evidence. But it’s enough to propose an independent investigation of what the hell was/is going on at a lab that was deliberately engineering viruses to make them more deadly to humans. Not just that one - but all such facilities worldwide that are engineering deadly pathogens.

Add to the mix the Washington Post report stating: “U.S. Embassy officials sent two official warnings back to Washington about inadequate safety at the lab, which was conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats.”

Regardless of where the virus came from, there are societal ethics questions involved in such research.

Claims from scientists that these risky experiments are all for our own good - then get angry if they're questioned about it - that doesn’t cut it. These experiments have been going on since at least 2008 - what we do know is that none of that knowledge gleaned was helpful in terms of preventing the current outbreak. Advocates will cry 'Yes - that's why we need even more virus engineering!'

Some people, inside and outside the scientific community, are now saying, ‘Thanks - but no thanks.’

As for Batwoman, despite the backlash against her (which originated from social media within China), the impression you get from reading about her - it’s not the ‘evil scientist’ archetype at all. She seems like an Indiana Jones style virus hunter who genuinely believes her research might be helpful. She strongly denies that the virus originated from WIV.

“The novel 2019 coronavirus is nature punishing the human race for keeping uncivilised living habits. I swear on my life that it has nothing to do with our laboratory.”

Although she has become the face of WIV, it’s important to remember that she's not the boss there and she did not work alone. All of the papers involving the manipulation of bat viruses are collaborative efforts - including with scientists from around the world. How do all these scientists hold up when they’re put under the microscope? Is there a clique within this group that exercises control or is running an agenda? I don’t know. But despite what you read about scientists pledging "solidarity with all scientists in China", there is dissent within the scientific community.

One example is Prof Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. In 2014 he warned against so-called ‘gain-of-function’ virus manipulation calling it "misleading" and "irrational."

“There is nothing good to be gained … The consequence of any accident would be anywhere from a handful of infections to a catastrophic pandemic.”

Batwoman 3

by dan @, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 16:03 (8 days ago) @ dulan drift

This is a fascinating series of posts, one that will take some time to digest and follow up on.

In the meantime, I watched a 'conspiracy theory' documentary, Plandemic, that I had discounted mainly due to all the negative press it received. But, partly because of all the negative press, and because it was pulled from every media outlet possible, I decided to watch it. I'll post my initial reactions under a new sub-thread, but it does mention the Wuhan lab.

In short, it wasn't nearly as tin foil hat as I'd expected. It's sloppy in a few places, but I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. It's tame.

Batwoman 3

by dan @, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 19:12 (8 days ago) @ dulan drift

With regards to:

“The novel 2019 coronavirus is nature punishing the human race for keeping uncivilised living habits. I swear on my life that it has nothing to do with our laboratory.”

Not surprising. Either that, or you and your family disappear.

Event 201

by dulan drift, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 18:04 (9 days ago) @ dan

Just got around to watching Event 201 all the way through. That's freaky!

Uncannily accurate on how it was going to pan out - not much detail on how to prevent it - which i assume was meant to be the point of the conference.

Remdesivir

by dulan drift, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 11:20 (8 days ago) @ dulan drift

Remdesivir keeps cropping up in the research into the authors of Proximal Origin (especially Scripps) as well as WIV (who have applied to patent it for use in China). Nothing necessarily suss about that but it's worth bearing in mind that Covid-19 will make some people in the drug business supremely wealthy. If you can get your drug up as a possible cure then you've instantly hit the jackpot, regardless of whether your drug actually works in the long run.

In some ways Remdesivir is the gift that keeps on giving. According to wiki:

"Remdesivir was originally developed to treat hepatitis C and was then tested against Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus disease, but was ineffective for all of these viral infections."

On each occasion it would have received funding at the very least.

Now it's being taken for a spin around the block once more with Covid-19, involving massive world-wide sales.

Remdesivir

by dan @, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 20:05 (8 days ago) @ dulan drift

It's only those remedies that can be patented that will be investigated. For all we know. slug slime might be the magic cure, but it can't be patented so it won't be tested. They only test those formulas that don't appear in nature. If they appear in nature, they can't be patented. So they have to alter anything in order to make money off of it.

Plandemic

by dan @, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 16:15 (8 days ago) @ dulan drift

I chose not to watch Plandemic initially mainly because I'd read so many negative stories about it, and because I'm just too damn busy. But lately, with all the weirdness going on in the media, I decided to watch it because it received so much bad press.

This post is not about the overall validity of the video. I have not had time to fully research everything, and I probably won't any time soon. I'm more interested in the media response. This video, which is quite tame by conspiracy theory standards, very tame in fact, downright boring even, has been scrubbed from every major platform. Why?

Even it's Wikipedia page doesn't have a link to the main site for the video! How can an encyclopedia, which, I would think, supports objectivity and critical thinking, not include a link to the video on which the encyclopedia page is about? I may have missed it. Check for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plandemic . BTW, here's a site hosting the video. It doesn't appear to be run by the producers: https://plandemicvideo.com/.

I've looked into two claims from the video so far. The first is the Bayh-Dole Act, which allows private interests doing research for the US government to acquire patents on inventions they made while under contract with the government. So, with taxpayer money, they invent something, then make billions off the patent while charging those taxpayers a premium. This is all true: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayh%E2%80%93Dole_Act.

The other thing I looked into was a claim in the video that flu vaccine increases the risk of coronvirus by 36%, or something to that effect, and they splash an image of the study briefly. I found the study, and indeed it appears that flu vaccine does make one more vulnerable to coronavirus, if I'm reading things correctly. A quote:

" Vaccine derived virus interference was significantly associated with coronavirus and human metapneumovirus..."

"Examining non-influenza viruses specifically, the odds of both coronavirus and human metapneumovirus in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher when compared to unvaccinated individuals ..."

See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7126676/.

This is interesting given the recent headlines regarding a push to increase flu vaccine and availability in the coming months: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-flu/fears-of-coronavirus-second-w...


I'm just beginning to look at this. There are holes in the video, but the overwhelming negativity with which the media has treated it seems odd.

Plandemic

by dan @, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 18:39 (8 days ago) @ dan

Heading down that rabbit hole here.

Fears of coronavirus second wave prompt flu push at U.S. pharmacies, drugmakers

From: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-flu-focus/fears-of-coronavirus-se...

Some U.S. doctors are also considering clinics in parks and community centers and even home visits for vulnerable patients, said David Ross, vice president of commercial operations for North America at Seqirus.

“As we look at immunization this coming fall, it will play an enormous role in this battle against COVID-19,” Ross said.

So let's look at Sequirus:

https://flu.seqirus.com/

"Seqirus offers one of the most comprehensive portfolios of influenza products all year round."

So COVID will help push increased use of the flu vaccine. I got the flu vaccine last year for the first time on a whim, and had a nasty reaction in the form of severe conjunctivitis. I was in for something else, and the nurse said, hey, we just got the new flu vaccine in. Want one? So I took him up on it.

With regards to the study at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7126676/, I don't think I'll be getting it this year. I'm very pro vaccine. I think it's great stuff, when you're talking about a pathogen that has a 20%+ fatality rate or one, like polio, that disables millions. But for the common flu? Sorry.

Plandemic

by dulan drift, Thursday, May 28, 2020, 05:01 (8 days ago) @ dan

Yes - one thing all this rabbit-holing has done is to make me skeptical of swallowing whatever the experts want to shove done my throat - especially medicines.

Like you, i've never been an anti-vaxxer - but would i be willing to take an experimental vaccine rushed onto the market by some big-pharma company who stands to make a killing out of getting everyone to accept their narrative? Nup.

Just read a Washington Post article where the experts are now saying to get ready for the virus to go on for many years and detailing all the state impositions we need to get used to 'going forward'. It's like they've landed in this position of prominence and now they're never gonna let go. The scary thing is that many politicians have got a popularity bump out of this so that encourages them even more.

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