09 January 2021

The coronavirus "lab leak" hypothesis


You've heard the rumors, the chit-chat, the idle speculation - that the current coronavirus pandemic is the result of a "leak" of a wild virus from a research lab in Wuhan, that it is an intentional form of biological warfare, that the virus was synthesized to be used as a weapon...

By a wide margin the best reporting I have so far encountered on this subject is a longread (very long read) at New York Magazine.  I'll break from my usual practice of excerpting the best bits to embed here, because snippets may confer wrong information.  The article does not provide a definitive answer to the question, but there is a lot of relevant information.

Related:  Yesterday I listened to a very interesting podcast of This American Life.  "The Other Extinguishers" is a 21-minute segment interviewing scientists who developed a key element in the Moderna vaccine years before COVID-19 emerged.  They were inducing cells to produce the "spikes" of the SARS-2 virus as an immunizing agent.  It's worth a listen, if only to realize that without this fortuitous happenstance, it might have been years before an effective vaccine to COVID-19 could have been produced.

2 comments:

  1. I finally finished the very long read of the cited New York Magazine article. It would have been a Herculean effort on your part to have picked out excerpts from that article.
    I had to draw on my long ago college biology to comprehend some of that, though I will admit that parts of it went over my head. Some of my thoughts: The author does not give a definitive answer to lab v nature, but IMO he leans heavily on the lab side. Dismayed that there are labs that seem to create deadly viruses just to prove they "could" exist. The disease the workers at the mine contracted was apparently not contagious, so scientists had to make it so? The R-R-A-R amino acids mutated all at once when scientists say that would almost surely never happen in nature. Hard to fathom.

    This sums it up quite well: " This patchwork pathogen, which allegedly has evolved without human meddling, first came to notice in the only city in the world with a laboratory that was paid for years by the U.S. government to perform experiments on certain obscure and heretofore unpublicized strains of bat viruses — which bat viruses then turned out to be, out of all the organisms on the planet, the ones that are most closely related to the disease. What are the odds?"

    Interesting, too, that Dr. Fauci was involved in this, at least tangentially. That has never come up before.

    The podcast was interesting as well. The seemingly endless trial and error to get to the spikes they wanted is amazing. I am not sure I could stick with something that long. I am glad they did. The podcast stated that this discovery was used in at least 5 of the first vaccines for the virus. Imagine going through your day knowing that you quite literally helped to save the world.

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  2. "How China is controlling the COVID origins narrative — silencing critics and locking up dissenters"

    https://theconversation.com/how-china-is-controlling-the-covid-origins-narrative-silencing-critics-and-locking-up-dissenters-152751

    ReplyDelete

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